WESS Executive Committee Meeting

Laura Dale Bischof, Secretary

WESS Newsletter
Spring 2006
Vol. 29, no. 2

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WESS Executive Committee Meeting
ALA 2006 Midwinter Meeting, San Antonio

Monday, January 23, 2006



Gordon Anderson (University of Minnesota, Twin Cities); Helene Baumann (Duke University); Laura Dale Bischof (University of Minnesota, Twin Cities); Bryan Baldus (Quality Books, Inc.); Paula Mae Carns (University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign; Dominique Coulombe (Brown University); John Cullars (University of Illinois, Chicago); Charlotte Droll (Wright State University); Dick Hacken (Brigham Young University); Hank Harken (Arizona State University); Pamela Harris (Swarthmore); Sarah How (Cornell); Thomas Izbicki (John Hopkins); Charlene Kellsey (University of Colorado, Boulder); Jeffry Larson (Yale); Thea Lindquist (University of Colorado, Boulder); David Lincove (Ohio State University); Rebecca R. Malek-Wiley (Tulane University); Bede Mitchell, ACRL Board (Georgia Southern University); Mary Jane Petrowski, ACRL;  Louis Reith (Georgetown University); Bryan Skib (University of Michigan); Reinhart Sonnenburg (Dartmouth College); Emily Stambaugh (University of California, Riverside); Paul Vermouth (Harvard); Brian Vetruba (Washington University); Sarah G. Wenzel (Columbia)

1) Approval of Minutes from ALA Annual 2005 in Chicago

WESS chair Helene Baumann made a motion to approve the minutes from Annual 2005. Sarah Wenzel seconded. Minutes approved.

2) Membership Committee (David Lincove)

WESS membership statistics reported by ACRL as of November 2005 show that membership increased by 1.85% or 11 additional members compared with a year earlier.  The entire increase came from 12 new personal memberships, while 1 institution dropped its membership.  Total membership stands at 605 (561 personal, 40 institutional, 4 corporate).

David Lincove gave an in-depth report about the WESS Cruise planned for ALA Annual in New Orleans. It will be a private cruise on the John James Audubon, operated by the New Orleans Steamboat Company. The boat is docked in an easily accessible location at the foot of Canal Street. There is a 75 person minimum. The cost is $48 per person for a menu with a variety of foods, tea and coffee. (David will ask about water.) Sodas and alcohol are available at the cash bar. We owe the non-refundable deposit 14 days in advance.  Entertainment will be provided by a 3 piece Jazz band that is included in the per person price.  David estimates 120 party goers; as usual we will also offer free tickets to 5 new WESS members (first come, first serve) and a maximum of 15 free vendor representatives. If we have 100 paying guests, at $35 per person, we will need to fund-raise $2,260 from vendors. An early-bird rate of $35 will run until April 15, $40 thereafter. In accordance with the ACRL policy, all funds need to be collected one month in advance of the event, i.e. May 25, 2006.  There is an extra ALA processing charge for checks and credit cards that we will be absorbed through all funds collected.

The Membership Committee proposed that any extra profit be donated to a relief fund for hurricane victims. There was great support for this commendable suggestion and several ideas for implementation. We could have a voluntary donation line on the cruise application. If ACRL would agree, we could simply transfer the balance to a relief organization. John Cullars and Gordon Anderson think that any leftover money will be absorbed by ACRL. ACRL might be willing to make a donation on our behalf. Emily Stambaugh suggests that we have a separate kitty on the cruise -- this would simplify the accounting process. Mary Jane Petrowski needs to be consulted. We also need to ask ACRL about the two-tier pricing, one price for early-bird ($35) and another price for regular registration ($40). Publicity about early-bird registration will be announced first on WESS-L.

3) Fundraising Committee (Emily Stambaugh)

Emily handed out spread sheets for estimated and actual expenditures as well as a donor list. The donor list was divided up among the committee members. The donor list contains the usual donors as well as outside organizations. If we decide to revise the WESS brochure, the cost will need to be integrated into the budget.

Emily had two main questions: 1) what are our priorities? and 2) in general, what do we want to fund and to what extent?

There was a discussion about the newsletter, paper versus online versions. The paper newsletter is no longer the copy of record -- do we need those extra pages in the print version? ACRL only gives us enough money for 4 pages.  We might need to rethink funding the extra pages from our own budget. It was suggested that we conduct a mini-survey of the membership about this matter. There was a survey in the early 1990s about this issue, and there must be a copy of the results in the WESS archives.

