RUSA/RSS Discussion Forums -Reference issues

Lead a discussion, see your name in print and find your way to stardom!  Submit a discussion forum proposal to the RUSA/RSS Discussion Forums Coordinating Committee.  Details are below.

Description:   The RUSA/RSS Discussion Forums Coordinating Committee is soliciting topic proposals for discussion at ALA’s 2014 Annual Conference in Las Vegas, NV, June 26 – July 1, 2014.  The purpose of the discussion forum is to provide a venue for reference practitioners to discuss reference related topics of current importance and to exchange ideas.   You know you love to talk about reference.  Here’s your chance to network with other reference fanatics!


What to Include in Your Proposal:

The following elements need to be addressed in your proposal:

         A clear, concise description of the discussion topic’s issues

  • Importance of the topic to reference librarians
  • At least three topic-related sample discussion questions that may be used to facilitate group discussion
  • Strategies and structure that will facilitate a lively discussion (In other words, describe your discussion forum format).  Note that the session is meant to be a discussion, not a presentation.  As such, no A/V equipment will be provided.  The requested room setup is Hollow Square, but could be anything, so flexibility is important.


Scope of Discussion Topics:  Proposed topics should have broad appeal.  Try not to limit your proposal to a specific type of library.   Topical categories can include, but are not limited to:

  • Frontline reference issues
  • Reference methods
  • Reference and information technologies
  • Assessment of reference
  • Management of reference
  • Research in reference

Your topic should be focused enough to be covered reasonably well within the allotted time (90 minutes).


Expectations for Discussion Forum Facilitators:

If your proposal is selected, you, or your designee, will serve as the discussion facilitator, leading the discussion and keeping things on track.  As the discussion facilitator, you must:

  • Be up-to-date and familiar with your discussion topic.
  • Choose a discussion format that allows for maximum discussion.  See our Tips for Discussion Forums ( for examples of possible formats.
  • Create a handout that provides a brief summary of the issue along with a few key references. (optional)
  • Maintain communication with the Discussion Forums Coordinating Committee throughout the planning, program, and follow-up processes.


Process:  The Discussion Forums Coordinating Committee will select 2 proposals for the 2014 Annual Conference.  Proposal topics will be evaluated on: impact, timeliness, relevancy, practicality (that the topic lends itself to a discussion), innovation, evidence of applicant’s knowledge, and clear focus. Proposals must be submitted by March 28, 2014 for ALA Annual in Las Vegas.  Proposal writers will be notified within 2 weeks as to whether or not their proposal was accepted. Facilitators are responsible for their own conference registration and travel expenses.


Forum Dates and Times:  The discussion forums have been scheduled for Sunday, June 29, from 1:00-2:30 p.m. and Monday, June 30, from 8:30 – 10:00 a.m., but the dates and times are not final until rooms are assigned.  If you have a preferred time slot, please include it in your proposal.


Who May Submit Proposals:  Proposals are welcome from any ALA member.


How to Submit:  Please read Tips for Discussion Forums ( before submitting your proposal.  Complete the proposal form located here:  

Deadline for submission is March 28, 2014.

Contact Crystal Lentz ( with questions. 


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