ESS Conference Programs

See current and past conference meeting schedules for full ESS conference details. See below for information and accompanying documents on ESS conference programs and fora, as well as related workshops and programming sponsored by ESS.

ALA Annual 2024, San Diego

ESS Forum on translations from European minority languages

In this presentation Milan Pohontsch (Brigham Young University) will share his experiences in translating from a minority language. Subsequently, Milan will speak on experiments conducted on AI-based translations, specifically focusing on minority languages. The presentation will be followed by a panel discussion with Richard Hacken, a retired ESS member, Hans Kelling, a professor at BYU, and Milan Pohontsch. They will share their experiences in translation work and delve into the challenges that have arisen from it.


  • Milan Pohontsch
  • Richard Hacken
  • Hans Kelling

ALA Annual 2023, Chicago

ESS Forum on the War in Ukraine, ALA

Thanks to the generous donations from vendors, ESS was able to donate $2,000 to ALA’s Ukraine Library Relief Fund and $2,060 to the Saving Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Online (SUCHO).

The 2023 ESS Forum discussed the ongoing Russo-Ukrainian War, its effect on libraries in Ukraine, and matters of Ukrainian collections in academic libraries.


  • Oksana Brui is a Ukrainian librarian and a public activist. She worked at the Library of the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy and at the National Medical Library of Ukraine as a Deputy Director for IT. Since 2016, Oksana is the Director of the Scientific and Technical Library of the National Technical University of Ukraine, Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute. Oksana received her first education at a pedagogical university. Oksana also received a master’s degree in Health Care Management for Executives and PhD in social communication (librarianship). She is the author of about 20 publications, more than 15 handbooks and two Massive Open Online Courses for librarians. Main sphere of her professional interests: strategic management, open science, knowledge management, IT in libraries. She implements business management approaches and tools into Ukrainian libraries daily work. One of the authors of The Strategy of Development of Ukrainian Libraries for 2017-2025. Since 2018, she has been the president of the Ukrainian Library Association.
  • Ulia Gosart (Popova) was born in Ukraine and attended a library program at Kiev National University of Culture and Arts. She holds advanced degrees in library and information science, and has training in human rights through her postdocs. Her scholarly work emerged from her human rights advocacy. She worked on the revival of the post-war Kosovo library system in the early 2000s, and currently focuses on reconstruction and digitization of Ukrainian public libraries affected by the war.
  • Ksenya Kiebuzinski holds an M.I.S (SUNY at Albany, 1988), M.A. in Women Studies (Brandeis, 1999) and Ph.D. in Literary Studies (Brandeis, 2002). Prior to joining the University of Toronto Libraries, she served as Jacyk Bibliographer at the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute (1991–2006). Presently, she is Head of the Petro Jacyk Central and East European Resource Centre and Slavic Resources Coordinator at the University of Toronto Libraries. She also co-directs (with Professor Lucan Way) the Petro Jacyk Program for the Study of Ukraine, and coordinates the Ukraine Research Group, at the Centre for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies. Her research interests include bibliography, the history of the book and library collections, Austrian Galicia, and 19th-century French culture.


European Language and Area Studies Workshop for Librarians

Friday, June 23 2023, Newberry Library, Chicago

The full-day workshop was designed to assist librarians who are responsible for collection building, liaison work, and other services in European Studies. Presenters covered publishing trends in Europe, provided region-specific reference services, and gave tips for getting up to speed quickly as librarian liaisons assigned to support an array of disciplines from this linguistically and culturally diverse area of the world.


August 2022

ESS Webinar, The Alliance for Black Justice in Poland: Updates on the Crisis for Refugees of Color from the War in Ukraine 

Monday, August 15th, 2022, at 9am PT/10am MT/11am CT/12pm ET/6pm CET 

Since February 24, 2022, millions of refugees have fled the war in Ukraine and headed to neighboring countries such as Poland. When this crisis began, there were no organized governmental support plans in place to help and private organizations arose to deal with the unprecedented influx of human beings in need. No one knew what the next few months would bring. Non-Ukrainian citizens, particularly those of color, confronted additional discrimination and racism as they attempted to cross national borders and seek assistance. Six months into this crisis, much about the situation remains unstable. Practical issues remain unsolved, particularly for students of color currently residing in Poland, such as long-term financial support and shelter, continuing access to healthcare and education, and more.  

