1996-1997 was a busy and productive year for WESS under the leadership of Diana Chlebek. We had a very successful annual meeting in San Francisco, and I heard only good things about the WESS pre-conference which helped bibliographers and selectors in West European studies hone their skills and make contacts which will last them for a lifetime. Our outreach to the scholarly community through our publications-electronic or print-went smoothly ahead with fewer glitches. And we could look to 1997-98 with great expectations under the leadership of Kurt DeBelder...until Kurt was called up to better things, such as Manager for Electronic Services at the University of Amsterdam Libraries, and I was elected to continue the work that Kurt had started. I was grateful to Kurt for making it easier for me by appointing some very capable people to chair our committees and discussion groups.
Stephen Lehmann, our Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect, is working hard with the help of his committee to put together what will be an excellent program for our annual conference in Washington D.C.-"Digitizing a Continent: National Level Planning for Western European Libraries-a theme in tune with the ACRL President's theme for 1997-98-"Facing the Millennium: Values for the Electronic Information Age" and with one of the three priorities in support of ACRL's strategic plan-"To build upon ACRL professional development activities, paying particular attention to programming that can be delivered by electronic information technologies."
Ann Snoeyenbos has challenged us to be more open to helping our new members become involved with our many excellent committees, discussion groups, and publications, so if you are reading this and are a new member, or even an older member who has been lurking around, but would really like to get involved with WESS, please plan to attend our WESS membership meeting at the annual conference in Washington, D.C. where we will address these issues and show you how to be a full-fledged, hard-working member of this section! We certainly do need your help, your insights, and your knowledge of Western European studies to share with your colleagues and the scholarly community at large. And I call upon all our steadfast, long standing, and hard-working WESSIES to reach out to new members and mentor them into finding the place where they can best contribute to our section's work.
I hope to see all our committee chairs and members at Midwinter in New Orleans. Remember, if you are not there, your input will be missed! And our many thanks for all your hard work which makes WESS one of the most productive sections of ACRL.