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RSS Programs and Discussions at Annual 2012


RUSA's Reference Services Section (RSS) held several programs and discussions at ALA Annual 2012 (Anaheim, CA). See below for links to presentations and notes.


Are Virtual Reference Services Worth the Effort? What ROI Analysis and User Evaluations Tell Us

RSS/MARS Virtual Reference Services Committee | Program
Anaheim Convention Center, Room 201D · 1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Presentations: http://connect.ala.org/node/182404

Are virtual reference services worth the effort? The answer to that question is a definitive "yes," but how do we know? A panel of experts discussed ways to look at return-on-investment and evaluation of virtual reference (VR) services and various methods used to assess their effectiveness. Real-life examples of ways this has already been done were be presented.  The moderator for this event was Dr. Joseph Janes and speakers were from New York University, Mississippi State University, and Maryland's virtual reference service AskUsNow!


  • Joseph Janes, University of Washington Information School | Moderator
  • Julie Strange, Maryland AskUsNow!
  • Kara Whatley, New York University
  • Scott Collard, New York University


The How, What, and Why of Reference Evaluation and Assessment
Anaheim Marriott, Marquis Northwest  ·  4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
RSS Evaluation of Reference &  User Services Committee  | Discussion
Presentations: http://connect.ala.org/node/187229

As the number of reference statistics decline, librarians look to measure the value of reference interactions more qualitatively. The Wisconsin-Ohio Reference Evaluation Program (WOREP, retired at the end of 2011), the READ Scale (Reference Effort Assessment Data), and LibQual are among the tools that have been used. This discussion forum addressed the how, why, and what of evaluation and assessment of reference. Participants discussed how evaluation and assessment are being done and funded; they talked about the why—what’s behind both librarians’ and administrators’ reasons for collecting this information; and finally the what—what is being collected, what is the workload, and what decisions are being made with this data.

Discussion Moderators: Ellen Keith, John Hopkins University and Jason Kruse, Northwestern University


18th Annual Reference Research Forum
Anaheim Convention Center, Room 204A  · 1:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.
RSS Research & Statistics Committee | Program

Presentations: http://connect.ala.org/node/188689

Learn about notable research projects in reference service areas such as user behavior, electronic services and reference effectiveness. This year’s Forum featured three presentations:

  • Best Practices of Text Reference Service: A Synergistic View
    Lili Luo (San Jose State University, SLIS)
  • Apples and Oranges: Lessons From a Usability Study of Two Library FAQ Web Sites
    Susan Gardner Archambault and Kenneth Simon (Loyola Marymount University)
  • Research Assistance Interactions: Exploration of Users' Motivation and Perceptions
    Alison Graber, Alison Hicks, Caroline Sinkinson, and Stephanie Alexander (University of Colorado-Boulder)


How Libraries Are Serving the Evolving Needs of Baby Boomers and Older Adults
Anaheim Convention Center, Room 201A  · 4:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
RSS Library Service to an Aging Population

Presentations:  http://connect.ala.org/node/185179

Baby Boomers and Older Americans today are the most diverse community of aging adults in history. Learn how libraries are reaching these populations, with attention to the 2008 RUSA Guidelines on Library and Information Services to Older Adults. Explore how libraries can best respond to the needs of Boomers and older adults through programs, collections, and services, including responses to the current economic downturn.  


  • Susan Hildreth, IMLS
  • Jane Salisbury, Multnomah County Pubic Library
  • Tony Sarmiento, Senior Services American
  • Suzanne Flint, California State Library


Let’s Work Together: Integrating Social Media, Online Marketing, and Outreach

Anaheim Convention Center, Room 201A  · 8:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.
RSS Marketing & Public Relations for Reference Services | Program

Presentations: http://connect.ala.org/node/188373

Speakers discussed how their organizations reinvented their online presence using social media as a way to interact with their communities. They'll also addressed their personal and organizational investments in the implementation of an ongoing online, socially-interactive presence; giving hints and advice regarding the implementation of new media and how those roles and responsibilities are assigned to staff; identified the criteria they used to develop their social media plan; and explained goals and measurement tools for keeping on track.


  • Marshall Breeding, Vanderbilt University Libraries
  • David Lee King, Topeka Public Library
  • Jen Robinson, Marin County Free Library