Notes from the Chair

WESS Newsletter

Fall 2009, Vol. 33, No. 1

ALA Midwinter meeting in Boston is around the corner – January 15-18, 2010. I’m predicting bright, mild weather and looking forward to seeing many Wessies and friends Friday afternoon at the conference-launching WESS no-host membership event. Where? Keep an eye on the WESSweb wiki for up-to-date conference information.

Although this ALA meeting will be shorter by one day, the WESS schedule won’t be affected. As usual, there will be WESS meetings Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, ending at noon on Monday. Midwinter discussion group sessions will include a combined Special Topics and Social Sciences & History program on Mediterranean Studies, and a combined Romance Studies and Germanists program. Expect substance; expect to learn something you can use.

WESS programs at ALA Chicago 2009 were typically excellent and well attended. What a fantastic conference program — Situating Area Studies Librarianship in a Globalised World:

New Directions, New Collections — thank you Gordon Anderson and the Program Committee! Thank you, Laura Dale Bischoff, for your leadership as WESS Chair last year! WESS members, thank you for the engagement and commitment that make our work great! And corporate sponsors, we continue to be deeply thankful for your support.

WESS discussion groups meeting in Chicago offered more than discussion – the usual WESS high standard. Classical, Medieval & Renaissance offered a program with four speakers, “ePhilology”: A Discussion of Digital Technologies and Old Texts; Romance Studies featured four speakers on translation and translating Romance languages; Social Sciences & History with Special Topics presented on Primary Sources for European Colonial Studies, and Germanists on selected topics. All were substantive and useful sessions, according to all reports.

Meanwhile, even between meetings, WESS members are committed to working well with others. WESS is collaborating with the ACRL’s Literature in English Section on the 2010 ALA Conference program European Fiction in English Translation, which will be held Sunday June 27th, 3:30-5:30. An ad-hoc task force continues to study possibilities in closer ties between WESS and ACRL’s Slavic and East European Studies Section. Energetic WESS members continue to lead and develop global initiatives including the French and Francophone (CIFNAL) and Germanic (GRN) Global Resources Projects of the Center for Research Libraries. And WESS and LES are working together on a proposal for official liaison with MLA.

Who are WESS members? We’re interested in Europe; we are new librarians as well as old, I mean experienced bibliographers; we work for companies and for college, university and public libraries in North America and Europe; we meet each other at conferences and we travel together to book fairs. We teach, plan projects and programs, collaborate with faculty and colleagues, and procure and promote European research resources. And we welcome new colleagues.

Might you consider volunteering? Brian Vetruba, WESS Vice-Chair, soon will be sending out a call for volunteers for 2010/2011 committee positions. Please contact him to let him know your interests –

WESSweb wiki welcomes contributors and seeks editors for the German Studies and Dutch Studies sections. If you’re curious, contact Dick Hacken (hacken at

I’m looking forward to seeing many of you in Boston! Safe travels!

Sarah How