Personal and Institutional News

Column Editor: Richard D. Hacken

WESS Newsletter
Fall 2006
Vol. 30, no. 1

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Helene Baumann, whose passing we mourn, served enthusiastically as our WESS Chair in her last year of life.  Apologizing for a lack of energy in New Orleans this past June, a month before her death -- as if flawless Swiss timing of WESS meetings were more important than her own health -- Helene still ran circles around most of the rest of us, and the cogs of WESS did turn as smoothly as ever.  She was like Mrs. Zippy on the Mississippi, leaving lunch early to start the WESS Executive Meeting on time, carrying that eternal smile of hers, radiating optimistic encouragement for us all.  Whatever physical pain she had and held and hid, we cannot know the full extent of her courage.  She is missed by her family, her many friends, members of WESS, the Sierra Club, Duke libraries, Europe, Africa, academia at large, and her beloved American venues from the red rocks of the Southwest to the green trees of the Southeast.  Please see the more detailed tribute to her elsewhere in this newsletter.  

Kate Brooks is Nancy Boerner's successor as the Librarian for Germanic Studies, French and Italian, Classical Studies and Comparative Literature at Indiana University in Bloomington.  Except for two years primarily spent "experiencing life" (poverty-stricken) in NYC, most of her education is from IUB where she received her M.A. in Germanic Studies in 2004 and her MLS in 2005.  Before becoming "the new Nancy" (as her colleagues like to say since most can't remember her actual title), she worked for and with Nancy in a part-time staff position as the Library Associate for West European Studies.  Most of her free time is spent with various volunteer efforts at the city animal shelter, helping put together a local film festival, or translating from German and Yiddish into English.  

For his sins, John Dillon of Wisconsin was appointed earlier this year to a three-year term on the Modern Language Association's Advisory Committee on the MLA International Bibliography (MLAIB).  His first meeting takes place this October.  He's still a member of the Programming Committee ( http://www.leeds.ac.uk/ims/imc/imc2006/progcom.html) for the annual International Medieval Congress at Leeds.  He's responsible for the Latin Writing strand, which in 2006 had thirteen sessions of scholarly papers on various aspects of Latin literature (broadly conceived) from late antiquity to ca. 1500, plus one workshop on Reading Latin Aloud (for people wishing to improve their skills in that area -- one of the difficulties, obviously, is finding native Latin speakers to conduct the workshop).  Despite its inland location, Leeds is famous in the UK for its fish and chips.  You don't need to be at the seacoast to do batter better.  And there's a nationally recognized fish and chips restaurant (yes, they do take-out also) within walking distance of the conference site.  It is a good place to take a continental European colleague, John has found. 

The July/August issue of The Horn Book Magazine includes an article entitled "A Room with a View" by Colleen Campbell, whom many of us know as a valued member of the staff of Casalini libri.  The article reports on the Hans Christian Andersen awards jury that convened in Fiesole last March. (On a fairy tale tangent, Andersen's name is almost always prefaced in his native Denmark by "H.C.," which to the non-Danish ear sounds like "José.")  The WESS connection is that Jeff Garrett of Northwestern chaired the Andersen jury, and he decided that no spot on earth would make a better site for a three-day jury meeting than the Pensione Bencistà in Fiesole, which has a view looking out over Florence and the Arno Valley. Colleen, along with Barbara and Michele Casalini, were the wonderful and generous hosts for the meeting, which ended with awards going to Margaret Mahy of New Zealand and Wolf Erlbruch of Germany. At the final banquet, as a counterweight to all the children's books the jury had considered, Jeff shared a story from Boccaccio's Decameron, in which a groom lies with the wife of King Agilulf of the Lombards, is found out by the king, but by his cleverness still comes safely out of the scrape . . .

Congratulations to Tom Izbicki, who co-translated the following new book: Reject Aeneas, Accept Pius:  Selected Letters of Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini (Pope Pius II)  (Washington, D.C.:  Catholic University of America Press, 2006).  If the name Piccolomini sounds familiar to you in a non-Pius context, you‚ve no doubt either read Schiller's drama, Die Piccolomini, or have listened to music from a little, small, mini, flute-like instrument.  Tom, whose versatility at Johns Hopkins as Renaissance man extends to areas so far afield as mechanical engineering, also serves now, under the circumstances, as the ad-hoc repeat Past Chair of WESS.

Frederick Lynden, the very first recipient of the Martinus (later: Coutts) Nijhoff International West European Specialists Study Grant in 1986, has now, two decades later, retired from Brown University.  From 1988-1990, Fred helped to pick out other worthy recipients of the award as a member of the Nijhoff jury.  At Brown he was the assistant (later: associate) university librarian for technical services. In addition to dropping by WESS meetings from time to time, Fred was active in other ALA and IFLA positions, with an emphasis on international relations.  In recognition of both international relations and global warming, his retirement move will be to St. Petersburg (the one in Russia rather than the one in Florida).

