Reference Services Section RSS 2008 Annual Meeting Marketing and PR Committee Minutes

RSS Marketing and Public Relations Committee
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Open House:  8:00 am – 10:30 am
Sheraton Park Hotel, Palm Ballroom

Attendees:  Ann Brown (Chair), Kate Silton, Ed Garcia, Melinda Gottesman, Simmona Simmons-Hido, and Christy Donaldson

Visitors:  Lisa Horowitz and Judy Solberg


  1. What to do with the information gathered from our discussion group at Midwinter 2008, “As the Definition of Reference Changes—How Do We Market It?”?  The discussion led to a list of Future Topics.  What would we like to do?  One suggestion that came up in Executive Committee was that we should put together a half-day workshop for Midwinter 2010? 
    We decided to put this on hold as we worked toward our second agenda item for RSS
  2. We have been tasked by the RSS Chair, Lisa Horowitz, to help brainstorm how RSS can market the new definition of Reference as passed by RUSA.  In part, this is due to our discussion from Midwinter, and our interest in marketing and public relations.  The definition is online here, along with other groups definitions:

    Reference Transactions are information consultations in which library staff recommend, interpret, evaluate, and/or use information resources to help others to meet particular information needs. Reference transactions do not include formal instruction or exchanges that provide assistance with locations, schedules, equipment, supplies, or policy statements.

    Reference Work includes reference transactions and other activities that involve the creation, management, and assessment of information or research resources, tools, and services.

    (The following bullets clarify what is meant by terms within the Reference Work definition.)
    1. Creation and management of information resources includes the development and maintenance of research collections, research guides, catalogs, databases, web sites, search engines, etc., that patrons can use independently, in-house or remotely, to satisfy their information needs. 
    2. Assessment activities include the measurement and evaluation of reference work, resources, and services.”

We asked Lisa to join the committee to fill us in our her request.

  • At ALA Midwinter 2008, RUSA passed the new definition of reference
  • There were no press releases sent out, but she would like to really publicize this change
  • As part of that, she wants us to take a role as advocates to standards groups who collect data from libraries.  Such as:  ACRL, ARL, ANSI, NISO, and NCES
  • Because we are a committee made up of librarians interested in Marketing and Publicity, she asked that we brainstorm different options to create marketing plan.

After Lisa left, the committee then began the brainstorming, after first identifying our audience as accreditation groups and reference librarians.

  • Listserv
  • Publications
  • State library organizations
  • PLA
  • ACRL
  • SLA
  • Op-ed piece
  • Ask different publications to cover it—RUSQ, CR&L News, Americal Libraries
  • American Libraries Direct
  • Event or Soiree
  • Exhibit Hall
  • Press Release to our intended audiences
  • Library Schools
  • Chief Libraries in the States
  • ALA Reference Sections?—ACRL/PLA
  • Find original NISO Person who went to RUSA and asked for us to look at this
  • Discussion Group @ Midwinter/Program—to start a Grass roots campaign
  • A Press Release:  send to intended audiences and interested groups, including listserv
  • A Personal Letter from leadership within RSS and RUSA to the standards agencies
  • An Event:  perhaps a soiree, program, discussion group that could be co-sponsored.
  • Poster Sessions for ALA Midwinter and Annual
  • Create snazzy brochures to be distributed at conferences and the RUSA booth, that could be created as a pdf and printed on demand
  • We could mention this at every midwinter meeting
  • Create a Facebook/MySpace Page
  • ACRL Poster Session

The question of money arose.

  • How much would we need?
  • Letters require:  stationary, postage
  • Brochure:  3000 count
  • Paying for a graphic designer for the brochure
  • Event would cost quite a bit

Judy and Lisa Rejoined the group for our proposal.  And Lisa asked that I make a request via Judy for funding from RUSA.

The Final Proposal:
Immediate Tasks:

  • Press Release
    • Sent to listservs
    • Library Organizations:  State, National, Regional, Accrediting Agencies, and Library Schools
    • OP-ED piece in:  American Libraries, CR&L News, Library Journal, and maybe RUSQ?
  • Creation of a Facebook Fan Page, and Perhaps something on MySpace to reach our Public Library constituents

Long Term Tasks:

  • Finding the NISO Person that originally contacted RUSA and/or finding the NISO person on ALA Council
  • Snazzy Brochure (explore VistaPrint)
  • A Midwinter RSS Discussion Forum blitz
  • Midwinter Discussion Forum, perhaps co-hosted
  • ALA 2009 (Chicago) Poster Session
  • ACRL 2009 (Seattle) Poster Session
  • Future in 09-10 to place ads in library and reference focused journals
  • Hook into the RUSA Awards Event at Annual

Next Steps

  • Write up plan and send to Lisa and she’ll discuss with Barb Macikas after ALA
  • The funding from RUSA was denied, but the RSS Board Meeting on July 1 came up with some great plans for further ideas.

ADDENDA:  Ann presented the Plan to the RSS Board at the final Meeting on Tuesday, July 1, 2008.  See those minutes for that discussion and the committee’s next steps.