WESS Personal & Institutional News

Column Editor: Richard D. Hacken

WESS Newsletter

Fall 1998, Vol. 22, no. 1

Association of College & Research Libraries
©American Library Association

Leena Siegelbaum has moved from Michigan State to the Harvard Law Library, where her new employers welcomed her by asking her to catalog the Starr Report in every one of the Germanic languages. (The second clause of the previous sentence of the alleged first part is fictional and an obstruction of newsletter justice, legally speaking, but the first clause of the previous sentence of the first part remains a true and verifiable documentary.) Since she passed her 3-month probationary period without a comment, she assumes she'll be there indefinitely. Leena is learning wonderful new legalistic and juridical words daily in various Germanic languages, such as: vaststellningsovereenkomst, Jugendarbeitsschutzuntersuchungsverordnung, fastighetsbildingmyndighet, and much, much more! Amazingly, no signs of burnout... yet.

Speaking of moves, Barbara Walden has adopted a larger mammal for her university mascot, moving from a Minnesota Gopher to a Wisconsin Badger. At Wisconsin, Barbara is the new bibliographer for European history.

Sarah Wenzel has one of the world's longest job titles: "A Marvelous Position at Boston University Not All That Far From Fenway Park Where She's The Post-Premodern, Pre- Postmodern, Postmodern, and Post-Postmodern Foreign Languages And Linguistics Bibliographer And Reference Librarian Responsible For Collecting All Post-Premodern, Pre- Postmodern, Postmodern, and Post-Postmodern Foreign Literature Excluding African Languages And Greek." Of course, the last phrase of her job title allows her, when queried at the reference desk about the early Pankhu dialect literature of highland Burma, to answer: "It's Greek to me." Sarah recently (a year ago) finished her M.S. in Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and even more recently (8 months ago), she completed an M.A. in French Studies from the same institution. (Does this mean she did her second masters degree in four months?) For the latter, she combined literature and history in studying the labour movement (and the labor movement) in 19th-century France. One of her findings, no doubt, was that train strikes are nothing new. She gives many thanks to Tom Kilton for encouragement and support during that time! Currently, she is a Publicity Co-Chair for the New England Chapter of ACRL and will be serving on the WESS Publications Committee in the year 2000. Anything having to do with libraries and with French is not Greek to her.

Louis Reith, with his contacts in European embassies in Washington, D.C., tells us of a "NATO Expansion" Concert to take place at the end of April, 1999. Expansive preparations are being made: cocktails in the Czech embassy, intimate dinner at the German ambassador's residence, followed by a chamber program of Brahms and Dvorak ("Two Friends"), followed by chitchat. The swaray is to be jointly sponsored by the Czech Republic and the German Federal Republic, with Slovaks, Poles, Hungarians, and also Madeline Albright to be invited (of course, she does have a Czechered past of her own). Louis hopes to compile the program notes. Copies of the WESS Newsletter will mysteriously appear on the coffee tables for dignitaries to peruse when conversation lags. Now, then, the following is important, and it's also a point of proper international protocol: if you don't get a personal invitation by late February, please don't embarrass the security guards by trying to crash the party.

Shari Groves is the Collection Services Librarian, Thomas P. O'Neill, Jr. Library at Boston College, and has been there 17 years. Her subject areas are Romance Languages and Literatures in addition to Sociology (including Anthropology). After college and before becoming a librarian she worked and studied for a year in Madrid, Spain. There she took the Curso para Extranjeros course at the University of Madrid and remembers meeting in El Prado for art history classes. Her first library positions were in Anthropology, first at Yale University, then at Tozzer Library, Harvard University. She once stated in a fit of irrational exuberance that she likes WESS members and the perspective they share towards the area study of Europe. Despite her detailed training in anthropology, she is also convinced that the WESS group has a wonderful sense of humor. For fun, each year she tries to travel to Europe (it's the travel that's fun, not the trying). A year ago last summer she was hiking in the French Alps just above Lake Geneva (ask about her trophy photo with Mont Blanc in the background!), and then traveled to Alsace where she hiked from vineyard to vineyard (since winemaking lies at the root of the province's name: "All Sauce"). Presently, she is working on a book (a research guide for undergraduate students studying Spanish, French and Italian literatures) which may also appear on the web.

James Burgett, collection development coordinator, humanities team leader, German and French bibliographer, and gifts librarian at the University of Kentucky, traces much of his interest in languages Euro to the articles in Quinto Lingo he read in high school. Poring over the inexplicable word order of German in particular, he pursued that thought until it led to a Ph.D. in German (1988) from the University of Minnesota. His dissertation on the documentary novel of the Weimar Republic explored the rhetorical use of factual material in composing fiction. In that way, it was a precursor to many WESSies' annual reports to their supervisors. After teaching ESL at the University of Freiburg for an exchange year, James worked his way through library school in the Bluegrass State by doing medical editing and photography in the Surgery Dept. of the University Hospital. Toughest of all was convincing medical authors that a missing or misplaced comma could have lethal consequences (it really, can it can). Taking photographs in the operating room often made him feel like Hans Castorp in Der Zauberberg seeing his internal organs exposed on X-ray for the first time. And though they weren't his own body parts, he found the task exciting and challenging and not-at-all paparazzi-like. Now an MLA indexer, newsletter editor and sometime RRE abstractor, he has developed a theory that libraries today just might be the testing grounds for various chaos theories-or maybe guinea-pig cages in some randomized, cosmic double-blind study. Speaking of chaos, James was able to avoid the Hofbräuhaus and most Döner Kebap kiosks in Munich this past summer while teaching for the University of Kentucky there. However, he did not escape the allure of the fine beer at Kloster Andechs in Herrsching, on Starnberg Lake south of Munich. The monks, says he, know how to brew the perfect beer. Eager for a return visit to the charms of Bavaria, he's now feasting on memories of Leberkäs and Brezn as he saves his pennies for the Wiedersehen.

Dawn Anderson is the Romance and German Literatures Librarian at the University of California, Irvine. She is new to the position, having started in February, 1998. The position's responsibilities include collecting for French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and German (the acronym for which languages would be SPIF or FIPS if it weren't for the German). Anderson came to UCI from Auburn University where she was Head of the Library of Architecture, Design, and Construction. Prior to that position, she was Social Sciences Cataloger at Auburn, her first professional library position. She received her MSLIS from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1994 after having earned her BA in French, History, and Art (triple major) from Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio, one of the only institutions of higher learning to begin with the letter X. Her undergraduate education included one year of study at the Sorbonne, Paris, France (not to be confused with any of the other Sorbonnes). She is a language enthusiast, a doting aunt, and a reading fanatic.

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