RSS Chair Orientation Handout 2015

RSS Chair Orientation, 2015-2016
Your Responsibilities as a Committee Chair
● Time commitments. A chair should commit 2-4 hours per month to RSS work. This includes
responding to emails, attending meetings and communicating with your committee
● It is your responsibility to keep your committee’s webpage and ALA Connect page up-todate. Post updates as required to Connect regarding committee activities (goals, summary
of current activities, minutes, etc.). Be conscientious about maintaining a record of your
committee’s activities in Connect for current, future, and potential members as well as for
the section’s history.
● Lead and guide your committee’s work towards accomplishing annual goal(s). Chair all
meetings. Communicate regularly with your committee throughout the year.
● Schedule in-person and virtual meetings. Remember that RSS does not require attendance
or in-person meetings at Midwinter. Respond to the RSS Scheduler to schedule committee
meetings and/or discussion forums at the conference.
● Serve as a member of the RSS Board and attend RSS Board meetings.
● Attend the Open House/All-Committee Meeting at the Annual Conference in order to
inform visitors about the work of the committee and encourage new membership.
● Submit material four times a year for RSS Review.
● Make recommendations for committee appointments to the RSS Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect
after Midwinter.
● Be aware of RUSA and ALA policies. Committee chairs should examine the RUSA Guide to
Policies and Procedures available online in the “Our Association” portion of the RUSA
website. As a section of RUSA, RSS must comply with all divisional policies, and chairs
should familiarize themselves with the Guide. If you have questions, consult with the RSS
Executive Committee and/or RUSA Executive Director. You may also find the ALA Policy
Manual helpful.
2015-2016 Chair Calendar
July 24, 2015: RSS Review Deadline
Sept 14:
Committee Goals, Minutes, and Summary of Current Activities due
Schedule Virtual Midwinter Committee Meeting/In-Person Discussion Forum/In-Person
Midwinter Meeting
Oct 30:
Committee goals update 1. Add to what has been accomplished to the original Goals in
Connect to continue the thread
Nov 6:
RSS Review Deadline
Jan 2016:
Post Virtual Midwinter meeting announcement on RSS-L, RUSA-L and public post in
Hold Midwinter virtual meeting or meet at ALA Midwinter 2016 in Boston
Schedule Virtual Annual Committee Meeting/In-Person Discussion Forum/In-Person
Annual Meeting
Proposals for Annual 2017 Conference Programs due (Date not yet determined)
Feb 12:
RSS Review Deadline
Feb 16:
Summary of Current Activities and Minutes due
Respond to RSS Vice-Chair’s request for committee chair recommendation
April 11:
Committee goals update 2. Add to what has been accomplished to the original Goals in
Connect to continue the thread
If holding virtual Annual meeting: Post Annual meeting announcement on RSS-L,
RUSA-L and public post in Connect
May 9:
RSS Review Deadline
Hold Annual virtual meeting or meet at ALA Annual 2016 in Orlando.
June 23-28
Attend ALA Annual 2016 in Orlando. Saturday, June 25, attend the Open House/All
Committee Meeting and RSS Board Meeting I
Virtual RSS Board Meeting II—Date to be determined
July 29:
Committee Goals update 3, Minutes from ALA, and Summary of Current Activities due
Committee Meetings
You must have at least 2 committee meetings (January
and June). You are encouraged to schedule additional
meetings with your committee members as needed.
Best Practices
Send out agendas in a timely
manner for any meeting being
held & include meeting format
as well as technology needs as
they apply.
Set Firm Deadlines: When
asking for availability or
working on projects, give firm
deadlines. People have an
easier time responding &
completing work if there are
firm deadlines.
Remind, remind, remind: Send
ample reminders to your
committee members regarding
scheduled meetings AND
If less than half of the committee will be attending
Annual: You must alert the RSS chair by Feb 1 so that
the committee will not be included in the program
schedule and you must hold a virtual meeting in June.
Virtual Meetings: Use Doodle (
to find a time when at least 1/2 of your committee can
RUSA now has Adobe Connect for meetings or a TollFree Conference Line. Schedule meetings via RUSA’s
website here:
Due to ALA's open meeting policy, any meetings held
outside the in-person Midwinter Meeting or Annual
Conference meeting must be announced and posted
along with all of the details for attending to RUSA-L, RSSL, and in ALA Connect (marked as public), at least 2 weeks before the scheduled meeting.
Meeting Minutes
Committee minutes are for current and future members of the committee. They help record
action items and discussion points. They are essential for keeping track of progress and
enabling continuity in the section. Every meeting should have minutes posted in Connect. They
should include the discussion points, questions, and action items.
Post the minutes to the committee’s ALA Connect space within two weeks of the meeting
under the category Minutes. Set the minutes to “public” access.
Summary of Current Activities
Members of the RSS Executive Committee needs to continuously report on, market, and assess
the work of the section. The Summary of Current Activities enables them to get a quick
snapshot of the committee’s work and ensure that work is progressing.