Jennifer MacDonald is the Special Materials Cataloguer at the Vatican Film Library (Saint Louis University), where she creates MARC records for Vatican manuscripts on microfilm and creates authority records for many ancient, medieval and renaissance authors and their works. Her authority records are often infallible.  Jennifer holds a 1997 Ph.D. degree in Classical Philology from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.  She taught Latin and Classics at the undergraduate and graduate levels at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst before earning her M.S.-L.I.S. at Illinois in 2004.  She has just joined the Membership Committee of WESS.  She is also a member of RBMS, is on the Seminars Committee in that Section, and has attended several Rare Book School courses. At  Saint Louis University, she is co-chair of the Library Faculty Assembly Steering Committee.  Her interests are in Augustan and Post-Augustan Latin poetry (esp. Vergil), and Greek Hellenistic poetry (esp. Theocritus).  She would like us to know that those who refer to Post-Augustan poetry as "Septembrian verse" are just plain wrong.

At the end of August, Tom Mann left the Northwestern University Library on the very day, perhaps the very hour, that he completed 36 years of service. He had been one of the very first bibliographers at Northwestern, leaping into a newly established Collection Development Division in 1970. Starting as Slavic Bibliographer, his portfolio expanded to such areas as  linguistics, German, sociology, anthropology, and much, much more.  Now that he's retired, Thomas Mann has no immediate plans to visit Venice. 

By way of introduction, Anne Oechtering is the new librarian for German(ic) Humanities at Yale University.  Over the course of the present semester she will take on philosophy as well.  ("Taking on philosophy" is a deep and enduring, potentially rewarding, activity of the mind.)  Ann comes from the Emsland, a rather unknown area even within Germany. It's an agricultural region that used to consist mainly of swamps and sand but now offers corn, chickens and pigs.  It's a Catholic region, a pocket within the North German "diaspora," bordering on Ostfriesland to the north and the Northernmost areas of the Netherlands to the west.  Anne forever regrets not having learned to speak "Platt," even though her parents and most members of her family do. All she actively knows are some curses, children's songs, names for dishes and animal diseases ("Kau met melkschlag").  She enjoys living in countries other than her own, having gained outside perspective through degree work in the Netherlands and the USA, but loves to travel through Germany (as she did last summer "interrailing" through northeast and southeast Germany (from Ruegen to Zittau, also visiting Stralsund, Schwerin, Dessau, Cottbus, Goerlitz and Bautzen along the way). Whenever traveling, she likes to take breaks at cemeteries to collect names for her rare names collection.  Anne enjoys biking -- both for the recreation of the journey and for the being-there of the destination. She is an art and architecture enthusiast, as long as it is medieval (pre high-Gothic) or 20th century modern art.  Ostfriesland and the province of Groningen are ideal regions in which to mingle biking and architecture, pedaling from one Romanesque or Romano-Gothic church to another.  Anne started rowing this spring and just became a member of the New Haven Rowing Club.  She likes offbeat movies, books, documentaries (e.g. "Ma vie en rose," "Wittstock, Wittstock"), and non-bloody reality TV.  Her cat Paulchen (named in memory of Paulinchen from "Der Struwwelpeter") traveled with her from Groningen to New Haven and recently had its first encounter with a wild North American animal, a fearsome beast whose name she does not know.

Born in Athens, Greece and raised in San José, California, George Paganelis studied classics and ancient history in his callow youth, first at the University of California, Davis, and then as a graduate student at the University of Colorado at Boulder, blissfully unaware that studying the ancients was about as likely to put food on the table as was waiting to be served a meal by said ancients.  He found the intellectual work environment, service ethic, and comprehensive benefits package among the more alluring facets of academic librarianship and thus matriculated in the esteemed LIS program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, hoping he would one day have the opportunity to put his subject background to use.  After merely 754 days following library school (but who's counting?), he landed the job he was arguably born for: Curator of the Tsakopoulos Hellenic Collection (http://library.csus.edu/tsakopoulos/) in the library at California State University, Sacramento.  (For those of us who grew up there:  Sac State).  The collection George oversees is the premier Hellenic collection in the western United States and one of the largest of its kind in the country.  Consisting of nearly 70,000 volumes, its focus is on the Hellenic world from antiquity to the present, including the Balkans, the Ottoman Empire and Turkey, and to a lesser extent the Near and Middle East.  As Curator, George is responsible for all aspects of the collection's care and management as it anchors his campus' burgeoning program in Hellenic studies. Collection development ranks among the most satisfying aspects of George's job, especially when undertaken in the clement climes of Greece and her isles.  Professionally, George is attempting to render the bibliography of modern Greek studies a little less Byzantine, so to speak, through the creation of a comprehensive online index. George has also been active in WESS for the past few years and now serves on two of its committees.  Outside business hours, George enjoys traveling, film, reading, and British comedy.

