2013 Fall – Personal & Institutional News

WESS Newsletter

Fall 2013, Vol. 37, No. 1

Column Editor: Richard Hacken

Website reading "Argentina: País invitado de honor"

Deb Raftus has a very long job title at the University of Washington. She now serves as “Romance Languages & Literatures Librarian, Latin American & Caribbean Studies Librarian, and Suzzallo Graduate Reference & Instruction Specialist Supervisor.” You should expect to see Deb more frequently at la FIL in Guadalajara and at SALALM meetings.

Deb now supervises five future librarians (currently enrolled in the UW Information School’s MLIS program), providing mentorship, training, and experience in academic reference and library instruction. Deb and her colleagues in the undergraduate library have created a robust new training program for the grad students, which begins with a bootcamp and ends with graduation, gainful employment, and happiness ever after.
Deb got the green light (and funding) to attend the Salon du Livre in Paris in March 2014. She will acquire materials in Paris, and continue to Rome and Florence for more purchasing and networking, and will conclude the trip with a visit to our friends at Casalini.

Deb is serving as Chair of the Collection Development Working Group of CIFNAL, and promises to “foster the growth of and increase access to French language print and electronic collections and lead to more effective collaboration among libraries.”

Deb is President of ACRL Washington and is currently busy organizing the 2013 ACRL Washington and Oregon Joint Conference. This year’s theme, “Taking Care: Ourselves, Our Users, Our Collections,” was inspired by a course Deb took recently with the UW iSchool’s David Levy. David Levy will be the conference keynote.

Reflecting the ever growing responsibilities of Western European subject specialists, Paula Carns of the University of Illinois Library at Champaign-Urbana recently added French language and literature to her suite of library duties for Western Europe. A scholar of medieval France, Dr. Carns is happy to have “come home.” Now she covers all of the languages and literatures of the region with the exception of the UK. As a bonus (and thanks to the linguistic legacy of colonization) she also covers the countries of of Latin America and the Caribbean.

In August 2013 Lidia Uziel joined the Harvard College Library as the new Librarian for Western Europe. Replacing Sebastian Hierl at that position, her responsibilities include primary collection development and related services within the Widener Library’s Collection Development Department for all materials originating in Western Europe (excluding the British Isles and Iberia), Hungary, Romania, and Albania. Lidia previously worked as the Librarian for Western European Humanities and Coordinator for Humanities Collections at the Yale University Libraries.

It is a long time since Michael Seadle worked with any collections, but he is very much involved with efforts in Germany to preserve collections digitally. The LuKII Project (“LOCKSS und KOPAL: Infrastruktur und Interoperabilität”) ends this month, but another project should (he hopes) start shortly to address national hosting needs. In other news Michael is chair of the Humboldt University‘s Kommission Wissenschaftliches Fehlverhalten (a commission to investigate accusations of scholarly misconduct), which is interesting work, but does take time.

Brigitte Doellgast. Goethe Institute, New York City is moving to –> Johannesburg.
In her own words:

Website of the Goethe-Institut in Johannesburg, South Africa

“After more than six years in busy, hectic, amazing, nerve-wrecking and wonderful New York City, I will be moving on and will continue my life as head of the library at the Goethe-Institut in Johannesburg, South Africa. I am really excited about this opportunity to add the African continent to my list of places. In the more than 20 years I have been working for the Goethe-Institut, I was already posted in Melbourne, Australia, Mexico-City and Athens, Greece. Due to the fact that my position has a regional element to it – meaning that I coordinate the activities of the Goethe-Institut libraries in a specific region – I am already looking forward to traveling the African continent.

“In German you would say that I am leaving “mit einem lachenden und einem weinenden Auge” – crying and laughing at the same time. Leaving New York City is of course very sad, but I feel extremely lucky and blessed to have had the opportunity to work and live in the Big Apple for such a long time. When I arrived in 2007, the Goethe-Institut was still in its beautiful townhouse opposite the Metropolitan Museum – now we are in a “cool” loft space in SoHo. We were able to realize some really great projects, such as the exhibition “Publishing in Exile”, the much talked about “German Traces NYC” mobile website, our yearly “Librarian in Residence” program and the wonderful and quirky “The End(s) of the Library”-project, which kept us busy for the last two years. Among the greatest experiences I had in my time here in New York was the opportunity to work together with so many great colleagues in all parts of the US. And of course attending the ALA conferences, mixing and mingling with the WESSies and enjoying the fabulous WESS cruises!

