WESSWEB - Western European Specialists Section

Coutts Nijhoff International West European Specialists Study Grant

This annual award was established by WESS in 1985 under the sponsorship of Martinus Nijhoff International, subscription agent and bookdealer headquartered in The Hague, The Netherlands.

Note: The most up to date information about this award, including contact information, eligibility, and application procedure, can be found at


See also the bibliography of Publications, Talks and Exhibitions Based Upon Nijhoff Grant Funded Research.


The grant supports a wide variety of research topics pertaining to Western European studies, librarianship or the book trade. Proposals may focus on the acquisition, organization or use of library materials from or relating to Western Europe. Current or historical subjects may be treated. The objectives of the study must be of either practical use or scholarly value to the community of librarians, scholars, and publishers.


Martinus Nijhoff International funds this study grant which covers air travel to and from Europe, transportation in Europe, and lodging and board for no more than 14 consecutive days. A maximum amount of 10,000 Dutch guilders - or US dollar equivalent - is awarded each year. Funds may not be used for salaries, research - related supplies, publication costs, conference fees or equipment.

Administration of the Award


The nominee must be a librarian employed in a university, college, community college, or research library in the year prior to application for the award. Although they are not required to be members of ACRL, award recipients are encouraged to join ACRL and to participate in WESS activities. Applications are due December 1st each year at the ACRL headquarters, 50 E. Huron St., Chicago, IL 60611-2795.

Award Jury:

The award is administered by WESS in consultation with the donors. The immediate past chair of WESS serves as Chair of the jury. Two other WESS members are appointed by the WESS Vice-Chair, with two-year, staggered appointments. Two representatives from Martinus Nijhoff International serve ex officio on the jury; they review proposals and participate in the jury deliberations, but do not vote. The jury convenes during ALA's midwinter meeting for a two-hour period. ACRL is responsible for photocopying and distributing all proposals to all jury members, including the Martinus Nijhoff International representatives, as soon as possible after the December 1st deadline. The Chair will correspond with past grantees who have not submitted the required documentation of their research trips to ACRL and Martinus Nijhoff International and will offer encouragement and advice in helping them prepare this documentation. The jury does not meet during the ALA annual conference unless there is special business to conduct. The WESS Vice-Chair is responsible for scheduling these meetings.

In 1988 the jury decided that none of the proposals were worthy of support. No award was made. Instead proposal guidelines and criteria were written. Since that time, the quality and consistency of proposals has improved.

In 1991 the jury was unable to complete its deliberations during the ALA midwinter meeting because two proposals were deemed meritorious. The jury postponed its final decision and sought outside opinions from experts in related fields. The final decision was made in February via a conference call.

Award Announcement:

The jury chair notifies the recipient immediately following the ALA midwinter meeting. ACRL may request the chair to submit press release information for publication in C&RL News (April issue). The jury chair writes rejection letters to unsuccessful applicants.

The award recipient is announced officially during the WESS membership meeting at ALA's annual summer conference. If possible the awardee is introduced and recognized at this meeting or during the WESS annual program.

Obligations of the Grantee:

The recipient's detailed expense statement, with original receipts, is due to ACRL within two months of the trip's termination. Copies of the expense statement should be sent to Martinus Nijhoff International at the same time. The grantee is also required to submit a report to ACRL and to Nijhoff within six months of no less than 4,000 words on the research resulting from the trip. The grantee should also submit an abstract of this report for publication in the WESS Newsletter. The recipient of the award is expected to complete the research by the end of the calendar year in which the award is made.

Publications, Talks and Exhibititions Based Upon Nijhoff Grant Funded Research

Grant Recipients:


Frederick Lynden, Brown University. Price Indexes of European Academic Library Materials

Report in: College & Research Libraries News no. 3 (March 1987): 127-8.


Michael Albin, Library of Congress. Refugee and Exile Publishing in Western Europe

Report in: College & Research Libraries News no. 5 (May 1989): 381-5


No award made. Guidelines written.


James Spohrer, University of California-Berkeley. Preserving the Written Record: Evaluation of Preservation Programs at Four Major European Libraries


Pamela Spence Richards, Rutgers University. The Secret Gallery of Enemy Scientific Information by Germany and the Allies, 1939-1945


Nancy S. Reinhardt, Harvard College. Henry W. Longfellow as a Book Selector for the North Germanic Languages at the Harvard College Library


Martin Antonetti, Grolier Club. A Study of the Publications of Italian Fine Press and Avant Garde Publishers.


No award.


Stephen Lehmann, University of Pennsylvania Journal Publishing in German Academic Librarianship


Barbara Halporn, Harvard University Johann Amerbach: Early Printing in its Social Context


Eleanore O. Hofstetter, Towson State University Women Immigrants to Europe, 1945-1995


Sem C. Sutter, University of Chicago Books in German-Occupied Europe: The Rosenberg Files


Jeffrey Garrett, Northwestern University Library. The End of Monastery Libraries in Bavaria and the Birth of Modern Library Science, 1802-1814.


Richard Hacken, Brigham Young University. Towards Reconstructing the Fate of Viennese Jewish Libraries in the Nazi Era.


Jeffry Larson, Yale University. Documenting the Dissemination of the Gregorian Calendar Reform in France During the Wars of Religion


Sue Waterman, Johns Hopkins University. Collecting the Nineteenth Century: the Book, the Specimen, the Photograph as Archive


James P. Niessen, Rutgers University. German Acquisitions in Hungarian Research Libraries: Cooperative Collection Development in the Twentieth Century


Michael Olson, Harvard University. Two Libraries, Two Peoples: Die Deutsche Bibliothek and Die Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin since German Reunification


Helene S. Baumann, Duke University. Translation of the subject thesaurus of the Pictorial Archive of the German Colonial Society (Bildarchiv der Deutschen Kolonialgesellschaft) from German to English


Charlene Kellsey, University of Coloroado, The Bibliotheques Municipales of France as Sources for Medieval History of Monastic Institutions: The Case of Arles


Dale Askey, Kansas State University, Documenting a Vanishing Culture: German-language Literature from Czechoslovakia, 1945–1990

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.

Last revised: November 8, 2006
Comments to: reinhart.sonnenburg@dartmouth.edu