The Summary should be 3-5 sentences long and succinctly summarize the work and plans of the
committee over the past several months. It should be posted as “public” in the committee’s
ALA Connect space under the category Summary of Current Activities. One summary should be
posted after the January meeting and the other after the June meeting. See calendar for exact
What’s the Difference between Minutes and Summary of Activities? Minutes contain the
details of each meeting, including discussion points, questions, and action items. The Summary
is a 3-5 sentence summary of activities and plans covering the last several months.
Your committee must be working on something – a program, a discussion, an online learning
opportunity, or a resource of some kind. Your committee must have at least ONE goal related
to a project and be working towards accomplishing it throughout the year. No more than 3
goals are needed. One is sufficient!
Your goal(s) are due after Annual (see calendar). They should be posted in Connect, as “public”,
under the category Goals. You are expected to report on your committee’s progress throughout
the year via Connect (see calendar) and in RSS Board meetings. The RSS Executive Committee
may request that your committee work on a special project related to its charge.
Chair Terms and Appointments
Chair terms are for 1 year with the possibility of another 1-year reappointment.
Reappointments are not automatic. Active chairs who have met their responsibilities will be
If you are rotating off the committee, please recommend a new committee chair by March to
the RSS Vice-Chair.
Committee Membership: Terms and Expectations
Expectations: We expect that all members will be active, participating members. Committee
work includes participating in email conversations, completing any work assigned or
volunteered, and making genuine effort to attend meetings. Although we do not require
conference attendance, we do expect committee members to participate in any virtual
meetings. Everyone on your committee is a full member. There is no distinction made between
virtual and in‐person (conference attendee) membership. Expect 1-3 hours per month for
committee work.
Appointments and Reappointments: Appointments are made in the spring and begin on July 1.
The Vice-Chair will contact you in the spring to confirm your roster and ask about
reappointments. Reappointments are not automatic. Let the Vice-Chair know if you believe a
committee member should be removed from the committee due to non-performance of
committee responsibilities.
Terms: Committee terms begin officially on July 1 (at the conclusion of the ALA Annual
Conference) and end on June 30. Terms are 2 years (ex., July 1, 2015 – June 30, 2017).
Members can have 2 consecutive 2-year terms on a committee (for a total of 4 years).
New Members: You will be informed of new committee members whose terms begin July 1.
Encourage them to attend your meeting at the Annual Conference, even though their term
hasn’t officially begun. Include them in your committee’s communication and make them feel
Visitors: A visitor is often a potential new member of your committee! Tell your visitor about
the committee’s activities and ask them about their interests. If they would like to become a
member of your committee, make sure to record their email address and have them get in
touch with the RSS Vice-Chair. HOWEVER, let them know there is a waiting list to be on RSS
Programs, Pre-Conferences, Discussions, Virtual Opportunities, OH MY!
To be truthful, it is not easy to get a program set for ALA. You need to be working at least 18
months in advance. The best policy is to be informed. Either by reading the following or by
asking for help from the Executive Committee. For more information, see the RSS Handbook
and Chapter 5 of RUSA Guidelines to Policies and Procedures. The RSS Executive committee
must approve all proposals for pre-conferences or programs at Annual Conferences, including
co-sponsorships “in name only”.
Proposals for programs at Annual 2017 are due in February 2016 (Date yet to be determined).
Fill out the RSS Annual Conference Program Proposal form available via the Connect RSS Board
page and email it to RSS Chair, Crystal Lentz ( Committees should
determine topics, potential speakers, co‐sponsors, etc., before preparing proposal. It is
understood that changes may be required thereafter.
RUSA’s six sections are competing for 10 program slots. As a result, we are also encouraging
RSS committees to consider alternatives to face-to-face programs. Alternatives include
discussion forums (not considered programs by ALA) and webinars. The RSS Executive
Committee will review all proposals by May 1, 2016. After the RSS Executive Committee
approves a program to be sent forward, it goes to the RUSA Conference Program Coordinating
Committee for final vetting and approval. At this point, a proposal can be turned down or
require modifications.
Annual Pre-conferences and Midwinter Institutes
A pre-conference for Annual 2017 needs to be approved by Midwinter 2016 by the RSS
Executive Committee and RUSA. An institute for Midwinter 2017 needs to be approved by
the RSS Executive Committee and RUSA by Annual 2016. At Midwinter 2016, deep dives will
be offered for the first time. Details are still being worked out, but it appears as though deep
dives will be ½ day interactive workshop-style sessions for groups of up to 25 that will be
eligible for CEU credits. The cost per attendee may be $75. Six broad topic areas have been
established based on member feedback and proposals will need to fit within one of them.
Information about how to submit a proposal for Midwinter should be available soon. While
preparing a proposal for a preconference, institute, or deep dive, please carefully consider if the
event will attract enough attendees. In the past we have had to cancel a preconference due to
low registration. Would a discussion or program suffice? Could it be offered virtually?
