Education and Professional Development for Reference Committee Meeting

September 3, 2014, 3pm-4pm, Central Time

Online via Zoom

Present: Jason Coleman (Chair), Bryna Coonin, Liane Elias, Rachel Jorgensen, Ellen Keith,

Laura McClanathan, Morgan Montgomery, Rayette Sterling

I. Introductions

Each of us shared our name, where we work, what we do there, and what we like to do for fun.


Jason Coleman works at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas. He is an

Undergraduate and Community Services Librarian. For fun he likes to play Ultimate

Frisbee and read – not at the same time, though! He is Chair and also a new member of the committee.


Bryna Coonin works at Eastern Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina.

She was at NC State in Raleigh for several years. She works half-time in research/instruction/reference and half-time in collection development. She is a returning member of the committee.


Liane Elias works at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and works many hours on the reference desk. She is a returning member of the committee.


Rachel Jorgensen is at the University of the District of Columbia. Her official title is

Information Literacy Librarian. She is also a reference librarian and instruction librarian. She handles interns as well. She is also teaching a class on Information and

Technology for the General Education Department. She is also a part-time law student. Between work and school she has absolutely no time left, except to go to

Costco. She is a new member of the committee.


Ellen Keith is at the Chicago History Museum where she is the Director of Research and Access. Prior to this job she was an academic librarian for 18 years. For fun she reviews Historical Novels. She is a returning member of the committee.


Laura McClanathan is at the University of California Santa Cruz. She is School of

Library and Information Studies Science student at San Jose State University. She is a new member of the committee.


Morgan Montgomery is at Claflin University in Orangeburg, South Carolina. She is a reference librarian and teaches University 101. She also does interlibrary loan. She likes attending conferences, traveling, reading, and learning new things. She is a new member of the committee.


Rayette Sterling is the Adult Services Coordinator at Anchorage Public Library. She is a returning member of the committee.


Kris Johnson works at the Colorado State Library – she runs the AskColorado virtual reference cooperative. She is interested in professional development and continuing education. She is intending as a guest.

II. Committee Roster

Jason Matthew


(Chair, July 1, 2014, to June 30,

2015) coleman@ksu.edu

Bryna R. Coonin (Member, July 1, 2013, to June 30,

2015) cooninb@ecu.edu

Liane E. Elias (Member, July 1, 2013, to June 30,

2015) leelias@uncg.edu

Rachel Ondine


Ellen Keith

(Member, July 1, 2014, to June 30,

2016) rachel.jorgensen@gmail.com

(Member, July 1, 2013, to June 30,



Laura McClanathan (Member, July 1, 2014, to June 30,

2016) lauramcc@ucsc.edu

Morgan M.


Rayette Sterling

(Member, July 1, 2014, to June 30,

2016) momontgomery@claflin.edu

(Member, July 1, 2013, to June 30,



III. Committee Communications


Our committee’s spot at ALA Connect is http://connect.ala.org/node/64619

 This is the official archive for our committee – we keep meeting notes, progress statements, goals, anything we want to pass on to the future members of the committee.

 We can create posts and make them public. It can be a place for others to come to and make comments or download files.

 Not great for real-time conversation.

 It is possible to set up notifications in Connect so you will receive e-mail whenever anything is added to the committee’s space in connect. To set up notifications: i.

login to connect ii.

Click your name in the upper-right iii.

Select “edit my notifications” iv.

Check the box for each committee/group for which you want to receive notifications


Google Drive: https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B63OFQ9hZhhgRWZwRGc3V2hneVU&usp=sh aring

 Good for collaborating

IV. RSS and RUSA Communications



rusa-l email discussion list [send email to: listproc@ala.org

/ body of message: subscribe RUSA-I]


RSS a.

rss-l email discussion list [send email to: listproc@ala.org

/ body of message: subscribe RSS-I] b.

Rss on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/rss.rusa



RSS Review http://connect.ala.org/node/141373 d.

RSS Board Minutes: http://connect.ala.org/node/150793

V. Our Committee’s Charge

To identify and study issues relating to the education and professional development of reference librarians and library support staff; to encourage and promote effective professional development and training; to monitor, evaluate and promote the development of library school curricula for the preparation of reference librarians.

VI. Goals for 2013-2014

Based on e-mails and conversations, Jason has assembled what he thinks the goals for

2013-2014 were:


Create a professional development survey. a.

This was tabled


Create a professional development outcome and venue cheatsheet a.

Bryna suspects that the venue cheatsheet may have been a document for planning for a conference session. b.

Ellen noted that this was a document intended to list places to obtain continuing education. This was tabled in favor of the LIS Survey (Phase 1 of the State of Reference Education Project).


Create a list of places to promote RSS Prof Dev opportunities a.

Laura suggests that this list include social media. b.

Jason suggested we may want to retain this for our 2014-2015 goals


Complete Phase 1 of the State of Reference Education Project


Co-sponsor a webinar with CODES Reference Publishing Advisory Committee a.

This happened


Co-sponsor pre-conference workshop prior to Midwinter 2014 a.

This happened

VII. The State of Reference Education Project


Phase 1



Examine the website of each ALA accredited school to see if a general and/or subject specific reference course was offered. If a general course was offered, not whether it was a required or an optional course.


Files a.

