WESS Executive Committee Meeting

Rebecca R. Malek-Wiley, Secretary

WESS Newsletter
Fall 2005
Vol. 29, no. 1

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WESS Executive Committee Meeting
ALA 2005 Annual Conference, Chicago

Monday, June 27, 2005, 3:00 PM

Summary Minutes


Committee members:  Helene Baumann (Duke University), Sam Dunlap (University of California San Diego), Tom Izbicki (Johns Hopkins University), Charlene Kellsey (University of Colorado at Boulder), Thea Lindquist (University of Colorado at Boulder), Rebecca R. Malek-Wiley (Tulane University)

Guests:  Gordon Anderson (University of Minnesota Twin Cities), Hank Harken (Arizona State University), Sarah How (Cornell University; representing Publications Committee), Sarah G. Wenzel (MIT; representing ad hoc committee on CIFNAL), Bryan Skib (University of Michigan; incoming member as 2005/2006 Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect), Paul Vermouth (Harvard University)

WESS Chair Tom Izbicki called the meeting to order at 3:10 PM.

1. Approval of minutes from ALA Midwinter

The minutes of the Executive Committee meeting at ALA Midwinter in Boston (17 January 2005) were accepted as published in the Spring 2005 WESS Newsletter (v. 28, no. 2).

2. Reports from WESS committees and discussion groups requiring action

a. Publications:  Sarah How reported that the Publications Committee needed to bring to the Executive Committee a request for funds from ACRL for producing new WESS brochures.  Tom said that he would be talking with Mary Jane Petrowski (ACRL Associate Director) about the brochure, including the timeline and budget for producing a corrected version of the current brochure.  Reinhart Sonnenburg and Sarah How would work on this version.  Tom and Diana Chlebek would prepare a redesigned brochure.  Action plans, which would be due in mid-August, would be necessary for any new project, such as a new brochure, that required ACRL funding.

b. Research and Planning:  Charlene Kellsey reported that the Research and Planning Committee had discussed further the role that WESS might have in helping internships and exchanges involving European librarians.  The Goethe-Institut in New York had approached WESS on the matter after receiving inquiries from Germans interested in internships in the US.  Hank Harken presented three choices discussed by the Research and Planning Committee:

1) Maintain the status quo:  WESS would not take on any role as a group in facilitating internships and exchanges.

2) Utilise WESS-L to post inquiries, then rely on WESS readers to reply at their own discretion and to communicate directly with those seeking internships.

3) Set up a Web page, maintaining both a list of institutions willing to accept European interns, with their requirements, and a list of people seeking internships, including their expectations.

There was discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of the different options. Option 2, posting inquiries to WESS-L, was preferred, because through it WESS could contribute to this project by formalising a means of facilitating individual inquiries, while it would require less commitment on the part of WESS and would be easier to manage than maintaining lists of institutions and individuals.

There was some discussion of an appropriate locus within WESS for such a project.

Tom requested that the Research and Planning Committee contact the Goethe-Institut in New York about trying an approach based on posting inquiries to WESS-L; develop general information for a Web page on internships and exchanges; and give a status report on the results for the 2006 Midwinter meeting.  The Research and Planning Committee should also communicate with IRRT, to determine what similar initiatives it might be involved in.

3. Appointment of a new editor of the WESS Newsletter

Sarah Wenzel reported that three people had expressed interest in the WESS Newsletter editor position.

4. Report from the ad hoc Committee on the Collaborative Initiative for French and North American Libraries (CIFNAL)

Sarah Wenzel summarised recent and upcoming work of the ad hoc committee.  The group had approved the creation of a steering committee, consisting of the ad hoc Chair, the coordinators of the working groups, and the Past Chair.  The 2005/2006 steering group would consist of Sarah Wenzel (Chair), Tom Kilton (Past Chair), Jeffry Larsen (French Partners Working Group coordinator), Sarah Sussman (Potential Sources of Funding Working Group coordinator), and Kati Radics (Goals Working Group coordinator).  In addition, the committee had approved the creation of an advisory group, which could include representatives of French governmental agencies, scholarly institutions, etc. 

CRL had agreed to host a CIFNAL Web page.  It would also host a free listserv for a group working discussion list.  People interested in joining this list should send their names and e-mail addresses to Sarah Wenzel, who would forward them to CRL. 

Topics being addressed by the CIFNAL working groups included various financing options being considered, possible CIFNAL projects, and potential contact groups, providing opportunities for French partners to participate actively in designing and planning collaborative projects.  Each working group had established goals to reach by the 2006 ALA Midwinter Conference in San Antonio.  The funding group would determine the amount of money to ask for and whom to contact.  The French partners group planned to have at least one substantial Québecois contact.  The goals and projects group planned to modify its list of potential projects and to translate it into French.  The steering committee would develop an overall organisational plan.

Since CIFNAL was an association of research libraries, not a professional organisation such as ALA, some nonmember institutions might be unwilling to support work in CIFNAL by their librarians.  Sarah Wenzel welcomed any suggested solutions to this governance-related complication.  

The ad hoc committee would provide an interim report in San Antonio, with a final report at the 2006 ALA Annual Conference.  During that year, it would still be operating within the context of WESS.  Afterwards, CIFNAL would not be a WESS activity as such.

