Reference Services Section RSS 2008 Annual Hot Topics in Frontline Reference Discussion Group Highlights

COMMITTEE: Hot Topics in Frontline Reference


CHAIRPERSON: Patrick Oberholtzer

DATES: Saturday 28, 2008


MEMBERSPRESENT: Suzy Palmer, Danielle Theiss-White, and Tina Plottel



OBJECTIVES: Conduct a discussion on our stated topic.

SUMMARY: Approximately 28 people attended the session. The hotel location was of some concern because it is far from the conference center and thus some might not want to travel the distance to attend. This proved not to be the case, and if anything, the location might have been a plus because it may have helped limit the number of attendees to a more discussion sized crowd. The room was set up as requested and functioned appropriately. A sign-up rooster was circulated, requesting attendees to give their names, e-mail addresses, and institutions. Susan Beck informed me at the RUSA-All committee meeting that I needed to circulate a petition asking that the Hot Topics in Frontline Reference Discussion Group be reauthorized to continue. This was sent around as well, and recorded 25 signatures. I gave it to Lisa Horowitz after the RUSA President's Program on Monday. Steering Committee members Suzy and Danielle introduced the topic. Prior to the meeting, they developed a bibliography and handout and posted them on the RUSA site. Before the meeting I received numerous requests via e-mail for copies of both these items, and I was glad I was able to direct them to the Web site. Tina graciously agreed to jot down notes. All three members of the committee are to be commended for their work. The event went very very well due to their efforts. The group consisted of a nice mix of academic and public reference librarians. We also had a public library trustee in the group. It proved to a genuine exchange of ideas. The conversation moved along in a lively and free-flowing manner, requiring neither prompting nor direction from the chair. I have never before attended a discussion in the many years that I have been involved with ALA that went as well as this one. In conclusion, the session was very successful and attracted exactly the variety and number of participants that we hope for in this sort of event. A number of attendees approached me over the course of conference and expressed their high satisfaction with the event. I continue to receive e-mails requesting the handout and bibliography.

EVALUATION: The discussion really took off and ran itself.

PROBLEMS: None. Hotel was rather far from the conference center but attendance was still pretty good.

RECOMMENDATIONS: None at this time.