RUSA Trends


Jennifer Boettcher, MLS and MBA
Business Information Consultant
Georgetown University

RUSA Trends Subcommittee is looking for volunteers to write blurbs about research that would be of interest to all the sections and interest groups of RUSA:  share resources, history, reference desk, business, new tech, copyright, entrepreneurship, and collection development.  Primary duties would to keep an eye out for interesting stories, tweet them out on RUSA (so others can do the same, using #RUSAFF [RUSA Fun Facts] and appropriate section), then to populate the blog: RUSA Voices.  I would like to see at least one post per month from each section or interest group. It would be the best if we got at least one person from each section or group.  To volunteer to be on the subcommittee fill out the form (still taking volunteers for this year).

BTW, you don’t have to be a member of the Subcommittee to do any of this…. Let’s show other librarians what RUSA members are excited about.

New RUSA Interest Groups – Midwinter 2016

By Beth German  german
Instructional Design Librarian
Texas A&M University Libraries

RUSA Organization and Planning is pleased to announce that we have accepted four proposals for Interest Groups for a pilot project between Midwinter and Annual 2016. It is the hope that the outcome of this pilot will be a path forward to being the integration of Interest Groups into RUSA’s organizational structure. Take a look at the list of Interest Groups below and contact the group organizer if you are interested in more information.

The focus of the Copyright IG is on providing a forum for the RUSA community to exchange ideas relating to copyright law and its application, to strengthen communication and cooperation among RUSA members on issues relating to copyright, and to provide opportunities for growth and improved reference services. – Faithe Ruiz (

Entrepreneurship has been a hot topic of reference and adult services librarians for some time now. The concept includes self-employment, starting a business, and starting a nonprofit (also called social entrepreneurship). For libraries, support of entrepreneurship can involve outreach, research support, providing spaces for innovation and collaboration, and connecting entrepreneurs to other local resources and support services. – Steve Cramer (

First Year Experience
The purpose of this group is to share ideas and develop new connections for future collegiality and support. Topics for discussions include but are not limited to retention improvements, introduction to higher education research skills development, outreach, first generation students, international students, students enrolled simultaneously in high school and college (dual enrollment programs), reference services, etc. – Douglas Hasty (

Shared Collections
This Interest Group will focus on the topic of Shared Collections, which can encompass shared print initiatives, shared storage facilities, and prospective sharing of collections through cooperative collection development. – Tina Baich (

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RUSA STARS ILL Discussion Group – Midwinter 2016


By Nora Dethloffdethloff

Assistant Head of Information & Access Services
University of Houston Libraries


When I attended my first ALA Midwinter in 2009, I was still a brand new Interlibrary Loan Librarian, so new that I didn’t even know what I needed to know – although I knew I needed to know more. Thankfully, at that conference I discovered the RUSA STARS ILL Discussion Group. I remember taking frantic notes at that session; as practiced ILL librarians discussed topics ranging from software and scanners to copyright and licensing, I just did my best to write down all the acronyms so I could look them up later. Since then, the ILL Discussion group has become one of my conference mainstays. It’s always a great source of information about what’s happening in resource sharing, and a good place to ask questions (and get answers!) from some of the best. This year, the ILL Discussion Group marked the 10th anniversary of the creation of the Task Force for Qualifications for Interlibrary Loan Operations Management by discussing RUSA’s Guidelines for Interlibrary Loan Operations Management.

In 2006, the RUSA STARS Executive Committee convened the Task Force for Qualifications for Interlibrary Loan Operations Management. The group was charged with creating a set of recommended qualifications for Interlibrary Loan managers, as well as with recommending guidelines for the “hiring, training, and maintaining the skills of” said managers. At the ILL Discussion Group two of the original task force members, Susan Lieberthal (Suffolk County Community College) and Sue Kaler (Massachusetts Library System), gave a short presentation detailing the research done by the Task Force back in 2006. This included a poll sent to ILL departments, in which respondents were asked if an MLS ought to be a required qualification for an ILL manager. The results from this poll showed a slight majority (52%, out of 598 respondents) felt the MLS ought to be required. Surprised by these findings, the task force determined that their results may have been skewed by the phrasing of the question – which described ILL managers as “running” an ILL operation, rather than “supervising” or “overseeing” – and by the manner in which the poll was distributed – directly to the emails used to contact ILL departments. The distribution method turned out to be particularly problematic, as it likely excluded from the pool higher-level supervisors and library administration. To counteract this problem, the poll was separately distributed to library directors in the SUNY system, a group which, it was felt, would be representative of library directors throughout the country. The question was also rephrased, replacing “running” with “supervising.” Results from this second poll showed respondents overwhelmingly (70%) in favor of an MLS as a requirement. These results informed the creation of the guidelines, in particular section 5.1, which states that oversight of ILL operations should be given to someone holding an MLS.

