WESS and LES Propose Liaison between ACRL and the MLA

WESS Newsletter

Fall 2009, Vol. 33, No. 1

WESS and the Literatures in English Section (LES) of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) are co-sponsoring a proposal to request appointment of a liaison between ACRL and the Modern Language Association of America (MLA). If approved, a member of ACRL’s Council of Liaisons would represent ACRL to the MLA, enabling ACRL to partner with an additional higher education organization to develop best practices for managing, accessing, and utilizing information in all formats.

The benefit of a working relationship between ACRL and the MLA was mentioned in the very first issue of the WESS Newsletter in 1975, and there has long been an overlap in membership, interests, and projects between the two organizations. Educators and librarians share a vested interest in the accessibility, organization, and research of library and archival collections, as well as using these collections to enhance teaching and publishing. At American Library Association conferences, calls are regularly made for volunteers to assist in compiling the MLA International Bibliography and reports are made on its progress. Over the last four decades, librarians and academics have become increasingly interested in the use of computer technology for organizing and researching information, an area that the two organizations would benefit from exploring together.

It is time to formalize the relationship between ACRL and MLA to cement the complementary work of the two organizations so that they can better anticipate future developments in information organization and access. A petition has been submitted to ACRL’s Council of Liaisons, and several key members of both organizations have submitted letters of support for the action.

In addition, the MLA is currently considering the petition signed by its members (some of whom are also members of ACRL) to add a library special interest group within MLA. A successful working relationship between the organizations would improve scholarly communication while increasing the visibility and recognition of librarians and librarianship among leaders in higher education and information technology.

Rowena Griem & Sarah G. Wenzel
Rowena.Griem#Yale.edu & sgwenzel#uchicago.edu