Scandinavian Discussion Group Minutes – 2005 Annual

ALA Annual Meeting, Chicago

WESS Scandinavian Discussion Group
Sunday, June 26, 2005
8:30 – 10:00am
Palmer Hilton Hotel, Dearborn 1


I. Welcome and introductions

  • The Chair opened the meeting with a hearty welcome to the ten colleagues attending. After a round of introductions, members reported on relevant news from their institutions.

II. News from institutions

  • Indiana University will start a program in Norwegian next fall.
  • Each spring quarter the University of Chicago will have a visiting professor of Scandinavian Studies in residence. The University of Chicago will also embark on the construction of a high-density storage and retrieval site on the campus next to Regenstein Library.
  • The Danish Immigrant Museum, Elk Horn, Iowa, will bring up a new version of their web site, it is hoped by late summer. The site will feature content about Danish immigration and indexes to some of the Library’s materials. (The Museum was a featured topic on the agenda of the Group’s meeting at ALA Midwinter in Philadelphia.)

III. Featured speaker

  • Our featured speaker was Jeff Sundquist, Associate Librarian, Share Print & JSTOR Archive, UCLA Libraries, speaking on “Building connections and collections: an American librarian in Denmark,”
  • After finishing his MLS from UCLA in 2003, Jeff applied for and was awarded a Fulbright grant for his project, a year-long internship at the Statsbiblioteket, Aarhus, Denmark, during the 2003-2004 academic year. In close cooperation with the staff from the State and University Library, Jeff crafted a program of training and work in cataloging, collection development, and related projects, all accompanied by study in Danish language and culture.
  • As a depository library, the Statsbiblioteket receives at least one copy of every Danish imprint. Therefore, collection development focuses on imprints in other languages other than Danish. Subject bibliographers do not have a library degree but rather have a university doctorate in their subject areas. As in other parts of Europe, a Danish library degree is not a university degree. Librarians complete four to five years of training in a professional training school, and once employed, they are responsible chiefly for the library’s operations. This work might be considered to be comparable to the work that library assistants in the United States perform.
  • The Statsbibliotket uses a modified Marc-records system (which Jeff whimsically referred to as “DanMarc”). Because the library has closed stacks, subject classification is not necessary, and subject headings in records are not used either. Small departmental libraries exist throughout the university, but the library serves as the locus of collection and access.
  • Jeff worked primarily with the subject bibliographers and was given charge of the theater collection, which had not had a selector for several years. He was given a budget and the opportunity to build the collection in various areas. Following his return to the United States, Jeff has maintained contact with the Statsbiblioteket and continues to advise the Library on developing their collections in theater. Jeff’s website.

IV. Other business

  • Gordon will continue for one more year as chair of the Group. Jeff Hancks, special collections librarian at Western Illinois University, Macomb, graciously volunteered to serve as chair in 2006-2007.
  • The Group will meet once in 2005-2006 and will soon decide by electronic mail at which ALA the DG meeting that will take place. For 2006-2007, Midwinter at Seattle seems like an especially good time and venue.

V. Addenda

  • Visit to the American-Swedish Museum Center, 5211 North Clark Street, Chicago
    • Four of us from the group gathered after the Germanists meeting for a visit to the Swedish American Museum Center in the Andersonville district northwest of downtown Chicago. The Museum is located at 5211 North Clark Street (just north of Foster). The Museum staff showed us around and answered questions. The Museum has an impressive exhibit of the Swedish emigrant experience to Chicago, a section devoted to prominent Swedish-American business leaders in Chicago (for example, Charles R. Walgreen, originally from Göteborg, Sweden). Especially impressive and captivating is the Museum’s children’s center on the third floor, where children can participate directly in the Sweden-to-Chicago emigration experience in a number of simulated child-sized settings.
  • News from the 2005 SASS Conference
    • The 95th annual meeting of SASS was held at Portland State University (Portland, OR) on May 5-7. The hosting Nordic country was Denmark. Finn Hauberg Mortensen, Professor of Scandinavian Literature at the University of Southern Denmark, Odense, gave the keynote address: “Den lille Idas Røde Sko” (Little Ida’s Red Shoes). 2005 is the 200th anniversary of Hans Christian Andersen’s death.
    • Nancy Wicker of the University of Mississippi, Oxford, gave a tribute to Mary Swanson, highly respected art historian for many years at the College of St. Thomas in Minneapolis. Nancy announced that a commemorative session in Mary’s honor will be part of the 2006 SASS program at the University of Mississippi, scheduled for early May.
    • Mary Kay Norseng, President (2003-2005), welcomed Professors Thomas Salumets and Olavi Arens from the Association for the Advancement of Baltic Studies, They were guests of SASS at the Portland meeting. The Executive Council enthusiastically discussed their proposals for combined membership arrangements, jointly sponsored conferences, and other cooperation between the two societies.
      • The Aurora Borealis Prizes were awarded for the best graduate-student presentations at the 2004 meeting in Redondo Beach, California. Approximately twenty-five President’s Grants, ranging between $75 and $150 this year, were awarded to graduate students to help attend the conference.
    • The Society will celebrate its centennial in 2011. Visit the SASS website.

The meeting adjourned at 10:00 am.

notes provided by Jeff Sundquist and Mary Kay Norseng, condensed by GA
Respectfully submitted,
Gordon Anderson (with help from Nancy Boerner)
slightly corrected, July 20, 2005