The Alliance for Black Justice in Poland formed in the weeks immediately following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Seeing the reports and hearing first-hand accounts of the unequal treatment that many people of color, particularly Black and Brown people, were experiencing as they sought to escape the war, the group organized to respond to the specific needs of Africans fleeing Ukraine by providing immediate support and relief, including help with transport from the border areas to cities throughout Poland or to neighboring countries; advice on the process of legalizing their stay in Poland (including applying for temporary permits, advising on other relevant documents and procedures); accessing safe accommodation; material aid such as food and clothing; help with accessing health care and a range of other basic services.  

Margaret Amaka Ohia-Nowak, who is the co-founder of the group, will speak about its continued efforts to support people of color. Since the mass evacuations from the border ended, the need for support has shifted from emergency interventions to more long-term support as people decide to stay in Poland or have moved on to another country (e.g., where they have family, know the language, found employment or a university that accepts them). Direct aid now focuses on three key areas:  

  • Legal aid, including a wide range of support related to applying for temporary stay, employment permits, university studies.  
  • Access to accommodation, especially securing longer-term accommodation.  
  • Welfare/integration support, which includes continuing with material aid when needed, helping with access to basic services (health care, schools for children), and increasingly pro-actively organizing events and opportunities that allow people to get to know each other and Poland as well.

The Alliance continues to provide support to people of color and people of African descent in the long term. The need for support will change over time, but the vulnerable position of people of color in Poland in general will continue to require dedicated support that is attentive to their particular cultural, linguistic, and social needs. 

June 2022

ESS Forum: Decolonising and Diversifying Collections

The 2022 ESS Forum on 26 June at 1:00 EST, hosted jointly by the Conference Programme Planning and Research and Planning Committees, featured three speakers: Jos Damen, Head of the Library and ICT Department at the African Studies Centre, Leiden University (NL), Gerard Koskovich of Queer Antiquarian Books, and Margarita Nafpaktitis, Curator for Slavic and East European Collections, of Stanford Libraries. The forum addressed decolonisation and diversification in libraries. Speakers discussed the definitions of these concepts, how the concepts apply to library collections, how vendors figure in their application, and what barriers librarians face to develop collections that address these topics.


  • Jos Damen is Head of the Library and ICT Department at the African Studies Centre, Leiden University (NL) and is in charge of policy, planning and operations. He is a member of the ASCL’s Executive Board and vice-director of the ASCL. Damen has worked in 4 very different libraries during several decades. He has published dozens of articles on library matters. At the African Studies Centre he stimulated open access publications and new databases (+app) containing  publications from Africa. He also pioneered in Wikipedia (900k edits), e.g. with uploading thousands of Africa photographs (1930s-2010s) to Wikimedia Commons. The recent Collection Plan of the Leiden Africa Library strives for 75% of new book acquisitions coming from Africa.
  • Gerard Koskovich is a book dealer and public historian who divides his time between San Francisco and Paris. He works in particular with university, research and special collections libraries to develop their holdings of LGBTQ, gender and sexuality materials with a notable focus on France and Western Europe. A founding member of the GLBT Historical Society in San Francisco and a member of the Collectif Archives LGBTQI in Paris, Koskovich has been active in the movement to create LGBTQ archives and museums for four decades. He has curated numerous exhibitions and has presented and published widely in English and French. Koskovich is a full member of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America and a life member of the Committee on LGBT History. (More about Gerard and the ABAA.)
  • Margarita Nafpaktitis is Curator for Slavic and East European Collections at Stanford Libraries.
    • As the Slavic and East European collections librarian, the geographic scope of the collections I curate includes Poland, Russia, Ukraine, and many other countries in East Central and Southeast Europe (including Greece). I select materials for research and instruction published in and about these regions in new and old formats, in subject areas including literature and linguistics, cultural studies, history, social sciences, fine and performing arts, and popular culture. I also consult and collaborate with students and faculty to help them find the materials that they need for their research and their teaching.