Marcia Pankake will retire from her position at the University of Minnesota on her birthday, November 1, while still young.  Her future plans?  To discover whether less is more.  To read in the middle of the day, to harvest from the 50 additional strawberry plants she put in this past spring and from the 3 new fruit trees she put in her tiny back yard. To go wild in the kitchen.  To play more music.  To study the clouds from her small back yard deck.  To spend more time with friends.  Any regrets?  She'll miss WESS colleagues, whom she calls "the smartest, nicest, most ambitious, most inspiring, and most accomplished librarians in the world."  Speaking of talented people, Marcia was among a select group invited to attend both the St. Paul and the New York City premieres of Prairie Home Companion (the movie, that is).  If you look really closely and quickly onscreen, you might see the mysterious angel of death walk behind her in the second balcony.  Or not.  The gift bag for party goers in St. Paul included A Prairie Home Commonplace Book, which Marcia edited six years ago.  She just hates to be a name-dropper, but, well, just for the record at the NYC premiere, the seats for the Pankakes were just in front of the row labeled Altman and Streep and just behind Lindsay Lohan's family.  Virginia Madsen's gown defied gravity. Lindsay's mom pumped her fist during her daughter's "Frankie and Johnnie" rendition.  Lily Tomlin was super nice and pretended to remember Marcia's husband.  Only now are the paparazzi starting to thin out on Marcia's street, and by the time she retires, the gentle peace of the Upper Midwest should once again be restored. 

Axel Schmetzke, WESS member and head of the Instructional Materials Center, University Library, University of Wisconsin -- Stevens Point, recently received the 2006 Francis Joseph Campbell Award for outstanding contributions to the advancement of library service for the blind and physically handicapped.  According to the award committee chair, Rahye Puckett, "He has raised awareness in online resource selection and developed strategies to create barrier-free virtual library environments in libraries."

At the Bibliothekartag in Dresden last March, as noted in a separate report in this newsletter, Axel gave a presentation on the topic of online web design for those with physical limitations. 

The new interim Dean of the University of Southern California libraries is our own colleague, Marje Schuetze-Coburn.  By way of preparation, Marje has been simultaneously the associate dean for faculty affairs for the University Libraries, associate executive director of the Special Libraries and Archival Collections (SLAC), and the Feuchtwanger Librarian.  Her research interests are aimed at the German exile community in Los Angeles.  Proof of her ingenuity and endurance center around the fact that she served four years as the WESS newsletter editor. 

Humboldt Universität zu Berlin has offered Michael Seadle, erstwhile of Michigan State University, a position as professor and director of its Institut für Bibliotheks- und Informationswissenschaft (IBI).  In effect, he will be succeeding Professor Dr. Engelbert Plassmann, who retired six years ago.  The focus of Michael's research and teaching will be on digital libraries.  The IBI is the only library school in Germany with the right to grant Ph.Ds and also has an active and well-respected distance education program for a Masters degree in library science.  The IBI hosts the Berliner Bibliothekswissenschaftliches Kolloquium, which is an active forum for a wide-ranging discussion of plans and issues for German libraries.  Guest speakers are very welcome.  If you plan to be in Berlin during the semesters (this year winter semester runs from 16 October through 17 February 2007, and summer semester runs from 16 April through 21 July 2007) and would like to speak, please let Michael know.  Talks need not necessarily be in German, though of course speaking German is a plus.  Michael is not the only new professor at the IBI.  Last winter Humboldt offered a professorship to Dr. Peter Schirmbacher, who is widely known for his work with electronic publication, especially electronic theses and dissertations, and for his work on open access issues.  He is also Humboldt's Chief Information Officer and head of its Computer and Media Services.  Prof. Dr. Schirmbacher brings an invaluable set of technological resources and skills that will go far to help transform the IBI from a traditional library school to an Information School along the lines of Michigan and Illinois.  Among other well-known names at the IBI are Prof. Dr. Konrad Umlauf, a noted expert on public libraries within Germany (there is no Umlaut in his name), and Prof. Dr. Walther Umstätter, who served as the IBI's director for most of the last six years before retiring this September (he plans, however, to continue some teaching and research).  Part of Michael's reason for describing the IBI here is to make it and its principal researchers more familiar to North American librarians.  Michael expects to remain active in ALA and looks forward to the prospect of collaboration in the areas of digital libraries and library education.  After 1 October, you can reach him via email at: seadle@ibi.hu-berlin.de.  His MSU email should continue to work for some time as well.  Other contact information for the IBI can be found at: http://www.ib.hu-berlin.de/.

Tim Shipe of Iowa has produced yet another Dada publication, or rather, a publication about Dada publications that was published within a Dada publication.  Is this a recursive, self-referential metapublication within the Dada framework?  Or is it just Tim helping out scholars again?  You decide.  Here's the metadata about the data: "A Decade of Dada Scholarship: Publications on Dada, 1994-2005," in: Dada Culture: Critical Texts on the Avant-garde, ed. Dafydd Jones (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2006), pp. 285-321.

 


Editor: Paul Vermouth

Association of College & Research Libraries
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