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Business Reference and Services Section (BRASS) | The American Library Association Archives

Name: Business Reference and Services Section (BRASS)

Historical Note:

BRASS is the latest of a series of groups in ALA representing the needs of the business reference librarians. A predecessor was the Business and Technology Reference Services Committee of the Reference Services Division; it first appears in the 1957 ALA Bulletin, with the charge "To encourage development of the reference function in this subject area, stimulating and undertaking publications in the field, and aiding in conference programs in this field of interest" (1). In the following year, the committee appears in the Bulletin with a new name -- the Science, Technology and Business Committee (2). Considered to be as cumbersome as its name, the business-related interests were given their own committee, the Business Reference Services Committee, by RASD in 1964 (3). An offshoot of the Committee, the Business Reference Discussion Group, formed in 1986 and was vital in invigorating the activities of the committee (4). Upon petition of a subcommittee of the Business Reference Services Committee, the RASD Board of Directors granted section status to BRASS on June 27, 1987 (5).

BRASS "represents the subject interests of reference librarians, business information specialists, and others engaged in providing business reference/ information services. The section seeks to serve as a medium for the sharing of information and concerns among interested librarians, publishers, and other suppliers of business reference sources and through its program and projects to help improve the sources and techniques of business reference and information" (6).

Organization (as of 1988-89)

1 - Executive Committee

2 - Business Reference in Academic Libraries Committee

3 - Business Reference in Public Libraries Committee

4 - Business Reference Sources Committee

5 - Conference Program Committee

6 - Nominating Committee

7 - Publications (ad hoc committees)

8 - Discussion Groups

Business Reference Services


1. ALA Bulletin 51 (1957), p. 861.

2. ALA Bulletin 52 (1958), p. 856.

3. ALA Council Minutes, 1965 ALA Annual Conferences, p. 103.

4. Gerald Gill, "Business Reference: Reaching Out for the BRASS Ring," RQ 27 (Winter 1987), p. 172.

5. Ibid.

6. ALA Handbook, 1988-89, p. 126.

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