Following the brief presentation, the floor was opened to discussion about the guidelines. The exchange initially focused on work now underway in STARS Executive Committee to develop a list of core competencies for work in Interlibrary Loan. The goal of this project is to create a document that will serve as a description of the skills needed in an ILL shop. The plan is that this could eventually be used by ILL practitioners both as a hiring and training tool, and also as a tool for outreach to raise awareness of the breadth and complexity of the tasks in an ILL operation.

Discussion returned to the Guidelines for Interlibrary Loan Operations Management, with an observation that work on these guidelines was undertaken in 2005. At this time, there was concern among the resource sharing profession about the de-professionalization of Interlibrary Loan; some felt that a trend was developing toward ILL operations managed by non-MLS staff members. However, this prediction has proved to be inaccurate. Rather, the role of ILL in today’s library is often at the intersection of many other areas of library science. A good ILL manager, it was pointed out, works closely with those involved in collection development, licensing of resources, acquisitions, and other areas. In this regard, it is particularly helpful for an ILL manager to have the background and basic familiarity with all areas of library science that comes with an MLS.

Moving to the next topic for discussion, Tim Bowen from the Copyright Clearance Center (CCC) spoke about the status of Ariel, the document transmission software from Infotrieve. Infotrieve, along with Ariel, was acquired by the CCC in 2014. At that time, the Ariel software was already badly outdated, and all Ariel expertise within Infotrieve had already been lost. Ariel, which has been replaced in many ILL operations by newer alternatives like Odyssey and Article Exchange, has not been updated since 2006 and will be sunsetted later this year. There is no official timeline as yet, but they are hoping to retire Ariel by June. Notices will be sent to remaining subscribers sometime in February.

Bowen responded positively to suggestions from the floor, including the suggestion that webinars presenting alternative products should be offered, and the point that international libraries may need special accommodations as many are not OCLC subscribers, a requirement to use some newer software.

As usual, the STARS ILL Discussion Group provided a lively exchange of ideas on topics relevant to the resource sharing profession. Once again I found myself scribbling copious notes. For folks in resource sharing, the ILL Discussion Group is an invaluable source of new information, and a great chance to hear from people practicing ILL in a wide variety of libraries.

Blog for RUSA During Midwinter!

Raise your Voice! Consider blogging for RUSA Voices, the new blog for RUSA members and those who support the mission and goals of RUSA.

We are looking for folks (RUSA member or interested parties) to blog during ALA’s Midwinter Meeting this coming January in Boston about interesting sessions, discussion groups, and happenings.

If you’re not at Midwinter but have other things you’d like to share, consider blogging about items or interest or things that really grind your gears throughout the year. Can’t do it then, but still interested?

Going to Annual next summer or other library conferences and want to share what you learned? Bring it on! No topic is taboo and since this is a user generated blog, we want to hear what you think. RUSA wants to hear what you think. ALA wants to hear what you think.

Questions? Interest? Contact David Midyette (

Raise Your Voices!

Writing Tools

By J. David Midyette

Well, RUSA Voices has launched and has been getting quite a few looks by interested folks. I want to thank all of the folks behind the scenes (you know who you are) for getting things started with our posts about the ALA meetings in San Francisco. I wanted to go, but couldn’t make it this year. However, the posts by our diligent ALA correspondents certainly brought home some of the information and flavor of a successful conference. Following on that success, I want to put a call out to all RUSA and non-RUSA folks to contribute to RUSA Voices. This is YOUR blog for YOUR ideas and concerns, so Raise Your Voice and speak to your fellow librarians!

Writing a blog post can be as simple or as complex as you’d like it to be. Your colleagues want to hear from you about your trials and tribulations, your successes and challenges, but mostly, they just want to hear what’s important to you in your professional lives. While RUSA is focused on reference and user services, that is still an incredibly broad category, and provides innumerable options for sharing of information. How is your transition to LibGuides 2.0 coming? What are your challenges in collecting quantitative and qualitative data to prove your worth? What new reference services are red hot topics? How are old concepts and techniques being applied in new and novel ways? Is Google still putting us out of business or is it just reshaping how we help people connect to information?