“There are great opportunities and challenges ahead for our library at the Goethe-Institut here in New York. We may be moving again to a new location in 2015 and don’t even get me started about the budget situation… Therefore I am truly excited that my successor is Elisabeth Pyroth, a colleague who has worked at the Goethe-Institut London for the last few years. Elisabeth has a great deal of experience working for the Goethe-Institut, and she has been in New York already, serving as head of our library in the early 90s.
“So if you want to continue to stay in touch with the Goethe-Institut New York, contact Elisabeth at Elisabeth.pyroth@newyork.goethe.org. If you want to stay in contact with me, I look forward to getting your e-mail at Brigitte.doellgast@johannesburg.goethe.org
“Farewell, hamba kahle, and tschüss,

“P.S. A great opportunity to see each other again would actually be IFLA 2015, which will take place in Capetown. Let me know if you are planning to attend!”

Dan Mandeville is fresh off a study abroad trip for University of Washington Information School students in Copenhagen.
Here is his report in first person narrative:

Image of a study abroad group of people in Denmark

This summer I had the fantastic opportunity to join a study abroad group from the University of Washington’s Information School (UW iSchool) for two weeks in Denmark. As a new librarian–with just barely over a year in the profession–I did not expect to get to travel abroad for work so soon, or for something other than an acquisition trip. My eyes have been opened to the possibilities afforded by such travel: personal and professional growth, collaboration with academic departments on campus, and building relationships with libraries overseas.

The 2013 iSchool Denmark Exploration Seminar was led by Trent Hill, lecturer in the UW’s Information School, during the interim between Summer and Autumn quarters. He has led a similar program in the Netherlands for the past several years, but decided to move the program to Copenhagen for 2013 due to some curriculum changes in the iSchool and a new partnership with the University of Copenhagen’s Royal School of Library and Information Science (RSLIS).

The program is four weeks long, and teaches iSchool students about instructional design and information literacy. Seventeen students from the UW participated–mostly MLIS students, but MSIM and Informatics were also represented–and were joined by four students from the RSLIS. I was able to get two weeks of release time from the UW Libraries to participate in the first half of the program, and sorted out travel and lodging with our Study Abroad office.

Before leaving for the trip, Trent tasked me with setting up group tours of various libraries in Denmark, some selected by him and others identified by me as potentially interesting. Never having played tour planner before, this was challenging. However, it turned out to be an excellent way for me to stretch my “cold calling” skills and reach out to librarians overseas, not to mention an opportunity to practice my somewhat rusty Danish. In the months ahead of the trip, I ended up arranging group tours of no fewer than seven libraries, including academic and public libraries, the National Library and a medieval manuscript collection.

I was able to work in a couple weeks’ vacation as a prelude to the work trip, and managed to visit some libraries in Finland and Sweden on my own time. This was a great way to prepare myself for the program-related tours in Denmark as well as to make some international connections beyond those established more formally through the program. I learned not to forget my camera to take pictures of the great spaces in Nordic libraries, and also got used to looking for the subtler differences in approaches to collections and services.

Once “on the clock” in Copenhagen, I found my services as local guide and interpreter at least as useful to the program as my presence as a working librarian. My familiarity with the language, culture, and geography of Copenhagen meant that my role as cultural attaché felt more like fun than work, but at the same time this contribution was highly valued by faculty and student participants in the program. I also continued to serve as the point person for the libraries with whom I had organized tours. For the in-class portion of the program, I prepared a lecture on instruction in academic libraries and served on a discussion panel about library instruction alongside Danish librarians.

I found much of value in participating in this program. I have a new network of Danish, Finnish, and Swedish librarians to turn to for insight, ideas, and future collaborations. Seeing such a variety of libraries and what they are doing with space, collections, and services was in many cases inspiring and made me wonder why we aren’t doing some of the same things: lockers for users, different signage in the stacks, ubiquity of self checkout, emphasis on comfort and play, etc., were all things I appreciated and intend to look into for the UW’s libraries. Dealing with some travel logistics was helpful in anticipating issues that might come up on future acquisitions trips. Finally, it was such a great opportunity to collaborate with academic faculty outside of my liaison area at UW, and, through both formal and informal interactions with students, to participate in the education and mentoring of future librarians, archivists, and information scientists.