List of ALA Accredited Programs: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B63OFQ9hZhhgWktfZTAwb05heW

M/edit?usp=sharing b.

Data from Phase 1 https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B63OFQ9hZhhgQjhMWVdDaEJRNG




We identified 59 schools that were ALA accredited as of December 2013. A general reference course was required (at least for one track) for 41 schools, optional for four, and could not be determined for the remaining schools.

Virtually every general reference course had the term “reference” or

“information” (often both) in the title. Subject specific reference courses

were less common, but might include electronic resources, humanities, social sciences, business, health sciences, law, or music.


Phase 2



Contact ALA accredited library degree programs for more in-depth information on their general/basic/introductory reference course (in terms of what exactly is being taught and what the goal of the course is) and ideally on their plan for their reference curriculum. Obtain course syllabi and determine the frequency with which courses are offered and the number of students taking them. a.

Laura noted that it seems that reference is being phased out as a term in titles of courses. b.

Rayette noted that reference skills are being taught in other courses but the word reference is not always being used. c.

Laura asked if we have a list of core competencies. i.

Jason noted that there is an article uploaded to our shared

Google Drive space titled “Identifying Core Reference



Progress ii.

Kris Johnson noted that RUSA has a document called

Professional Competencies for Reference and User Services

Librarians. It was published in 2003. a.

Liane contacted several schools and received responses from them.

She will e-mail those responses to Jason and he will put them into our

Google Drive space.


Discussion – How do we want to proceed with Phase 2? a.

Bryna noted that the methodology seemed a bit daunting. She explained that there was not clear agreement about how we were going to go about getting the information form library schools. b.

Laura volunteered to help with this work. c.

Ellen asked if they had agreed to have the person who gathered the phase 1 information for a program do the phase 2 follow-up for that same program. She noted that with having lost some members and


Discussion Forum at Midwinter 2014 having gained some new members, we would need to redistribute these duties. a.

Purpose of this was to gain more information from practicing librarians about what should be taught in library school in relation to reference.


Bryna noted that another purpose was to see what topics should be included as we moved forward. It was also for inclusion of a broader audience. b.

Jason uploaded a summary of this session to Google Drive and shared it via RUSA-L and RSS-L and a post in our committee’s space on

Confluence. c.

At the end of the forum we talked about doing another forum like this to continue soliciting information from our colleagues about what needs to be taught for general reference and subject-specific reference. d.

We also discussed potentially doing an online e-forum to gather information from other librarians.

VIII. Goals for 2014-2015


State of Reference Education Project: a.

Phase 1: Write an article for RUSA Q i.

Bryna noted that group articles can be time consuming, but are worthwhile. They take a lot of coordination.


She said if we don’t do an article, we should publish a summary of our findings.


Rachel asked if our committee has had any articles published in RUSA

Quarterly in the past.


Jason said he will do some investigating.


Jason suggested we make the goal more general “e.g., disseminate information about what we learned from phase 1.”


Pre-Phase 2: gather more insight into what needs to be taught in library schools. i.

Sponsor an asynchronous online discussion forum ii.

Sponsor an in-person discussion forum at Midwinter 2015


Rachel noted that she likes in-person discussion forums.


Jason noted that we could get on the schedule and promote it heavily and talk about what questions we want to modify from the forum at ALA 2014.


Ellen noted that she thinks we could get an LIS professor to attend the discussion forum and provide their insight. iii.

Laura suggested an in-person reference educator panel at ALA 2016 c.

Phase 2: i.

Ask ALISE for help soliciting information from library school educators. We can ask for their thoughts about what we should ask library educators.


Bryna noted that she has been a little worried about what exactly what we want to learn from library schools. She stated that we wanted to hear from them, but one of our main interests is having them hear from people in the work place regarding what reference skills are needed in employees. She is not sure how we would work this into the panel.


Jason noted that a publication could be a good way to get this information out to library educators.


Bryna suggested co-sponsoring a discussion forum with ALISE and with some librarians who have recently been involved in hiring new reference librarians. iii.

Jason will create a discussion in Connect for us to talk about how to proceed with phase 2.


Professional Development: a.

Collaborate with MARS on their survey about what members need for professional development.


Jason stated that he will contact the chair of MARS’ Professional

Development Committee to learn about the status of this survey.


Collaborate with MARS to develop a pre-conference workshop for Midwinter

2015 i.

Jason noted that he has not had any discussions with anyone about this. He said he will ask MARS’ Professional Development Committee about this.

IX. Future Meetings


Does Zoom work for everyone? a.

Everyone said yes


How frequently should we have meetings. a.

Monthly was the consensus


Jason said he will create Doodle Polls and send them out a few weeks in advance.

X. Next Meeting


We will flesh out our goals in more detail

XI. To dos

Jason Will:


Create a folder on Google Drive for sharing articles


Create a discussion about phase 2


Send a Doodle poll to schedule a meeting for October


Contact MARS Professional Development Committee to ask about status of their survey.


Contact MARS Professional Development Committee to ask about status of the

MARS/RSS joint pre-conference for ALA Midwinter 2015.


Contact ALISE to ask if they might be interested in co-sponsoring a panel discussion at ALA 2016


Investigate whether our committee has previously published in RUSQ


Upload the phase 2 responses Liane sends him to Google Drive.

Liane Will:


E-mail Jason the three responses she received from schools for phase 2.