Notes from the Chair

By Helene Baumann

WESS Newsletter
Fall 2005
Vol. 29, no. 1

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Dear Colleagues:

There are so many exciting events and projects happening in WESS, I hardly know where to begin.  It is heart-warming to see what a creative, active and collaborative bunch WESS librarians are!

Remember our international Conference in Paris last year?  Amazingly, ACRL has already published the proceedings! Migrations in Society, Culture, and the Library:  Proceedings of the WESS European Conference can be ordered online. (See the press release in this newsletter). Tom Kilton and Ceres Birkhead, the editors, deserve a lot of credit for tirelessly pulling and pushing behind the scenes to get all the papers submitted, edited, organized, and a myriad of small and large details answered and solved. All this at dizzying speed, in my humble opinion.  The book contains almost all presentations given in Paris, as well as a substantive introduction by Jeffry Larson, the chair of the Paris Planning Committee.  A wonderful legacy of an outstanding event!  For personal and immediate impressions of the Paris conference, check out Yvonne Boyer’s "Wings to Paris" in the Fall 2004 issue of the WESS Newsletter (, and Denis Lacroix’s article in the July/August 2004 issue of College and Research Libraries News (vol. 65, No.7, p. 385-386).

Yet another important result of the WESS Conference in is the project first known as the French-North American Resources Project, but now aptly re-named the Collaborative Initiative for French and North-American Libraries (CIFNAL). In its first year, the ad hoc committee was chaired by Tom Kilton (I think there must be more than one person behind that name… how else could he accomplish so much?!) who had written the paper suggesting such a partnership (see the Migrations volume mentioned above for his paper).  In early spring 2005 the group produced a report which detailed its goals and plans, which were subsequently endorsed and given legitimacy by AAU/ARL’s Global Resources Network (GRN). GRN and its subgroups like the German-North American Resources Partnership have or will soon move administratively to the Center for Research Libraries. CIFNAL has working groups for goals, fundraising, and identifying suitable partners in France.  At ALA Annual in Chicago (June 2005) Tom gave over the CIFNAL chairmanship to Sarah Wenzel.  For more on GRN and CIFNAL see Heather Ward’s article elsewhere in this Newsletter.

Sarah Wenzel (another one of those who seem to be more than one person, given her prodigious output) is currently undergoing a number of transitions.  Most importantly, she is moving to a prestigious position at Columbia University, and she will be stepping down as our Newsletter editor.  She deserves a big and special Thank You for having ably served in that position from Fall 2002 to Fall 2005.  Never a nag, she had this gentle way of reminding contributors of the upcoming deadlines in plenty of time (and then more urgently, but still kindly, as the date approached), managed to find nifty solutions on how to present things in the Newsletter within very short time-frames, learned the necessary desktop publishing software on the fly, etc. etc.  Taking over the responsibility for the WESS newsletter is Paul Vermouth, the English Bibliographer for the Social Sciences at Harvard.  I wish him a lot of pleasure and success with the task, while thanking him for jumping into the considerable breach.  What a great way to get your feet wet with WESS! 

Another exciting development is the second study tour to Germany: “Leipzig, Dresden, Weimar: Exploring a Library Landscape” in March 2006.  It is sponsored by the Goethe Institute New York, the U.S. Diplomatic Mission to Germany (Public Affairs Section) and the Bibliothek & Information International.  See the Tour web site (  The tour is anchored by visits to the Leipzig Book Fair and the Bibliothekartag in Dresden, where three participants will have the opportunity to present papers. Thea Lindquist, a member of the first study tour in 2003, which was open to new Germanist librarians, is the Coordinator of the planning committee.  Applications, open to all WESS members with professional appointments whose work has a significant German Studies component, were due in September.

Once again this fall, Beau Case will be shepherding a group visiting the Frankfurt Book Fair and staffing the ACRL booth at the International Librarians Centre.  ACRL is again providing $500 stipends to enable four lucky ACRL members experience this mega-event. This year John Barnett, Gettysburg College, Virginia Cole, Cornell University, Heather Moulaison, College of New Jersey, and Joy Pile at Middlebury College are the winners.  Look for their report early next year. 

As you can see from the above sampling, WESS is a vibrant organization.  Now don’t you want to get more involved yourself?  Contact me at  if you would like to do so.  

Editors: Sarah G. Wenzel, Paul Vermouth

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