Still not convinced? Send me an email or give me a call! I’ll help you work through the process of putting fingers to keys. It really can be as simple as sitting down and typing out your string of consciousness about a topic. We can work from there to refine and shape your writing. Heck, it may be perfect the way it is! The point is that you have a Voice and it needs to be heard. You may think to yourself that you have nothing interesting or novel to say (I know I listened to my inner voice saying that for far too long), but in truth, you have a lot to say and it WILL interest people. While many of us live at the bleeding edge of technology, others bide their time and wait to see how these new technologies express themselves through patron usage. Twitter is an awesome tool, but it has changed immensely from the beginning. Think about what you do on a daily basis and simply report on some of the unique things, even if they seem mundane.

I love editing people’s writing and helping them shape their ideas. Send me something and let me help you get started. Write a blog post for RUSA Voices and put it in your resume. Posts can be more academic or more practical in orientation; it’s up to you and your interests. You don’t have to agonize over things, just get something down and send it in; we will go from there together . . . We will make sure that your colleagues hear your Voice and share what you have to say! I look forward to working with you, now sit down and write something!

David (
Editor, RUSA Voices

Last Day at ALA Annual 2015: Researching Emerging Industries

by Ray Pun

Another ALA Annual conference has come and gone! I will return to Shanghai on Tuesday morning at 1 AM! Before I go back to work, I wanted to discuss a BRASS sponsored program I attended on Monday morning: “Not Elsewhere Classified: Different Approaches to Researching Emerging Industries,” presented by April Kessler and Laura Young from Bizologie.

It was a very interesting presentation that taught me a lot about how to think creatively in using a variety of current (and free) resources to conduct industry and market research. I found it to be very relevant and applicable to research in general. The program description states that “Experts will enlighten participants on how to locate and evaluate information on leading-edge industries, assess markets, and lead your clients in making strategic decisions when their business crosses traditional NAICS code boundaries or is part of a new or soon-to-be-existing field.”

The two speakers addressed many of the startup enterprises that are creating many waves and headlines in the world: Uber, Airbnb, HomeAway and other food delivery apps. These new technologies are part of this new sharing economy that can be very challenging for any researchers to find more information about.

Luckily, the speakers gave plenty of research techniques, tips and ideas when conducting research on emerging industries. Here are a few new things I learned:

• There are plenty of free resources for researchers to use. The speakers mentioned the following tools that could be helpful: Crunchbase,, BizJournal, online casino, and Statista, among others. They can give market trends, competitors or at least data/information about these new emerging companies.

• Google Research – You can run a Google search on Google News as well as searching for filetype: ppt, pdf, or xls for free sources on your business research.

• When researching these new emerging industries, think about new tax laws, regulations, SEC rulings, etc. These new policies are also determining how these new startups can operate responsibly under the law.

It was a great time to reconnect with friends, colleagues and many other folks at the ALA Annual conference! I always learn a lot and enjoy meeting new people in this event! Thanks for reading and I hope to see some of you next year in Orlando!

Day 3 at ALA: Committee Meetings

by Kara Wagoner

Sunday at the ALA Annual Conference was a day of subtlety, in stark contrast to the colorful excitement of the SF Pride Parade happening right on Market Street. My Saturday included listening to danah boyd in an audience-filled auditorium and an evening at Hotel Nikko to celebrate the Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence. My Sunday, on the other hand, focused on the work to create such programming.

The Emerging Technologies Section (ETS) of RUSA converges public services and tech in an engaging way that encourages participation and inclusion. Throughout the conference, I had followed @rusa_ets on Twitter, so I was thrilled when I saw a tweet inviting everyone to the all-committee meeting on Sunday afternoon.

Stephanie Graves, director of learning and outreach at Texas A&M, led a discussion where members thought about the structure of ETS, possible opportunities for future webinars, and hot topics in emerging technology. Here are some of the highlights:

• Opportunities for collaboratives exist. The Library and Information Technology Association (LITA) empowers libraries through its exploration of new technologies. Crossover programs between ETS and LITA could lead to a more cohesive message when talking about applied science in the library.

• Consultations are key. As a library adopts a new system, such as self-serving kiosks for laptop checkouts, it would be helpful to talk to a person or group who has already experienced the growing pains and successes of that same implementation.

• Tech areas of interest evolve quickly. Professional development has to be adaptive to reflect this. Proposals for programs at the ALA Annual Conference have to be submitted more than a year in advance. Framing technology in terms of over-arching themes rather than specifics allows for more flexibility in the planning process.