April 2022

Refugees of Color from the War in Ukraine: At the Polish Border and in Poland

Thursday, April 28, 2022 9:00AM (PT) / 10:00AM (MT) / 11:00AM (CT) / 12:00PM (ET) / 6:00PM (CET) via Zoom

Europe is in the middle of a large-scale humanitarian crisis with millions of refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine, with no organized governmental support plans in place to deal with these overwhelming numbers. Non-Ukrainian citizens, particularly those of color, face additional discrimination and racism as they navigate available assistance and attempt to cross national borders to seek refuge. Having experienced several levels of discrimination whilst crossing the borders between Ukraine and Poland, these non-Ukrainian people of color have not received substantial assistance in terms of their livelihood, including their education. Beyond their unsavory experiences whilst fleeing the war, the practical issues of where to live, access to healthcare, and the continuation of their studies remained serious concerns for almost all students of color currently sojourning in Poland. Whilst there has been progress in securing temporary food supplies, residence permits, and shelter for these people, many are shocked and distressed about recent events and many are experiencing financial difficulties as a direct result of the war.

Margaret Amaka Ohia-Nowak, a Polish-Nigerian woman academic, human rights activist and cross-cultural training facilitator, will be speaking to us about the situation in Poland and at the Polish border for people of color in Ukraine. Since the first day of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, she has been partnering with local grassroots organizations, academic networks, NGOs, the African diaspora network, and individual volunteers to support Black people and other non-Ukrainian people of color fleeing Ukraine and to find shelter for them in Poland or elsewhere in Europe. She is a co-founder and Collaboration Lead at the Alliance of Black Justice in Poland, a group of organizations based in Poland and created by Poles of African descent and their allies, to provide immediate relief for Black and Brown people fleeing the war in Ukraine.

November 2021

ESS Round Table on Understanding the Black European Research Landscape (2 hours) 

12 November 2021 – 9:00AM PT/10:00AM MT/ 11:00AM CT/ 12:00PM ET / 5:00PM GMT via Zoom

In August 2021, ESS hosted a two-session workshop as a follow up to the June 2021 ESS Forum on “Researching the Black European Experience.” The ESS Forum introduced the challenges of searching for information about Black Europeans in both European and North American contexts. In the August workshop, ESS members worked with scholars specializing in Black European research questions to begin creating Black European Research Guides for the ESS website. 

In this November 12th round table, we are continuing the discussion by inviting our European vendors to introduce their perspective on building research collections related to the Black European communities and experiences in Europe. We are interested in understanding the current Black European research landscape as reflected in European publishing and distribution channels. For example, how do European vendors seek out materials related to the Black European experience in the regions/areas/languages they represent? How do they identify and acquire small press materials from communities of color throughout Europe?

August 2021

ESS Hands-On Workshop for Black European Research Resources (Sessions 1 & 2)

Aug. 6 & 20, 2021
Registration and more info

The ESS Forum in June 2021 on “Researching the Black European Experience” introduced the challenges of searching for information about Black Europeans in both European and North American contexts. Vast amounts of primary and secondary sources exist that are related to the Black European experience, but special skills and insight are needed to track them down. In addition to scholarly articles and monographs and materials in university collections, important research data await in government records, foundations, Black organizations, and a wide array of public and private archives throughout Europe.

One of the goals of ESS is to create and maintain research resources that are practical and useful, particularly in supporting research into European topics. In the two sessions of this hands-on workshop, ESS members/research librarians will work with scholars specializing in Black European research questions to create Black European Research Guides for the ESS website.

