Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

BRASS at 25: A Quarter Century of Memories from the Business Reference & Services Section

Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

BRASS at 25: A Quarter Century of Memories from the Business Reference & Services Section

Article excerpt

In 2013, the Business Reference and Services Section (BRASS) celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary as a section of the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) of the American Library Association. Mary Gaylord and Gerald Gill documented the origins of BRASS back to 1964 to the Business Reference Services Committee of RASD (Reference and Adult Services Division--the predecessor to RUSA). The Committee hosted programs approximately biennially and published occasional bibliographies. By 1986, program attendance had reached over 400. At the Midwinter 1986 meeting, the Business Reference Services Discussion Group was formed and met for the first time. At the 1986 Annual Conference, a subcommittee drew up a petition for formation of a section. On June 27, 1987 the RASD Board of Directors established BRASS. (1)

BRASS exists because of its many volunteers. The elected members (chair, vice-chair/chair-elect, past-chair, secretary, and three members at large) serve on the BRASS Executive Committee. Serving as BRASS secretary were Diane Strauss, Alice Littlejohn, Wendy Diamond, Leslie Hass, Tom Diamond, Lucy Heckman, Michael Oppenheim, Stacey Marien, Ann Fiegen, Mary Gilles, Christy Donaldson, Suzanne Sweeney, and Julia Martin. Serving as member at large were Rita Costello, Robert Rose, Judy Nixon, Susan DiMattia, Timothy Dixon, Linda Becketti, Susan Strehl, Barbara Butler, Robert W. Sears, Kelly Janousek, Susan Goshorn, Joanne Kosanke, Carol Krismann, Irwin Faye, Glenda Neely, Bill Kinyon, Jennifer Boettcher, Lynn Westney, Mark Andersen, Linda Dausch, Patricia Kenly, Greg Fleming, Chris LeBeau, Susan Neilson, Suzanne Sweeney, Kevin Harwell, Diane Campbell, and Rebecca Smith. The first past chair was Mary Gaylord who chaired the Discussion Group when the section was formed. Section chairs are presented in table 1. In its initial year as a section, BRASS consisted of an executive committee, the Business Reference Sources Committee, two program committees, two nominating committees, an ad hoc publications committee, and the discussion group. (2) The 2012-2013 BRASS roster listed the executive committee, one ad hoc committee, ten regular committees, five award committees, four support positions, twelve representatives, and the discussion group.

I had the honor of being the "middle child" of BRASS as the thirteenth elected chair of the section and am considered by many as the link between the "Old BRASS" and the new. While I have been active in various organizations, BRASS has always been my home and family within ALA. I have seen committees come and go, major partnerships with publishers enhance what BRASS can offer its members, interesting programs, discussion groups, and forums but the members are the heart of BRASS and what has kept me involved. I always look forward to the BRASS dinners and anniversary celebrations as a chance to see fellow business librarians as well as those who may not have remained business librarians but come back each year. This article could be easily filled with just my own fond recollections. One of my most memorable conferences was in Toronto for the 15th anniversary during the SARS scare. I received a phone call from the program chair, Lisa O'Connor, to fill in for a speaker at the last minute on a topic with which I had virtually no experience and for which the speaker had not provided a speech. I was also asked to not only cover the American side of business planning but the Canadian as well! At the same conference, I rushed to a grocery store to purchase a cake for the anniversary and had to pay more to cut the cake (a conference requirement since at a conference facility) than the cake cost. I chaired the planning committee for the 20th and served on the anniversary committee for the 25th and in both cases served as the go to person for reaching out to our "dignitaries" (many took part in this article). It was a delight catching up with old friends. BRASS provided countless leadership opportunities and sharpened my organizational skills. …

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