Your committee can designate a committee meeting time as a “Discussion Forum”. These are
informal sessions that may include discussion moderators, short presentations, breakout tables,
etc. Although RSS sponsors several official RSS Discussion Forums at Annual and Midwinter,
your committee is also welcome to coordinate a discussion. It may appear as a “meeting” in the
scheduler, but it can be titled and promoted as a discussion.
Committee Publication Proposals
The RSS Executive Committee approves all publications, except those intended for the
web. If your committee is considering creating a publication, inform the RSS Chair and the RSS
representative to the RUSA Publications Committee.
Committee Budget and Reimbursements
$1500 has been allotted to the RSS Section by RUSA. The Executive Committee will come up
with a plan on how proposals can be made for its use.
However, if a committee would like to request additional funds, it must be submitted by April
2016, for the RSS Board to discuss and the RSS Executive Committee to vote on. Then the vicechair will submit it for consideration for the FY2016-2017 RUSA Budget. Please ask Qiana
Johnson ( for the proposal submission form. Keep in mind, this
funding from this proposal will be available for the next year, in this case 2016-17.
During Annual Conference and Midwinter Meeting, the ALA Office offers support services,
including photocopying and computers. Photocopying for RSS committee business can be
charged to the RUSA account number, which can be obtained at the RUSA table or directly from
the RUSA Executive Director. This service usually takes about an hour.
RSS Executive Committee and RSS Board
RSS Executive Committee: (elected to positions noted):
o RSS Chair [elected]
o RSS Chair Elect/Vice Chair [elected]
o RSS Past Chair [elected]
o RSS Secretary [elected]
o RSS Members‐at‐Large (3) [elected]
o RSS Archivist [ex‐officio; non-voting]
o RSS Editor [ex‐officio; non-voting]
o RSS Scheduler [ex‐officio; non-voting]
o RSS Webmaster [ex‐officio; non-voting]
o RUSA Executive Director [ex‐officio; non-voting]
o RUSA President [ex‐officio; non-voting]
When an official vote is required, only the elected members of the RSS Executive Committee
may vote.
RSS Board: The Board includes the members of the Executive Committee, Committee
Chairs, RSS Representatives to RUSA Committees, and other appointed positions (i.e.
RSS Archivist).
Member-at-Large Committee Liaisons
Each committee has a member-at-large liaison that is available to answer any questions
throughout the year and will also maintain awareness of your committee’s goals and activities.
Committee Chair
Committee on Multilingual
Library Services
Erin Hvizdak, and
Margaret Bly,
Colleen Seale,
Anne Larrivee,
Don Boozer,
Discussion Forums
Cathay Keough,
Cathay Keough,
Education and Professional
Development for Reference
Bryna Coonin,
Don Boozer,
Evaluation of Reference and
User Services
Rebecca Graff,
Ellen Keith,
Health and Medical Reference
Laura Haines,
Arlene Weismantel,
Fatima Perkins,
Don Boozer,
Ellen Keith,
Cathay Keough,
Rebecca Jackson,
Elizabeth DeCoster,
Ellen Keith,
Ellen Keith,
Qiana Johnson,
Ellen Keith,
Elizabeth Kocevar-Weidinger,
and Cynthia Levine,
Qiana Johnson,
Laura Friesen,
and Neal Pomea,
RSS Chair, Crystal Lentz,
Ellen Keith,
Cathay Keough,
Communication and Teaching
at the Point of Need
Discovery Services
Job and Career Reference
Library Services to an Aging
Management of Reference
Marketing and Public
Relations for Reference
Nominations Committee
Recognition and Awards
Research and Statistics
Virtual Reference Services
(with MARS)
VR Tutorial Subcommittee
Ellen Keith,
Cathay Keough,
Don Boozer,
Don Boozer,
Adult Reference Services
Margaret Portier,
Cathay Keough,
2015-2016 RSS Contacts
Crystal Lentz
Qiana Johnson
Amy Rustic
Tom Reinsfelder or
Cathay Keough
Ellen Keith
Don Boozer
Lori Lauterbach
Jane Daugherty
Past-Chair/RSS Org & Planning Chair
Member‐at‐Large, RSS Scheduler
RSS Review Editor
2015-2016 RSS Representatives to RUSA and RUSA Contacts
Ellen Keith
Sarah Hammill
Valerie Neylon
Qiana Johnson
Kendra Nan
Qiana Johnson
Diana Shonrock
Bryna Coonin
Jane Daugherty
Cynthia Johnson
RSS Representative to RUSA Awards
RSS Representative to RUSA
RSS Representative to RUSA Access
to Information
RSS Representative to RUSA Budget
and Finance
RSS Representative to RUSA
Conference Program Coordinating
Chair, RSS Nominating/RSS
Representative to RUSA Nominating
RSS Representative to RUSA
Organization and Planning
RSS Representative to RUSA
Professional Development
RSS Representative to RUSA
RSS Representative to RUSA
Standards and Guidelines
Susan Hornung
Anne Houston
RUSA Executive Director
RUSA Vice President
RUSA President
Original by Liane Taylor, RSS Chair 2011-2012
Last Update July 2015