In 2016, we may see programs, discussion groups, and webinars examining the issues surrounding user-centered design, big data, or the Internet of Things. It was exciting to participate in a small group where behind-the-scenes brainstorming makes such events possible.

First Days: A Trip of Celebrations and Learning Opportunities at BRASS!

by Ray Pun

Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend several ALA-related meetings scattered throughout the city of San Francisco. However, yesterday was also quite an historic moment: the Supreme Court of the United States (also known as SCOTUS) legalized gay marriage in America. There were tons of celebrations and parades going on throughout the city and that was just the beginning. This Sunday there will be the annual San Francisco Pride Celebration Parade.

For this ALA, I was hoping to attend more general RUSA-related events and learn more about RUSA’s vision and how fits with my own professional interests. As someone who is currently working as a reference librarian in NYU Shanghai, a new university in China, it’s critical to stay on top of emerging technologies and trends and innovative reference and research services in academic librarianship in conferences like ALA Annual because it’s difficult to get that kind of training and experience working abroad sometimes.

RUSA has a few different sections in various areas: business, history, resource sharing and emerging technologies, etc. Attending ALA Annual this year would give me the opportunity to visit spielautomaten some of the programs and learn more about these sections and fields and the people behind them!

Currently I am a current member of the Business Reference Services and Section (BRASS), and I was able to attend the BRASS reception sponsored by ReferenceUSA and held in ThirstyBear. I met and caught up with many colleagues who are librarians and specialists in business, economic, data and financial information services from different institutions including Yale, UCLA, Princeton, University of Michigan and many more. It is often one of the best-organized reception events I attend at ALA!

The BRASS folks are always nice and helpful and they really know their business and data research! I had wanted to catch up with some of them to hear how things were going in their institutions but also their thoughts about recent database products, services and the Greek debt crisis.

On Monday, I plan to attend the “Not Elsewhere Classified: Researching New and Niche Industries,” sponsored by S&P Capital IQ! I am particularly interested in hearing about researching startup companies – now that there are so many including Airbnb and Uber! Here are some group-selfies I was able to take and share!


Left to Right: Sara F. Hess (recent MLS graduate from the University of Michigan), Erin Wachowiz (Yale’s School of Management Librarian), Eimmy Solis (NYU’s Business and Economics Librarian) and Ray Pun (Reference Librarian in NYU Shanghai) Photo Credits: Eimmy Solis.


Left to Right: Todd Hines (Assistant Economics, Finance and Data Librarian from Princeton, Current Chair of BRASS) Ray Pun (Reference Librarian in NYU Shanghai) and Bobray Bordelon (Economics and Finance Librarian/Data Services Librarian from Princeton) Photo Credit: Erin Wachowiz

RUSA’s Day 2 at #alaac15

By Catherine Damiani

RUSA kicked off a fantastic Day 2 of ALA (#alaac15) with sessions and celebrations on the topics of data, equality, and inclusivity.

The RUSA’s President’s Program featured Microsoft Researcher and NYU Academic Dr. danah boyd who spoke on data’s impact in our lives, how we interpret that data, and what librarians can do to combat data bias. danah called librarians the “patron saints of information” and focused on the importance of ALA’s Core Values in today’s data-driven world. She also noted that “failures to fight for access don’t just cost libraries, but society” and challenged librarians to “ask hard questions.”

Saturday continued with a star-studded event for the literary world (as well as in the sports world!) at the Andrew Carnegie Awards for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction (#ala_carnegie) with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the program’s featured keynote speaker. Abdul-Jabbar called the library “a special place” where he first became aware of authors like Edgar Allen Poe, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Sir Walter Scott to name a few. After Abdul-Jabbar’s “thank you to librarians for steering young people in the right direction,” the announcements that everyone had been waiting for were upon the crowd. The Carnegie Nonfiction winner is Bryan Stevenson’s book “Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption.” It’s Stevenson’s hope that his book will change the narrative on incarceration in the United States because “literature has the opportunity to do this.” The Carnegie Fiction winner is Anthony Doerr’s “All The Light We Cannot See.” Doerr thanked everyone in the room for helping to “protect libraries and encourage books.” With both awarding-winning authors along with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in the house, the celebration was one for the books!

For a play-by-play of danah boyd’s program as well as the Carnegie Awards, find Catherine on Twitter @BiblioCatherine. Tune in the the RUSAVoices blog over the next few days for recaps on more RUSA events.