Notes from the Chair Fall 2012

WESS Newsletter

Fall 2012, Vol. 36, No. 1

Dear Colleagues,

Planning for the 2013 ALA Mid-Winter in Seattle is in full gear and after a flurry of emails and phone calls I am happy to share some details of things to come.

Libby Chenault (Research & Planning) has agreed to take on the task of exploring a program for librarians who have recently taken on Western European Studies collection development duties and have not yet connected with the WESS network of colleagues. We would love to repeat history as witnessed by the pre-conference report from 1997. If you can contribute to this planning activity, please come to the Research and Planning meeting at ALA Mid-winter or contact Libby Chenault.

Lidia Uziel (Romance Languages) and Libby Chenault (Germanist) will again collaborate on programming for a combined meeting. The series on e-books culminated at ALA Annual in Anaheim 2012 in a wonderfully informative meeting with panelists from Aux Amateurs de Livres, Casalini, Digitalia, Harrassowitz, Iberbook, and Touzot, who made formal fact-filled (and fun) presentations about the European e-book market. Energized by recent efforts of Kate Brooks, who started the ACRL Humanities Discussion Group, and by Deb Raftus, who started us on talking about Digital Humanities, the Germanists/Romance Languages will explore language-specific issues around identifying sources of text data and large text files for our researchers, including challenges we encounter in licensing e-books and working with digital libraries.

Marcus Richter (College and Medium-sized Libraries) and Anna Shparberg (Social Science and History) will work on a combined session; please be in touch with them if you have good ideas on local (Seattle) experts, projects, collections, sites, etc. that would make for an interesting presentation.

I want to extend a special welcome to two new-to-WESS (offices) librarians who have stepped up to lead two discussion groups: Mara Egherman (Scandinavian) who is planning a special tour for WESSIES at the Nordic Museum on Saturday, January 26, 2013, and Mara Degnan-Rojeski (Special Topics) who will be happy to hear about research-in-progress that could be presented at the Special Topics meeting. It would be wonderful to have a round robin of recent WESS grant winners (2011 – Mara Degnan Rojeski, 2010 – Timothy Robert Shipe, 2009 – Gordon Anderson, 2008 – Michelle Emanuel). From 1986-2011, this award was funded by Martinus Nijhoff International and later Coutts Information Services, an Ingram company, to mentor WESS librarians in their research endeavors. Please be in touch with Mara if this is of interest to you

Eileen M. Bentsen (Recruitment to the Profession), Kristen Totleben (Fundraising), Katie Gibson (Membership), and Tim Shipe (Publications) will hold a combined meeting of all four committees in Seattle, with some members contributing virtually. We are hoping that this new format will make it easier for committee chairs to coordinate efforts on behalf of WESS.

Ivan E. Calimano (Cataloging) and Colin Mc Caffrey (Classical, Medieval and Renaissance) deserve special recognition for agreeing to take another turn as conveners for their discussion groups.

Katie Gibson has put together Happy Hours and Socials for several Annuals and Mid-winter meetings; the Anaheim event this summer had record attendance and you can see pictures on the WESS Facebook page (like-like-like). Thank you Katie!!

Colin McCaffrey (Program Planning 2013) is working with LES and SEES to co-sponsor the special program at ALA Chicago in 2013 on “New Collaborations in the Digital Environment: Librarianship in European and American Studies.” Planning the big yearly program is probably the most challenging job within WESS. Planning starts a year and a half before the event and involves finding co-sponsors, writing a formal program proposal, identifying and contacting speakers, designing assessment, and putting together a website and a bibliography.

If you missed the program put together by Adán Griego and Claude Potts at ALA Annual in Anaheim on Documenting Sexual Dissidence and Diversity in France, Italy and Spain, you will want to check out the website, in particular the bibliographies. Tim Shipe is putting together a committee for the 2014 Program; please contact Tim if you are interested in contributing ideas for the program at the 2014 Annual Conference, Las Vegas, NV: June 26-July 1, 2014.

Another special thank you goes to Brian Vetruba and Gail Hueting (Study Grant) for their work on the WESS De Gruyter European Librarianship Study Grant. The grant supports research in European studies with an emphasis on librarianship, the book trade, resource documentation and similar information-science related topics. The grant was established in 2011 by ACRL and WESS, under the sponsorship of the Walter de Gruyter Foundation for Scholarship and Research Stiftung für Wissenschaft und Forschung.

Some WESS officers work hard behind the scenes year-round to lay the foundation for our WESS successes: Gordon Anderson (Nominating) is heading the effort of putting together a slate of candidates for elections. David Lincove (Secretary) and Jeff Staiger (Member-at-Large) will make sure that the general and executive meetings will run smoothly and will be duly recorded. Dick Hacken (Webmeister, yes, that is a technical term) and Jen Bonnet (WESS Newsletter) work on the WESSweb and publications. Gordon Anderson inspires (and haunts) us all with his work on Reference Review Europe. One item on the agenda for the membership meeting on January 28, 2013 is a discussion of how to use virtual meetings to allow more people to contribute to WESS. What resources does WESS have to have in place to help chairs and conveners to hold virtual meetings effectively? I would be happy to receive your thoughts on these issues.

The WESS meeting schedule for ALA Mid-Winter in Seattle 2013 will be announced in January. Please note that the meeting time slots have changed this year: meetings do not start until 8:30am, and the time blocks are a 1.5-hour and a 1-hour slot in the morning, and a 1.5-hour and two 1-hour slots in the afternoon.

The WESS schedule is enriched by associated meetings like GNARP and CIFNAL, Librarian Exchange, MLAIB, ACRL Digital Humanities, and more. Please note that GNARP and CIFNAL will hold virtual meetings at ALA Midwinter 2013; please use the CRL website to stay informed.

I want to thank the ACRL Staff Liaison, Megan Griffin, and ACRL Board Liaison, Mary Ann Sheble, for their time and expertise in support of WESS activities.

The vendors for materials from and about Western Europe contribute financially to many WESS activities and projects, but they also provide rigorous support for our collection development activities. Please read the minutes from various committee and discussion group meetings to find out about vendors giving presentations, funding activities, enabling retrospective purchasing in select or emerging research areas, integrating e-books into approval plans, educating us on platforms and licensing, working with us on offering foreign language databases scaled to US budgets and systems, hosting us for visits and tours abroad, and much more. I hope they know how much we appreciate the support and expertise they offer so generously.

Tim Shipe (vice chair/chair elect) is busy filling slots for committees and discussion groups for his term as chair in 2013-2014; contact Tim Shipe directly if you want to get involved. Needless to say that the best way to stay involved year-round is to subscribe to WESS-L; send an email to to subscribe.

As I look over my notes from ALA Annual I am grateful to be a part of this wonderful community of dedicated professionals; it would take many pages to talk about the many ways in which WESS members contribute. Let me conclude by thanking the most recent WESS chairs, Brian Vetruba and Gail Hueting, for all their hard work in creating and sustaining this community.

Heidi Madden, WESS Chair