MOUSS Reference Services in Medium-Sized Research Libraries Committee

REPORT TO THE REFERENCE AND USER SERVICES ASSOCIATION
MANAGEMENT AND OPERATION OF USER SERVICES SECTION
BY JOHN C. HEPNER CHAIR, STEERING COMMITTEE
REFERENCES SERVICES IN MEDIUM-SIZED RESEARCH LIBRARIES DISCUSSION GROUP


The Reference Services in Medium-Sized Research Libraries Discussion Group meets at both Midwinter Meeting and Annual Conference on Tuesday morning starting at 9:30 a.m. Each meeting of the discussion group provides an opportunity for participants to announce any current or pending job openings at their institutions. Discussion topics are suggested by participants at the meeting, voted upon, and then ranked by vote totals. Topics are discussed in sequence until time or the meeting to adjourn. Minutes from the 1999 Midwinter Meeting are attached to this report. They were distributed via the discussion group's mailing list on Thursday, 11 March 1999. They also were posted with minutes for both 1998 meetings on the discussion group's web page. A summary was included in the "MOUSS Tales" section of RUSA Update volume 20 number 1 (January/March 1999).

A sign-up sheet is distributed at each meeting to register attendance. Because the meeting is run informally and persons are free to come and go as they desire, a few people at each meeting may not actually register their attendance, although we try to remind newcomers to do so. The attendance sheets provide us with e-mail addresses which are added to the discussion group's mailing list for copies of minutes and notices of future meetings. The present mailing list includes 115 addresses. Attendance at the 1999 Midwinter Meeting was approximately 31 persons and at the 1998 Annual Conference approximately 28 persons.

Publicity for the meetings includes e-mail notices to everyone on the discussion group's mailing list, an announcement posted to LIBREF-L, a flyer submitted to the RUSA office for inclusion in the RUSA packet of flyers, and the notices of RUSA meetings published in RUSA Update and on the RUSA website. LIBREF-L posted the notice for the 1999 Annual Conference meeting Monday, 10 May 1999; the notice to the discussion group mailing list was sent by the Secretary Friday, 11 June 1999. The 1999 Midwinter Meeting notices were posted on LIBREF-L Tuesday, 8 December 1998 and to the mailing list Friday, 4 December 1998. The Annual Conference meeting schedule was included in the "MOUSS Tales" section of RUSA Update volume 20 number 2 (April/June 1999). Flyers for both the 1999 Midwinter Meeting and Annual Conference were submitted to the RUSA Office for photocopying and distribution.

At the Annual Conference each year, a new person is elected to join the Steering Committee. One member of the Steering Committee was unable to continue participating, which resulted in two persons being elected to the Steering Committee at the 1998 Annual Conference. At the 1999 Midwinter Meeting, a proposal was presented and accepted by the discussion group participants to cut the Steering Committee size from 5 to 4 individuals. This change will cut the commitment of time for members from 5 to 4 years. As a result of this change, no election for a new Steering Committee member will be held during the 1999 Annual Conference. The next election will take place during the 2000 Annual Conference meeting. A list of the present Steering Committee members and their progressive status on the committee is attached. Christine Hannon will assume duties as Chair of the Steering Committee after the 1999 Annual Conference.

The Steering Committee generally meets for breakfast prior to each Tuesday meeting to discuss any administrative or logistical issues requiring attention. At the 1999 Midwinter Meeting, the Steering Committee discussed the ALA Conference Committee document "Options for the Future" as it could impact our discussion group planning. We also discussed an informal survey through our mailing list asking for responses to potential alternatives to our present meeting day and time. The survey results are attached to this report. The results indicate that Monday morning is the best alternative to our present Tuesday morning meeting time. At the 1999 Midwinter Meeting, the attendees were polled and the results supported the same conclusion: 13 of those voting favored Monday morning and 7 favored Tuesday morning.

Submitted June 1999 by John C. Hepner, Chair.

DISCUSSION GROUP MEETING TIME SURVEY RESULTS
SAT
MOR 0
AFT 2
DAY 2

SUN
MOR 1
AFT 4
DAY 6

MON
MOR 4
AFT 1
DAY 9

TUE
MOR 8
AFT 0
DAY 8

TOTAL
MOR 13
AFT 7
DAY 25

NoPreference 1
Reply, No Response 4

SUMMARY FINDING:
The most satisfactory alternative to the Tuesday morning meeting time is Monday morning.