5. 2006 Study Tour to Eastern Germany

Since the Boston Midwinter meeting, Thea Lindquist reported, she had been working as the WESS contact for the study tour planned for March 2006 in eastern Germany, based on her position as WESS Member-at-Large.  She had been communicating with Marilen Daum of the Goethe-Institut in New York and Jens Lazarus, Direktor, Bibliothek der Hochschule Merseburg.  WESS Executive Committee members Tom Izbicki, Helene Baumann, and Kati Radics had also been helping to resolve questions.  While Thea would continue to work as the study tour contact, there had been discussions about her formal status once she was no longer Member-at-Large.  During a brief discussion, support emerged for having Thea appointed to the WESS Executive Committee for the coming year as the representative of the 2006 Study Tour to Eastern Germany.  A motion to that effect was approved by all Executive Committee members present.

6. WESS/ACRL at Frankfurt Book Fair 2005

Gordon Anderson reported that the upcoming Frankfurt Book Fair would be held 19-23 October, later than its typical schedule.  He had been in communication with Fair representatives in Frankfurt as well as with Mary Jane, ACRL had already provisionally approved a budget for participation, and an ACRL booth had been reserved.  Even if the dollar should decline slightly against the euro, he believed that the costs for the booth, Internet access, shipping, and other miscellaneous items would be low enough for this project to come in under budget.  $2000 would again go towards travel stipends, probably four $500 awards.  ACRL was asking the WESS Executive Committee to be in charge of organizing the exhibit and selecting the stipend recipients.  He would be very happy to continue to work on specific details, such as the booth setup and telecommunications arrangements.  Since he would probably not be able to attend the Fair for its entire period this year, however, he asked the Executive Committee to appoint a different group leader. 

An extensive discussion ensued.  Interrelated topics included:

a. Budget for Fair participation:  The ACRL money for the 2005/2006 fiscal year had been cleared.  For future fiscal years, WESS would need to submit an action plan, repeatedly making the strongest case possible for continued ACRL participation and support.  Any outside source of funding should be confirmed as early as possible.

b. Delegation coordinator:  There was general agreement that this person ought to be given some financial support, to make it easier for people without much institutional support to serve this function, as well as to acknowledge the amount of work involved.  Several possible methods for this funding were considered.  Among desired qualifications mentioned for the position of coordinator were familiarity with the Frankfurt Book Fair; competence in German; skills in leading and coordinating groups; a talent for helping to orient and encourage new participants; and, ideally, telecommunications skills. 

c. Stipend award:  The awards would be open to any ACRL member, preferably people who had not attended the Frankfurt Book Fair during the past five years.  A knowledge of German would be preferred but not required.  A discussion begun at the 2005 Midwinter Executive Committee meeting was continued regarding the need for access to lists of ACRL members who had attended the Fair recently and the relative importance of different criteria for the award when deciding among multiple qualified candidates.

The selection process itself was considered, including the use of last year’s announcements as models, places to distribute this year’s announcement, the importance of sending it out early, and plans to place  the list of award winners on WESSWeb as well as in the WESS Newsletter.  Following the Fair, recognition could also be given to other people who had helped at the booth.

d. Preparations for the Fair:  Several participants in previous fairs recommended advance planning for the exhibit, to decide the contents of the display, its arrangement, and the work of the booth staff.  Flyers about and/or copies of the Paris proceedings could be displayed.  A Webmaster would be needed to prepare a current Web page about ACRL/WESS at the Fair.  Gordon volunteered to help in publicising the Fair and in gathering and distributing information such as hotel names and prices and public transportation options.

The committee agreed that the first step in resolving these issues would be to seek out a potential group leader, then to work out how much and what type of funding could be provided for that coordinator.

7. Creation of a WESS Fundraising Committee

Helene, who had distributed copies of the proposal that she and Sarah Wenzel had drafted, repeated their and others’ interest in the creation of a Fundraising Committee.  It could address funding for such WESS projects as the annual program, the cruise, the newsletter, and possibly another international conference.  Several people expressed enthusiasm for such a committee, for its potential role in the following:

Facilitating coordinated, long-term budgeting, along with the setting of priorities.

Maintaining a central list of potential sources of funds, including smaller vendors and possible new sources as well as regular past contributors.

Avoiding the type of conflict created by approaching a vendor separately for multiple WESS activities.

Providing continuity of information as individuals rotate on and off the Executive Committee and other individual WESS committees.

Providing publicity, including a WESSWeb page that would acknowledge WESS sponsors.

Coordinating additional means of rewarding WESS sponsors, such as providing free cruise tickets.

The creation of a WESS Fundraising Committee was approved by all Executive Committee members present. 

8. ACRL's environmental scan

Tom asked that any one who had comments on the environmental scan send them to him.  Input from the sections would be due in mid-August.

9. Fundraising letter

Sarah Wenzel asked whether she (or a new editor) should send out the usual fundraising letters for the Fall issue of the WESS Newsletter.  There was some discussion about the fundraising schedule and the costs of producing the printed newsletter, but it was decided to continue this discussion at a later time.


Tom closed the meeting by thanking all members of the Executive Committee for their participation in WESS -- in particular, Helene, who, he said, would be a wonderful Chair.  He also expressed his gratitude to the ACRL staff for their help, especially Mary Jane Petrowski and Megan Bielefeld (ACRL Program Coordinator).  During his year as chair, he had been making notes for his successor, to provide more written documentation about the workings of WESS.  He had also experimented with the meeting schedule; people chairing and attending WESS meetings had found that scheduling meetings in the same hotel and even in the same room, to share equipment, had been very helpful.  Tom concluded by saying that his term as Chair would end in three days and that he looked forward to working with Helene.

The Executive Committee members then thanked Tom for his work as WESS Chair throughout the past year.

The meeting was adjourned at 5:11 PM.

Respectfully submitted,

Rebecca R. Malek-Wiley

WESS secretary 2004/2005

Editors: Sarah G. Wenzel, Paul Vermouth

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