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.

Meet the ALA Annual Bloggers

RUSA Voices is proud to have daily coverage of ALA Annual 2015 in San Francisco. Recruited by the Emerging Technologies Section, these bloggers represent an array of points of view from throughout RUSA.

Catherine Damiani

DamianiCatherineCatherine Damiani is a recent MLIS graduate from the University of Rhode Island’s GSLIS program. She enjoys teaching and learning about digital literacy and emerging technologies as well as working in reference services. She began her first professional position in March 2015 as East Providence Public Library’s (RI) Digital Services Librarian where she currently works

Follow on Twitter @BiblioCatherine.

Raymond Pun

adRaymond Pun is a reference and research services librarian in NYU Shanghai. He provides reference, consultation, outreach services in NYU’s newest global portal campus in China. His research and professional interests include data management and digital scholarship services, community engagement, and international librarianship.

Follow on Twitter @Oboro85

Kara Plamann Wagoner

karaKara Plamann Wagoner is a recent University of Hawaii LIS grad. Since receiving her degree in December, Kara has worked as a reference librarian at Kapiolani Community College where she advocates for the use of Open Educational Resources, creates digital collections in an institutional repository, and teaches workshops to promote student success. Her favorite time is at the reference desk where she can openly and honestly connect with people.

Follow on Twitter @karakarapw

RUSA Voices Launch!

Welcome to RUSA Voices, the official blog for the Reference and User Services Association!

RUSA Voices is a virtual forum  for the reference and user services community. It is an opportunity to not only raise awareness of and explore practices, technology, and issues in reference and user services, but also to voice and share a diverse set of perspectives that represents the diverse community of RUSA.

Who’s behind the blog?

RUSA Voices is member driven and is made sustainable through the work of the RUSA Publications and Communications Committee. There are two volunteer positions dedicated completely to the RUSA Voices — an editor and web manager.

David MidyetteDavid Midyette, Editor

David is  the Reference and Instruction Librarian at the Roseman University of Health Sciences University Library. He was the editor of the Southeastern Atlantic Regional Medical Library blog as well as the SEA Currents newsletter.


Junior TidalJunior Tidal, Web Manager

Junior is the Web Services & Multimedia Librarian for the New York City College of Technology, City University of New York.




What can I read about in RUSA Voices?

RUSA Voices will cover topics of relevance to reference services in all types of libraries. Specific thematic series will be established to focus on specific, pervasive issues in current reference services, as well as successful projects and individuals. Blog authors will be solicited with sets of topics of current interest, and topics will be assigned to interested respondents.

Who writes for RUSA Voices?

Anyone! This blog is for anyone in RUSA or the wider profession to contribute to the conversation about reference and user services. We have an open submission process. Please email any submissions or ideas to David Midyette (