1999 will be a banner year for WESS, marking the 20th anniversary of our existence as a Section. A group chaired by Reinhart Sonnenburg will guarantee that we celebrate the occasion suitably in word and deed, climaxing in a Champagne-and-Clif Bar party at the New Orleans Annual Conference.
Moving us off our laurels, Ann Snoeyenbos has energized the Section to attract new members and bring more of our present membership into the active core of the Section. A new Membership Committee, chaired by Ann, is developing initiatives to ensure that our next decade will be a period of renewed and purposeful vitality.
Although questions of access to and bibliographic control of west European materials have been the focus of sporadic attention in the Section for years, now, for the first time, a group has been formed within the Section that will dedicate itself to cataloging concerns. Growing out of the spade work and consciousness-raising discussions undertaken by Roger Brisson during his years leading Research & Planning, the group is led by Karl Fattig. WESS is setting out on a new path here, one that offers the possibility of significant developments in its sphere of library services.
Less glamorous, but no less critical to the health of the Section, is the Bylaws revision being undertaken by Leena Siegelbaum and her task force. Last revised almost fifteen years ago, this document gives the Section its structure and guides its activities. It needs to reflect current realities. With hard work and luck, the revisions will be ready for approval by the Section in time for the spring `99 ballot.
At the center of WESS are the online and print publications that give the Section a voice reaching far beyond the conference rooms of our bi-annual meetings. After Jim Campbell's enormously successful founding editorship, WESSWeb (the subject of a very positive review in the August 1998 CHOICE) now presents itself via a top-level homepage edited by Reinhart Sonnenburg-whose own German page received a rave in the same CHOICE. There will also be new hands at the helm of our flagship publication, the WESS Newsletter, which passes from the very capable editorship of southern Californian Marje Schuetze-Coburn to brave northern Californian Beth Remak-Honnef. It is without doubt the most onerous of Section responsibilities, and we owe Marje a big thanks for hard and outstanding work, and to prodigiously polyglot Beth a Swiss merci vielmals for taking this on.
There is no way to end this report but sadly. This is our first year without the support and inspiration of Mario Casalini, who died last May 20. We miss him very much.