Notes from the Chair

by Jeff Garrett

WESS Newsletter

Fall 2000, Vol. 24, no. 1

Association of College & Research Libraries
© American Library Association




Exhortation from the Chair

Fact: WESS has over 700 members, and every one of them receives the WESS Newsletter. Proof: If you are a WESS member and don’t think you receive the Newsletter, then how are you reading this? The real truth, of course, is that most of us are grateful for the Newsletter with its many useful columns, and between issues we happily turn to WESSWeb as a resource we use in our daily work in college and university libraries, or we monitor one or the other WESS listservs. Remember: These services to the WESS membership are provided by WESS members who at some point decided to bite the bullet and get active. WESS can’t work without this type of member.

There’s a lot of talk at our meetings about recruiting new members to WESS, and this is an important goal. But just as important is reaching out to the great silent majority of WESS members/Newsletter readers: those whose names are on our roles, but whom we seldom see or hear from. This doesn’t have to be. How about getting involved in a committee or attending a discussion group meeting? Contact the chair on the back page of this issue. How about moving from the "passive" to the "active" roster in one of WESS’s many listservs? Or contributing yourself to the WESS Newsletter, perhaps with some institutional gossip, with some "bits & bytes" or with a 30-word review of a new European reference source? Hey: This is not a call to self-immolation. Many of us regard our WESS contacts and the chance to get together, both electronically and every once and a while in person, as a highlight of our professional and even personal lives. Many of us work more happily on projects with our WESS colleagues than we do with Hank and Maureen in the offices next door. Start by going to WESSWeb’s page of online discussion groups at http://www.lib.virginia.edu/wess/discussion.html and joining one that matches your interests. Lurk and learn! And do make sure you’re subscribed to wess-l, moderated by Marje Schuetze-Coburn at USC: send her your info at schuetze@usc.edu. Get on the WESS roster at http://www.lib.virginia.edu/wess/directry/ by sending your information to Bruce Swann at Illinois: b-swann@uiuc.edu. Where else is tout le monde so democratically self-selecting? If you feel you know too little about what WESS does or what WESS is about, take a look at WESS’s history available online, for example Barbara Walden’s paper on the history of WESS at http://www.library.yale.edu/wess/wessprog/Lkgfwd.html, or my own "millennial report" on WESS, written for our British colleagues, available at http://www.library.northwestern.edu/collections/garrett/report4uk.html.

WESS has a lot going for it. We’re working ever more closely with our colleagues in Western Europe. We’re attending book fairs in Madrid, Paris, Bergen, Frankfurt and Turin. We go on cool boat rides at ALA. We also have great programs at ALA, big ones and little ones. When we’re back home, we help each other out. We work together and, when we can, we play together. So come on. You’re a member already: now all you have to do is activate yourself. We’ll help you take it from there.

Jeff Garrett, WESS Chair


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