Midwinter 2006 Meeting Highlights

COMMITTEE = Virtual Reference Committee


CHAIRPERSON = Joe Thompson / Jana Ronan

DATES = January 22, 2006

EMAIL = jthompso@bcpl.net

Joe Thompson
Jana Ronan
Alex Hodges
Barbara Petersohn
Buff Hirko
Deidre McDonald
Ronald Burdick
Sheryl Katzin

Virtual Members Present:
Meg Meiman
Sam Stormont
Lori Thornton
Valli Hoski

Donna Dinberg
Stephen Marvin

J. Carol Bell
Wendy Diamond
Sandi Edwards
Meg Fraim
Karen Hill
Curley Jones
Esther Lee
Anne Moore
Patrick Oberholtzer
Alma Ortega
Erin Rushton
John Spencer
Tom Reinsfelder
Doris Ann Sweet
Ann Wells
Harriet Ying


1. Confirm committee membership and virtual memberships.

2. Plan the Annual 2006 program, "Abuse is in the Eye of the Beholder, Managing Challenging Users in Chat Virtual Reference."

3. Consider planning a program for Annual 2007 in Washington, D.C.

4. Plan the implementation of the index/registry of virtual reference services.

5. Continue partnership with MARS Virtual Reference Discussion Group.

SUMMARY = This meeting in San Antonio was held in the Convention Center, room 210 B, and was attended by 28 people including committee members.

The meeting began at 10:30 a.m.

1. Introductions: This was the first that some committee members had met in person.

2. In planning the Annual 2006 program, we developed a list of roles for the committee members. These roles will guide us over the coming months to verify that we are indeed fully prepared for the program in New Orleans.

3. Joe asked if there would be interest in proposing a program for Annual 2007 in Washington, D.C. There was, so the committee brainstormed possible topics. The idea that rose to the top was on the different learning styles of those people who use, and librarians who offer, virtual reference services. This proposal will be suggested to the RSS and MARS Ex. Committees, then developed and submitted to RUSA this spring for consideration.

4. Anne Moore reported on the MARS Virtual Reference Discussion Group that took place the day before on January 21. The topic was "It's All Just Reference" and over 150 people had attended. Several members of the Virtual Reference Committee participated as table discussion leaders. The evaluations were very positive, but Anne noted that easels and floor microphones had been requested, but not made available. The DG's topic for Annual '06 will be on Quality Control Issues. The VR committee will continue to partner with the VR DG on this effort.

5. Jana distributed information about the new ALA Online Communities, which we will use to communicate regarding the planning for the Index/Registry of Virtual Reference Services.

6. As of this meeting it was uncertain whether Jana and Joe would be able to remain as chairs of the committee following Annual '06. There was a question as to when the terms on this new committee technically began.

7. Buff Hirko described the online VR training program that Washington State has created, and which this committee will likely be charged with maintaining in the future.

The meeting was adjurned at 12:30 p.m.

EVALUATION = All successful.

PROBLEMS = We believe that some visitors may have attending this committee meeting assuming that it was a discussion or program instead. In the program it was simply listed as "Virtual Reference."