Executive Committee Meeting Minutes

Rebecca R. Malek-Wiley

WESS Newsletter
Spring 2005
Vol. 28, no. 2

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WESS Executive Committee Meeting
Monday, January 17, 2005, 10:00 AM
Marriott Copley Place, Provincetown Room

Summary of topics

Minutes from Orlando Executive Committee meeting

There were two minor corrections to the minutes of the meeting held in Orlando in June 2004.

Reports of WESS committee & discussion group chairs that included action items

Publications Committee; scheduling: There was a request that the Publications Committee be scheduled to meet before the Executive Committee meeting, because it was discussing some matters that should be brought to the Executive Committee. Various possible alternative times were considered.

Research and Planning Committee: ACRL Research Committee's project: The list of suggested research topics from the Research and Planning Committee meeting would need to be sorted further. Tom Izbicki and Charlene Kellsey said that they would work on a revised list to post to the Executive Committee after the meeting; Tom would check on ACRL’s deadline date.

ACRL Advisory Committee on Information Literacy

Kati Radics reported that she had attended a meeting of the ACRL Advisory Committee on Information Literacy (ILAC) on behalf of WESS. Sections should relate their treatment of information literacy issues to the ACRL strategic plan. She had reported that WESS was indeed dealing with information literacy issues.

Proposed changes to WESS Manual

Coutts-Nijhoff Award: Kati requested that changes be made to the text of the WESS Manual relating to the Coutts-Nijhoff Award:

1. Everywhere that the name “Nijhoff Award” appears, it should be changed to “Coutts-Nijhoff Award,” except in the title of the bibliography of works based on awardees’ research, which should include both names.

2. A statement should be added to the Manual that the past chair will review and update this bibliography each year. The following text was approved [under “Functions and Responsibilities of Officers: Past Chair”]:

"Serves as Chair of Coutts-Nijhoff International West European Study Grant jury. Updates the bibliography and links on the ‘Publications, Talks, and Exhibitions based upon Nijhoff and Coutts-Nijhoff Grant Funded Research’ page of the WESSWeb."

Deletion of references to Committee interns: It was agreed that references to interns in the descriptions of the Publications Committee and the Research and Planning Committee would be deleted.

Possible second WESS study tour in Germany

Kati reported on the developing possibility of arranging a second WESS study tour of Germany, probably in Spring 2006. Marilen Daum, director of the library of the Goethe-Institut in New York, was seeking funding from organisations to support such a tour. The American House in Berlin was ready to contribute.

Because part of the Member-at-Large’s duties is to help the Chair with special projects, Thea Lindquist was selected as the WESS contact person to participate in the preparation for the study tour. It was confirmed that she would continue as the WESS contact person after her term as Member-at-Large had ended.

Meeting frequency (whether WESS groups need to meet twice a year)

There was an extensive discussion of the possibility of having certain WESS groups meet formally only once a year. Groups already identified as only needing to meet once included:

Several participants suggested that program planning committees might not need two regularly scheduled, formal meetings every year.

One concern considered was whether informally scheduled meetings would be consistent with the ALA requirement that meetings (except for the Coutts-Nijhoff Committee) be open. Pam Snelson, ACRL Board Liaison to WESS, clarified that if a meeting would just be moving forward the ongoing business of the group, it was acceptable to meet informally; on the other hand, if the group was making decisions and conducting official business, which others might wish to hear and contribute to, then it was not appropriate. Scheduled virtual meetings were encouraged.

At the same time, it was pointed out that there is actually no requirement that a group hold a specific number of official meetings per year. Limiting the number of face-to-face meetings would enable greater participation in section work, by reducing travel costs and time, and would reduce pressure on meeting room space, so that ALA conferences would not need to be spread out so far. It would also benefit WESS members who belong to other professional and subject-discipline-oriented organisations and need to be able to attend their meetings. A number of those organisations include or are affiliated with groups that provide opportunities for interaction and communication among librarians, faculty, students, and, in some cases, publishers.

After further discussion, Tom summed up: “It is the sense of the WESS Executive Committee that chairs of committees should consider whether their business can be transacted well with a single meeting [per year], perhaps at [the] Annual [Conference], but discretion is permitted for holding two meetings or for meeting at [the] Midwinter [Conference] because of the nature of their business.” Groups that decide to meet only once each year should determine and announce well ahead of time the conference at which they plan to meet.

Having formulated this general recommendation, it was then agreed that:

· We recommend continuing to hold two Research and Planning Committee meetings per year, with papers taking the lead, and having the committee consider conducting its business outside the meeting.
· The encouragement to limit meetings does not apply to discussion groups.
· We encourage discussion groups to collaborate with other groups (within WESS or other ALA units).

Tom said that he would send out separate letters encouraging WESS committees to consider limiting the number of their meetings and encouraging collaboration between or among groups.

Report from ACRL Board Liaison to WESS (Pam Snelson)

Meeting times: The ACRL Board was also discussing the question of scheduling meetings, including virtual meetings; there would probably not be any set policy at this point, simply suggestions.

Proposed ACRL dues increase: It was agreed that a dues increase was needed, although there was concern about the potential impact on younger librarians, as well as on those who belong (or would like to belong) to multiple ALA divisions or other organisations. One suggestion was that ALA make it possible for members to pay their dues in installments.

Removal of ACRL meeting exclusion times: Tom stated that ACRL’s lifting of its exclusion times, which had restricted the scheduling of meetings, was much welcomed and appreciated.

Congratulations and thanks: Megan Bielefeld (ACRL Program Coordinator) was thanked for her help with the 2005 WESS Program planning. Mary Jane Petrowski (ACRL Associate Director) was thanked for her help with WESS business.

Deadlines: Because of the importance of meeting ALA and ACRL deadlines, Executive Committee members thought that it would be helpful to have convenient access to a list of relevant timetables.

AV requests: Pam confirmed that it was acceptable to cancel an equipment request after the submission deadline should any equipment turn out not to be needed. Any problems with equipment should be reported to ACRL as well as to the WESS chair.

ALA strategic plan

The following suggested additions were discussed:

  1. Assessing and addressing the challenge of Google Scholar and other mass projects should be incorporated into the wording of the strategic plan.
  2. In recruitment, the plan should refer not only to the need for more certified school librarians but also to the shortage of qualified academic librarians, including subject specialists.
  3. The text should address international and multilingual collections, perhaps in the context of Goal III, point 4.

Frankfurt Book Fair

Tom reported on WESS and ACRL representation at the Frankfurt Book Fair, which had been described as a very worthwhile experience. The critical support of the ACRL stipends to attend the fair was recognised, and the process of selecting stipend awardees was discussed.

WESSWeb committee roster

Senior WESSWeb editor Reinhart Sonnenburg reported that he had complied with the request by ACRL to refrain from putting up a separate WESSWeb committee roster. Comparing experiences with the information since that time, frustration was expressed over the more complex navigation, the sometimes inaccurate information, and the requirement of a password. The participants in the discussion (which was to be continued in the Publications Committee meeting) believed that access to such information should be open to everyone, not restricted as it currently was.


Editor: Sarah G. Wenzel

Association of College & Research Libraries
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