Notes from the Chair

by Gordon Anderson

WESS Newsletter

Fall 2002, Vol. 26, no. 1

Association of College & Research Libraries
American Library Association

Your WESS committee members have been very active and hard at work this summer and fall. No sooner had business been wrapped up in Atlanta this past June than everyone plunged into the work that lay ahead – to make real the hopes embodied in the decisions we made for the coming year, and to continue to look ahead by setting the agendas for the upcoming 2003 meetings. The WESS Executive Committee also had the great honor of selecting some WESS members to receive support for library activities in Germany this fall. Visit WESS Web ( to find out who is representing you in WESS.

By the time you read this column, several WESS members will have represented the Association of College and Research Libraries at the Frankfurt Book Fair (8-14 0ctober – see: or WESS Web), demonstrating to visitors from around the world the unique library resources and services available to everyone “@ your library.” The ACRL exhibit booth has become an important component of the International Center for Information and Content Management (ICICOM). We have a place at the Frankfurt Book Fair, the Treffpunkt of the world’s publishing and information enterprises. And while you are reading this essay, another group of WESS members is touring libraries and research institutes in Germany (9-17 November) on a program sponsored by the Goethe-Institut Inter Nationes in New York. We are honored to have been involved in its planning, and we are most grateful for ACRL and the Goethe-Institut’s support for the Western European Studies Section. Come to ALA Midwinter in Philadelphia this January and hear your colleagues’ reports on these experiences!

Our Publications Committee has ready a generous supply of new WESS brochures and a WESS bookmark. These tell world who we are, what we do, and most important, how to join us. Contact a member of the Publications Committee or the Executive Committee and get a supply of brochures and bookmarks to spread the word to your friends, colleagues – and supervisors.

This past year Coutts Library Services acquired the book operations of the Martinus Nijhoff Company through an agreement with Swets Blackwell. And Coutts has graciously and generously chosen to continue the (now) Coutts Nijhoff award for research in Western European library and book studies. Watch WESS Web for more information about next year’s award.

In June 2003, the ALA annual conference will take place in Toronto, in conjunction with the CLA’s annual conference. In Toronto, WESS will sponsor a program entitled "New Roles, New Inter-relationships: Research Library networks in Europe and across the Atlantic." The panel will feature U.S., Canadian, and European librarians discussing the new dynamic relationships among European research libraries and their links to North America.

As of June 2002 we have forty-one new WESS members, and we anticipate more will have joined during the summer and fall. The Membership Committee is personally contacting each one of them to encourage them to join in with us at ALA meetings and in WESS activities, and to give every WESS member the chance to belong to our WESS-L list-serv. If you are not subscribed to our high-quality, low-traffic discussion and announcement list, please help the Membership Committee by joining now. Send an e-mail message to, leave the subject line blank, and in the body of the message type the following request: “subscribe WESS-L [Your Name]”

Oh, and by the way -- the Membership Committee is also working on planning a cruise during ALA Annual Toronto in June 2003! We hope to be able to offer some lucky new WESS members a free ticket to this favorite event.

The WESS 2004 European Conference committees are marching toward Paris. Watch for their bi-lingual brochure on Migrations in Society, Culture, and the Library, and mark your calendars now for attending this a four-day conference, which will bring together North American and European librarians in Paris, March 22-26, 2004, during the 24th Salon du Livre. We are grateful for the support from Jean Touzot, Aux Amateurs de Livres, and Erasmus Booksellers for this exciting conference.

The WESS Research & Planning Committee has gathered a number of ideas from the general membership on what we all would like to work on in the near future. Their work ties in closely with the great challenge before us – attracting new members and engaging many more of us seasoned WESSies in the work of our European-studies profession.

It is impossible to describe in detail all that is going on in WESS. Therefore, I want to direct your attention back to the reports given by immediate past chairs Barbara Walden and Jeff Garret in the Newsletter ( In vol. 25, Barbara points out how the many changes in Europe offer us many new opportunities for multicultural programming and topics. And Jeff, in vol. 24, has exhorted us to become more active in WESS, to come experience and enjoy the wealth of support and collegiality that WESS members share together. I encourage you to read their reports again. Barbara and Jeff’s words and ideas are still very much a part of our agenda of opportunities and challenges that we have before us.

“Kom och se!” – come and see what WESS has to offer you and your colleagues. You won’t be disappointed. You will be gladly challenged. You will want to get involved. And you might even want to be chair someday!

Gordon Anderson
September 2002

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