This text is adapted for the Web from a print brochure. A pdf version of the brochure is also available.
What is WESS?
The Western European Studies Section (WESS) represents
librarians and others who specialize or are otherwise
professionally involved in the acquisition, organization, and use
of information sources originating in or related to Western
European countries. Our aim is to promote the improvement of
library services supporting study and research in Western
European affairs from ancient times to the present.
A Brief History
WESS grew out of a discussion group started in 1973 within the
Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), a division
of the American Library Association (ALA). The Western European
Language Specialists Discussion Group (WELS) became a section
within ACRL five years later and was renamed the Western European
Specialists Section (WESS). Since then it has sponsored major
programs at each ALA annual conference and held its own
conference with European librarians in Italy in 1988. In 1999, the section changed its name to Western European Studies Section.
Since its inception, WESS has been instrumental in promoting
cooperation between libraries and scholars in West European
fields and publishers and book dealers in Western Europe.
The Western European Studies Section Newsletter, semi-annual
and free to all WESS members, contains reports of meetings,
committees, news about individual members, and
articles on some topic of Western European studies. Newsletter
columns focus on electronic information resources and services
related to Western Europe, new publications of note, personal and
institutional news, WESS committee and discussion group minutes,
and other announcements.
Other publications that WESS has issued through ACRL include:
- Women's Studies in Western Europe: A Resource Guide (1986).
- Directory of European Specialists in North American Research Libraries
- Western European Studies: Current Trends and Library Resources
- "Euro-Librarianship: Shared Resources, Shared Responsibilities" in Collection Management Vol. 15, Nos. 1/2, 3/4 (1992)
Martinus Nijhoff Study Grant
In cooperation with ACRL, WESS awards the
Martinus Nijhoff International West European Study Grant annually
to an ALA member. The grant is donated by Martinus Nijhoff International and supports two weeks of research and
study in Western Europe on topics pertaining to West European
librarianship or the book trade.
Past and Future Conferences
Shared Resources, Shared Responsibilities: Libraries and Western
European Studies in North America and Western Europe (Florence,
Italy, April 5-8, 1988)
Proceedings published in Collection Management Vol. 15 (1992), Nos
1/2,3/4 as Euro-Librarianship: Shared Resources. Shared Responsibilities.
"European Links: Sources of Information in Western European Studies for Academic Libraries" (1997 ALA Preconference)
WESS European Conference, Paris 2004
Within WESS there is an executive committee, composed of the
Chair, Vice-Chair, Past Chair, Secretary, Member-at-large, and
Chairs of the two standing committees on Publications and
Research and Planning.
In addition, other ad hoc committees and discussion groups are
appointed to carry out special projects.
How to Join WESS
WESS contributes to the advancement of Western European studies
both in North America and abroad. Through its programs,
discussions, conferences, and publications, it continues to
further research on Western Europe and to foster collaborative
projects. For the librarian or other professional with an
interest in this part of the world, WESS provides a stimulating
forum for discussion and opportunities for professional
For information about current WESS officers and committees, refer
to the ALA Handbook of Organization or a recent issue of the WESS Newsletter.
Write or call the Association of College and Research Libraries
for application forms and information.
50 East Huron Street
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 944-6780 or toll free 1-800-545-2433 Ext. 2521
Return to WESSWEB home page.
This service is provided by the Western European Studies Section, Association of College and Research Libraries, and is maintained by .
This page was last updated on April 25, 2002.
Copyright © 1995 by the American Library Association. This document may be reproduced or reprinted for educational, non-commercial use, in whole or in part, without permission as long as the above copyright statement and source are clearly acknowledged. Neither this document nor any reproductions may be sold.