This workshop for librarians and information professionals will consist of two 2-hour sessions, with two weeks for each small group to work independently on research guides for their topic. Please indicate your topics of interest and the dates of your availability in the form below.

2021 ESS Virtual (June)

Resources for Supporting Research into the Black European Experience 

The European Studies Section (ESS) of the ACRL invites you to a virtual discussion about research into the present-day Black European experience on June 22, 2021, at 9:00AM PT/10:00AM MT/ 11:00AM CT/ 12:00PM ET / 5:00PM GMT. Our speakers will present their work, followed by a Q&A addressing important questions such as the following: How can North American research librarians support scholars and students who want to learn more about the Black European experience and do so in respectful and responsible ways? How are the experiences of communities of color reflected in libraries and archives in Europe?


  • Natasha A. Kelly has a PhD in Communication Studies and Sociology with a research focus on visual communication, colonialism and feminism. Her new book Mapping Black Europe: Monuments, Markers, Memories will be published in 2022.
  • Stephen Small, PhD, is a professor in the Department of African American Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, where he has taught since 1995. His most recent book is 20 Questions and Answers on Black Europe (2018). He is co-editor of Black Europe and the African Diaspora ( with Darlene Clark Hine and Trica Danielle Keaton) (2009), and is the author of Living History: The Legacy of Slavery in the Netherlands (Amrit/NINsee Publishers, The Hague, 2012). He was born and raised in Liverpool. 


2020 ESS Virtual (June)

ACRL LES/ESS Online Discussion Forum on OERs: National and International Perspectives

Jointly sponsored by the ACRL European Studies Section (ESS) and the Literatures in English Section (LES), this panel will discuss Open Educational Resources (OERs) from European and North American perspectives.  Speakers Jessie Ransom from Ex Libris and Elena Sánchez Nogales from the BNE will address current trends in OERs across Europe and the Anglosphere, and will speak to the challenges they pose to provide high-quality materials in a wide range of subjects, respect copyright and publishing, and integrate OERs into collections and teaching.  Librarians looking to raise awareness of OERs and to lead their adoption in their libraries and communities will benefit from this deep discussion on OERs from the perspective of research and teaching literatures and European studies.

2019 ALA Annual (Washington, D.C.)

ACRL ESS Forum: Digital Humanities: A Pan-European Perspective

The European Studies Section, in collaboration with colleagues from Library of Congress and support from the Digital Scholarship Section, will feature a panel of digital humanities (DH) experts to discuss international trends, ongoing projects and initiatives in European Studies, as well as perspectives from researchers in the field. 

In 1949, Robert Busa and his team of researchers initiated their landmark project, Index Thomisticus, to study the vast corpus of Thomas Aquinas. This transformative project introduced the application of computational tools and methods in the humanities. Since its completion, scholars from around the world have explored new ways to incorporate and interpret digital tools in teaching and learning environments.  The exploration of digital humanities in relation to these environments has unlocked new avenues to promote research collections and humanities scholarship across world regions, languages, and cultures. This prolific growth in digital humanities poses significant challenges and opportunities for research institutions. Although digital humanities as a subset of digital scholarship is often cited and discussed, its global diversity and scope remains under-researched and requires critical attention from libraries and information professionals. The goal of this program is to raise awareness and increase collaboration among DH librarians and educators in European Studies. 


