Name of Committee: Management of Reference
Name of Section: Reference Services Section
Chairperson: Larayne Dallas
Dates of Meetings: June 23 and 24, 2007
Members present: John Stratton, Christine Stempinski, Elizabeth (Betsy) Park, Pamela Morgan (on Saturday at another RSS meeting), Jane Kessler, Elizabeth Doolittle, Wendy Diamond, Larayne Dallas, Nancy Cunningham (at a conflicting session on Saturday).
Members absent: Christine Menard and Kim Leaming
Visitors: In-coming members: William Weare and Emilie Smart at both meetings and Gail Egbers on Saturday. Danielle Theiss-White on Saturday. Susan Neuman on Sunday. The names of at least one other Sunday visitor was lost in a hotel snafu involving the attendance sheet and other notes.
Objectives of committee for this conference year:
Evaluate current committee projects for value to the profession and for being a good match with volunteer workers. Identify and evaluate new project ideas. Decide which projects to pursue, set a work plan, and continue/begin work. Also, work with the Library Administration and Management Association (LAMA) Buildings and Equipment Section’s (BES) Library Interiors, Furnishing and Equipment (LIFE) Committee in support of a program at the Annual Conference 2007 on the topic of the learning commons.
Summary of Meeting (summarize discussions, decision reached, follow-up action decided):
A topic of great interest was the challenge of maintaining high quality reference service while dealing with many forces seeming to attack our efforts. Ideas for providing support to colleagues facing the same concerns included sponsoring a conference program and using that effort as a central focus for various other components. We thought that our reading list for reference managers (underway) might tie in; as might publicity for the committee-revised “Guidelines for Behavioral Performance of Reference and Information Service Providers; and that speaker comments might be “published” in one form or another. We also discussed the possibility of having a less formal conference session aimed at allowing group discussion. The discussion session might stand on its own or be used as an aid in planning a conference program. We knew that a program could not be scheduled before Annual 2009 but that a discussion could be held as soon as Midwinter 2008. No firm decision was reached on the best course, but William Weare (coordinator), Emilie Smart, Chris Stempinski, and John Stratton agreed to form an exploratory group.
A second major topic for discussion started with Pam Morgan’s observation of a gap in the literature and suggestion of a role for the committee. Members decided to begin on a “Template for a Reference Policy.” Aiming for status as an official “guideline” seemed a bit optimistic but the hope was to provide a useful aid, available at least through the committee’s web pages. Pam Morgan will share documents through a Wiki to be set up by Jane Kessler. Wendy Diamond will coordinate the work timeline. Nancy Cunningham will post to LibRef-L asking for those who have recently updated manuals to share their work. The hope is to have good work accomplished by Midwinter 2008. Jane Kessler encouraged members to think of the “Template” and other committee projects as part of a possible “Toolkit” for managers.
Committee members took division and section brochures on Monday (June 25) to the program for which the committee had served as liaison. The program, “Is the Learning Commons Enough? ---Asking the Better Questions,” was sponsored by the Library Administration and Management Association (LAMA) Building and Equipment Section (BES) Library Interiors Furnishings and Equipment (LIFE) Committee and co-sponsored by the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) Reference Services Section (RSS).
Evaluate the committee’s effectiveness in accomplishing its objectives: Having good attendance made decision-making and the division of labor easier. We seem to be on to new projects without finishing the last but the last is not abandoned and the new seemed to generate real interest.
What problems did you encounter? At the second meeting, attendance was greater than expected by the committee chair and we did not have enough chairs. A call to hotel staff did not bring more chairs. The room was not near other meeting rooms, so we could go on the usual sort of chair raid.
List any recommendations you have for action by the RUSA Board of Directors: None.