I am lucky to have been supported by the iSchool, the Study Abroad office, and my colleagues and supervisory line at the UW Libraries in pursing this opportunity. I feel strongly that it will be worthwhile for more librarians to participate in these study abroad programs in the future, both for the libraries and for the programs themselves. I hope to put together a presentation for my colleagues later this year after I have time to synthesize my experience. Trent has already invited me to participate next year as well, and you’d better believe that I will do what I can to prove to the UW Libraries that it’s worth their while to send me again!
If you have any questions about my participation in this program, please contact me at dcman@uw.edu

Being in Europe in May and June for vacation with his wife, Jim Niessen of Rutgers University was able to take time out for two conferences to which he was invited in Hungary: the 7th World Congress of Hungarian Librarians (WCHL) in the Széchényi National Library in Budapest and the annual meeting (vándorgyűlés = wandering meeting, which is what the ALA is too, by the way) of the Hungarian Archivists’ Association in Esztergom. It never seems to bother the WCHL folks that Jim is not actually a Hungarian Librarian. He told the WCHL about Rutgers’ digital collection of the President’s Committee for Hungarian Refugee Relief. In Esztergom he presented a survey of “Archival Hungarica in the US,” a topic of great interest in Hungary today due to the Ithaka program (not to be confused with the American organization of the same name) that funds grants for the repatriation of diaspora collections. In the library and archives world, Hungarica are publications and manuscripts that originated in Hungary, were created by Hungarians, or are about Hungary or Hungarians. These Hungarica should be distinguished from the other Hungarica (singular = Hungarikum) that a law passed in 2012 defines as objects that “are worthy of distinction because they are characteristically Hungarian…etc.” For instance, Unikum liqueur is a certified Hungarikum.

NOTE: The following is an announcement of the International Dada Archive in very, very much of the wording and only very, very little of the slashes and dashes, and none of the irritating paragraph-margin affectations. Your Dada-challenged but nevertheless form-and-content-merging/step-pyramid-scheming column editor only mentions this fact in italics in order to honour pyramid-equipped Egypt and to avoid the plague of plagiarism:

DAda/Surrealism is a journal of the International Dada Archive at the University of Iowa Libraries in con/junction with the Association for the Study of Dada and Surrealism. The general editor and General/Editor of the journal is our WESSie-own leader-man-Chair Tim/Shipe. DAda/Surrealism, through and with the instru/mentality of Tim, has just issued issue number 19, devoted primarily to the theme “Wonderful Things”: Surrealism and Egypt.

With this issue, DAda/Surrealism, which was published from 1971 to 1990 as a print journal, is reborn as a peer-reviewed, free and open access electronic journal.
“Wonderful Things” presents a selection of essays on the historical situation of surrealist activities in Egypt as well as fresh inter/pretations of influences and diver/gences within surrealist activity in Paris and Cairo.

Following the pioneering work of the late Don LaCoss, this issue of DAda/Surrealism aims to contribute to the developing of under/standing and appreciation of the Egyptian con/text which, for example, nourished the extra/ordinary critical thinking of Georges Henein and the powerful poetic voice of Joyce Mansour. An inter/national base of contributors presents new work on the visual art, poetry, and politics of sur/realism in Egypt, as well as presenting new readings of the influence on those within the surrealist milieu of the perennially fascinating myth and imagi/native locus of Egypt, and, as the archeologist Howard Carter put it, its “wonderful things”.

Forthcoming issues of DAda/Surrealism will be devoted to Dada, Surrealism and Romania and to Dada and surrealist exhibitions. You can bet they (the fourth/coming issue/s) will re/flect Tim’s visits to Ro/mania over the past few years, where he cavorted intel/lectually with Dada pro/ponents and practitioners.

Banner reading "DAda/Surrealism"
Dada 2013

Four WESSies took their tools on the road to the German Studies Association conference in Denver on October 4 of this year. Their collective contribution, well attended by professors, librarians and independent researchers in German Studies, was entitled How to Stand Out! Insider Research Tips from German Studies Librarians. The topics ranged in delight from rare book libraries to digital resources, from hidden Germanic treasures in North America to medieval university matriculation books in Saxony to databases that dish out sassy sources to satisfy a researcher’s need. Lindsay Hansen (California State Northridge) was the moderator and roundtable leader, also reading a paper from Sue Waterman (Johns Hopkins), who was unable to be there in person. Other presenters were Julie Tanaka (Notre Dame), Brian Vetruba (Washington University in St. Louis) and Dick Hacken (BYU). There was — after all had been said but not yet done — a lively discussion and evidence of amazed gratitude from those who spent two hours learning new tricks of the academic trade. The general feeling was: “WESS should do this again, and in other venues and for other associations.” That’s where you, gentle colleagues, come into the picture: you could consider organizing or participating in such a rewarding happening.