Emily stressed that we need to examine all WESS activities and prioritize them. Could this be done through voting or a survey? WESS also needs to centralize fundraising and utilize a uniform approach. We need to track fundraising, creating a historical clearing house of fundraising activities in order to know which donors to approach in the future. WESS members should contact Emily before approaching vendors and let her know if we have specific contacts with certain vendors. We need to avoid the major players, e.g. ProQuest or Gale, since this could conflict with ACRL fundraising.

Emily will keep track of payments. With the new donation form, checks or credit cards are preferred and payments will be sent to Emily directly.

Charlotte Droll suggested that WESS try the focus group format to determine our priorities. In her experience, this has worked well with other ACRL section (e.g. Literatures in English). Active conversation was very a good approach.  Perhaps one of our flexible group meetings (Special Topics? General Membership? Other?) could also be used to discuss priorities.

At this point, Mary Jane Petrowski, our ACRL staff liaison, arrived and was welcomed to our meeting. Mary Jane will check with ACRL about the WESS fundraising idea for the Annual 2006 cruise in New Orleans. Could WESS fundraise through a designated box for donations on the cruise registration form or could WESS take surplus profits and donate them?  Mary Jane reminded the group that ACRL staff time is billable. ACRL employees must account for their work in 15 minute units. If WESS makes a profit with the cruise, it won't come close to paying for the staff time spent processing payments etc. There are banking fees for credit card transactions that are not covered by the extra fees to customers, i.e. the ACRL membership. Therefore any surplus goes towards overhead.

Mary Jane pointed out that ALA has its own fundraising campaign for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. See www.ala.org.

Mary Jane will clarify the matter of credit card charges for WESS cruise payments with ACRL and get back to Helene.

4) Collaborative Initiative for French and North American Libraries (CIFNAL) (Sarah Wenzel)

Since Sarah Wenzel spoke at length about this topic at the General Membership meeting, the Executive Committee decided to go on to the next agenda item.

5) Next WESS International Conference? 2008 or 2010? Where?

At the beginning of the discussion John Cullars mentioned that the ACRL Rare Books and Manuscripts Section (RBMS) is planning to host an international conference in Oxford in 2010. Would ACRL be able to sponsor two international conferences in the same year? Mary Jane will take this question forward to ACRL.

Would it be possible to hold a joint international conference? John Cullars said registration limits would hinder cooperation between RBMS and WESS in 2010. Should WESS go for a meeting in 2012 or 2008? 2008 seemed too soon for those attendees who had toiled for the Paris conference.

The group charged Ann Snoeyenbos with following up with Dr. Robert McNamee, Manager of Electronic Development,Voltaire Foundation at the University of Oxford, who had suggested that WESS consider holding its next international conference in Oxford.

6) Replacing lost ACRL funding for Frankfurt Book Fair: potential GNARP-WESS Meeting in Frankfurt

Helene Baumann reminded the group that ACRL has dropped funding for the Frankfurt International Book Fair, starting with 2006.  Under the leadership of Jeff Garrett, the chair of GNARP (German North-American Resources Partnership), GNARP and the University of Frankfurt Library are organizing a two day conference in Frankfurt during the 2006 Book Fair.  GNARP is expecting up to 30 participants from North America.  Jeff Garrett has been working to get funding for a booth. Once gain, this discussion begged the question: what are WESS priorities for fundraising?

7) Publications Committee: new WESS brochure? (Sarah How)

Sarah How reported that WESS plans an in-house update of the old WESS brochure using the old format and updated information.

Mary Jane reported that ACRL has money earmarked in its budget to update all section brochures. There will be some commonality, but most of the brochure is section specific. For instance, the new brochures will include testimony from members, a good marketing tool. It will be a six-panel brochure with only one panel dedicated to ACRL; WESS' own artwork and colors may be used.  The brochure must articulate the benefits and mission of section. Templates for the new ACRL section brochures will be sent out to the chairs of the membership committee. As of Sept. 1, 2006 money will be available to produce new section brochures. In WESS the brochure responsibilities have traditionally belonged to the Publications Committee.  Sarah How noted that WESS will need to work on this. WESS brochure has many functions, one of which is a membership recruitment tool.