  • Edward Vanhoutte (University College of London Centre for Digital Humanities) 
    Edward Vanhoutte is Editor-in-Chief of LLC: The Journal of Digital Scholarship in the Humanities , a Research Associate of the University College of London Centre for Digital Humanities (UCLDH), and the former Director of Research and Publications in the Royal Academy of Dutch Language and Literature – KANTL (Gent, Belgium) [2000-2013]. He is the editor of ten (digital) scholarly editions, the co-editor of the DALF Guidelines for the Description and Encoding of Modern Correspondence Material, and the co-author of TEI by Example, His research interests include textual scholarship, (digital) scholarly editing, genetic editing, text encoding and the markup of modern manuscript material next to his overall interest in the history of the field now called the Digital Humanities. He publishes, lectures and blogs widely on these subjects. Among his most recent publications is the book Defining Digital Humanities, co-edited with Melissa Terras and Julianne Nyhan [Ashgate, 2013] which was published in Russian in 2017 and in Chinese in 2019. He is also a food writer and owns a spirits business, The ADURO gin brand and the Bruges Gin Club Gin Bar & Store. See or follow him on Twitter @evanhoutte. 
  • Abigail Potter (Library of Congress) 
    Abigail Potter is a Senior Innovation Specialist with the Library of Congress Digital Innovation Lab. She’s currently working to support new and creative uses of the Library’s digital collections that engage diverse audiences. She and the Labs team also pilot new technologies and methodologies that help to realize the Digital Strategy. Since joining the Library of Congress in 2006, Abigail has contributed to launching a public volunteer transcription program By the People, the launch of the Library of Congress Labs site, and was co-chair of the Digital Scholarship Working Group. She also contributed to the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP), the National Digital Stewardship Alliance (NDSA), the Section 108 Study Group, the Preserving Creative America initiative, and the International Internet Preservation Consortium (IIPC). Prior to joining the Library, Abigail worked on digital publishing and library programs at National Public Radio, the University of Michigan Library, The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, and the University of Michigan Press. Abigail earned an MS in 2005 from the University of Michigan, School of Information and a BA in 1999 from Western Michigan University. 
  • Glen Worthey (Stanford University) 
    Glen Worthey has been Digital Humanities Librarian in the Stanford University Libraries since 1997, and was a founding director of the Libraries’ Center for Interdisciplinary Digital Research (CIDR). He hosted the international “Digital Humanities 2011” conference at Stanford, and served as Secretary on the International Steering Committee of the Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations (ADHO), as a convener of ADHO’s “DH in Libraries” Special Interest Group, and as co-Chair of the international program committee for the DH2018 conference held in Mexico City. Glen’s work is focused on the selection, creation, and curation of digital resources for humanities research and teaching at Stanford, and he is a founding member of the Stanford Literary Lab. His academic background is in Russian literature (in which he is ABD at the University of California, Berkeley) 

2018 ALA Annual (New Orleans)

Zine Cultures as Critical Resistance: A Hands-On Workshop to Build Community Engagement and Student Learning

A panel of zinesters, zine librarians and cultural scholars will convene a conversation addressing critical practices of literary and artistic resistance within zine cultures. Zines as a medium and platform are texts of subculture that resist dominant social hierarchies in favor of self-made and independently circulated ideas, distributed among community-based networks, and published outside of traditional publishing structures in many different parts of the world.

This Literatures in English Section and European Studies Section co-sponsored program will include a hands-on zine workshop where attendees will create and contribute to a zine resources page that relates to critical scholarship, resistance, and political action in our everyday lives. This panel will also discuss European zine makers and legacies of political resistance and revolution through art and literature. The program is also cosponsored by the Zine Pavilion, a volunteer-run space in the conference exhibit hall featuring a small zine library as well as zinesters from the local community selling their creations. The zine pages created by attendees will be assembled together into a compilation zine that will be distributed during the annual conference at the Zine Pavilion.


  • Lydia Willoughby, Research and Education Librarian, State University of New York at New Paltz
  • Kelly McElroy, Student Engagement and Community Outreach Librarian, Oregon State University


  • Ziba Zehdar-Gazdeck, Young Adult Librarian, Baldwin Hills Branch – Los Angeles Public Library
  • Daniela Capistrano, Founder & Director, POC Zine Project and DCAP Media LLC
  • Ann Komaromi, Associate Professor, Center for Comparative Literature, University of Toronto
  • Mark Yoffe, Librarian for Russia, Eurasia, Central and Eastern Europe, George Washington University

WESS Conference Programs 1998-2017