COMMENTS RECEIVED:
"Most times we leave on tuesday and I never have time to get there or have to leave early. Saturday and Sunday are too full with other meetings."

"I don't have a strong perference. Often I don't arrive til Saturday so that's not great; Sunday and Monday tend to be busy but would be okay for our meeting. I actually like Tuesday morning because it doesn't conflict with anything else...So, I'd prefer not to meet the first day; after that, I'm flexible. (I do tend to think that many people leave on the Monday, though, which may account for our relatively small attendance.)"

"Unfortunately, will not be attending this year."

"Unfortunately, I'm off the ALA circuit for a while. Your Discussion Group was always one of the highlights for me while I was attending, but I won't be able to join you at upcoming conferences."

"Early is better than later, because we usually fly out that day [Tuesday] and if the airport's far away and our flight is in the early afternoon, it is sometimes impossible to attend the meeting."

"I feel a little hesitant to respond with my preferences, since I'm not a regular at Midwinter, but for what it's worth, the best times for me would be Saturday or Tuesday morning"

"Monday is the best day for me. In some ways I would really like to see the Discussion Group meet on Monday, or earlier if that works out well for most. One of the slight problems with the current meeting of the discussion is that I usually do not get a flight out until late afternoon. If the Discussion Group met earlier during the conference I could get a flight out Tuesday morning or midday. I find the Discussion Group really useful and support continuing it. However, has any thought been given to having the Discussion Group meet only at Midwinter?"

"I usually make my way home on Tuesday. It's too bad, because I really enjoy the discussion."

"I would prefer any day other than Tuesday (Saturday, Sunday or Monday). Either time would be fine. The day is more important."

"Tuesday Mornings are generally a good time for me. (I must admit though, I don't always attend ALA so I suppose you should take my vote with a grain of salt.)"

"_Monday_ although Tuesday is also okay. At present, any other day presents problems for me. Depending on the timing--I usually have two or more other commitee meetings/programs to attend--Sundays are also possible, but very difficult. I will not do any business on Saturday, unless it is an urgent matter, although I may be the only one who has this constraint. I generally have no qualms with the traditional Tuesday, but Monday would be slightly better for me. It makes no difference if it's Monday, though I lean towards morning."

"I would prefer Saturday or Sunday in the afternoon for the meeting time for The Reference Services in Medium-Sized Research Libraries group."

"No special preference on my part... there are always so many things to do at an ALA conference in any one hour, that I often times try clustering things by WHERE I AM AT THE MOMENT, and what is interesting that is nearby. Rather than scheduling my conference on the most interesting events, without knowing before hand that they are bouncing me back & forth across town."

"ALA is such a zoo that it is always hard to schedule something. More stuff seems to be scheduled Sat and Sun so therefore it is easier to attend a meeting on Monday or Tuesday. However, that means that some people will have to hang around ALA for four days or so. I prefer Sat or Sun and an afternoon. Is an evening a possibiliy?"

"The best time for me would be Monday. Morning and Afternoon are equal for me."

"Good idea to think of another day. I often stay till Tuesday only for this meeting. If it were earlier, I might leave on Monday afternoon or night. Sunday - morning usually the large sized DG meets on Sunday afternoon. (2:00-4:00) Monday - morning Either is acceptable to me."

"I will no longer be attending the meetings at least temporarily, because my job responsibilities have changed. If I were still coming, I don't really have a preference for time."

"Thanks for keeping in touch, but I won't be attending Midwinter. I'll probably be at New Orleans, though, so please keep me on your list."

"Sometimes I leave early on Tuesday so Monday might be a possible alternative. No particular time frame."

"I don't plan to attend. Thanks, though..."

APPENDIX
Survey message sent to all current mailing list addresses, Thu, 17 Dec 1998 12:40:32 -0600: "The Reference Services in Medium-Sized Research Libraries traditionally has met at both the Midwinter Meeting and the ALA Annual Conference on Tuesday morning. We are conducting a survey of all those who have attended past meetings to determine if another meeting date and time would be preferred. Please take a moment of your time to answer the following two questions and return your response to me. Many thanks for your input! You may add comments if you so desire. On which day would a meeting of the discussion group be most convenient for you to attend?

Saturday
Sunday
Monday
Tuesday

Which block of time would be most convenient for your attendance?

Morning
Afternoon"