Kati Radics asked what is more important on the brochure, the ACRL or WESS logo?

Mary Jane: if the ACRL logo isn't prominent enough, it's hard to tell if the section belongs to ACRL or not. The graphic designer could play around with design. Graphic design layout begins in December 2006. WESS can have more than one brochure, but will need to send a draft to ACRL for the official 2007 membership brochure. ACRL will send it out the section brochure to potential members. It could be that there will not be enough space on the official brochure to list all of the WESS conferences -- this content becomes quickly outdated in any case.

Sarah Wenzel announced that the new newsletter editor is Paul Vermouth. Please help him and give him content -- deadline is February 27, 2006. 2007 is 30th anniversary of newsletter, and the Publications Committee is considering a celebratory event.

Bruce Swan is digitizing earlier issues of the WESS newsletter. He had to search for the earliest issues.

Reinhart Sonnenburg reported that the WESS web site is in good shape. The French pages were revised last summer. RSS feeds/wikis, blogs, and such are under discussion by the WESS editors. The 2002 WESS brochure is on WESSWeb as a pdf.

The new ACRL Online Community will be activated for the Publications Committee.

8) Research and Planning re Internships and Exchanges with European librarians (Charlene Kellsey)

Hank Harkin and Charlene Kellsey passed out a draft web site aimed at foreign librarians and library school students who are seeking internship or exchange opportunities in North America. They invited suggestions and comments about the format and content. Reinhart Sonnenburg will get it on WESSWeb soon. Jeffry Larson will be visiting Lyon in March and would like to take the link along. Hank and Charlene plan to develop an online form for potential interns.

9) Coutts-Nijhoff Report (Tom Izbicki)

Tom reported that the jury met on Saturday morning. There were nine applications, and it was a very hard decision.

WESS manual has detailed criteria for the Coutts-Nijhoff award, but the ACRL web site describes the award and requirements in very general terms. ACRL web site needs to reflect the requirement that applicants must be able to do their research work in the time allotted.

Furthermore, there needs to be carry-over on the Coutts Nijhoff Awards committee. At least one member should serve at least two years to ensure continuity. The awards committee should have at least two WESS members-at-large. The winners from the previous year could be on the jury the next year.

John Cullars pointed out that the applicants need to have finite project, but can demonstrate on their applications that they can support themselves for research afterward.

The award is very generous. Can the winner stay longer if they are economical and if they can indicate that they can execute the project with effective methodology in the time allotted?

Charlene Kellsey suggested that a topic for a future Research and Planning meeting could be how to write an application for the Coutts-Nijhoff award.

Gordon Anderson suggested that the Coutts-Nijhoff award support two grants instead of one. EURO 4,500 is a lot of money.

10) ACRL Sections Council News

Bede Mitchell, our representative from the ACRL board, had left the meeting by this time. Mary Jane Petrowski clarified that all money allocated to ACRL activities, e.g. the cruise, must be spent. Such money is not carried over. Sections, however, can bank money for future events such as was the case with the Paris conference.

11) New: ALA Online Community Software. Possibilities for WESS Executive?

Helene Baumann encouraged everyone to try out the ALA Online Community software.

Sarah Wenzel pointed out that the terms and conditions are restrictive -- ALA will own the content of the community.

12) Looking towards New Orleans

Due to time restraints, this agenda item was passed over.

13) Open Forum, remaining issues

The 2007 ACRL national meeting will be in Baltimore. The deadline for papers is May 10th. This should be announced on WESS-L in order to promote WESS attendance. In the past, WESS members who went to ACRL met at the meeting for a social event. It was suggested that WESS members host a Round-Table at ACRL. The deadlines are later for round-tables, and it is easier to get them approved.

Thea Lindquist encouraged the idea that WESS start a mentorship program for new WESS members. When Thea was chair of the membership committee, the committee planned a survey of the membership to see what sort of mentoring would be the most effective; however, the survey was never implemented. Maybe the Membership committee can reconsider this. RBMS has a successful mentorship program.

Mary Jane will ask the several ACRL sections with membership committees to share information about their projects.

Bryan Skib suggested that WESS have a liaison with the ALA New Members round-table. Other ALA units have programs in place that we could consider.

The meeting adjourned at 12:30 p.m.

Submitted by Laura Dale Bischof, WESS Secretary

Editor: Paul Vermouth

Association of College & Research Libraries
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