WESS New Members Page

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Why and How should I join WESS?

WESS contributes to the advancement of Western European studies both in North America and abroad. Through its programs, discussion groups, conferences, and publications, it furthers research on Western Europe and fosters collaborative projects. For librarians and other professionals, WESS provides a stimulating forum for discusssion and opportunities for professional enrichment.

Becoming a member of WESS is easy! WESS is a section of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), one of eleven divisions of the American Library Association (ALA). Membership in ACRL is separate from membership in ALA, but once you choose to become a member of ACRL, WESS is one of several "free" sections that you can elect to join. To join ALA , visit their homepage or contact the Chair of WESS' Membership Committee.


How can I get involved in WESS?

There are a number of steps that you can take to become more involved in WESS. They are:

1. Subscribe to WESS-L(wess-l@listserv.brown.edu ) where you will get announcement about WESS activities. To subscribe send an email to listserv@listserv.brown.edu, stating your name and preferred e-mail address or use the web interface at Brown Univeristy.

2. Subscribe to discussion group list-serves to participate in online discussions of pertinent topics, share information, and get to know colleagues with similar interests. Here is a list of discussion groups and instructions for subscribing.

3.Attend an ALA Conferences (more below).

How can I join a WESS Committee?

There are several ways to join a WESS committee. To discover the right committee for you, sit in on a meeting at ALA Annual or Midwinter. All committees, including the Executive Committee, welcome visitors. Or write or call the committee chair to inquire about its purpose and current activities. To officially join a committee, contact the vice-chair of WESS or fill out a volunteer form at ACRL Volunteer Form. The ACRL Volunteer Form requires that users log in to the ALA website. Click here for a list of committees and committee members.


How can I become involved in a WESS Discussion Group?

WESS discussion groups, unlike WESS committees, do not have set members other than the chair. Thus anyone can attend meetings and subscribe to the affiliated listserv. Here is a list of discussion groups and listservs. To become a discussion group chair, write the current one and tell them about your interest. The chair's contact information is found on the page listing the discussion groups.

How can I become an officer in WESS?

WESS is run by an Executive Committee composed of the chair, vice-chair (chair-elect), past chair, secretary, and a member-at-large. Officers rotate yearly. Here is a list of current officers. To become an officer, you must be a member of WESS and be nominated by the WESS nominating committee.

How can I find help with ALA conferences?

ALA Annual and Midwinter meetings can be overwhelming for new members. Here are some tips to ensure a meaningful and productive conference.

Tip 1: Know the difference between ALA Annual and Midwinter conferences. The Annual conference, which meets in mid-June somehwere in the U.S., features an extensive program of presentations, displays, and meetings. All WESS discussion groups and committees meet at this time. The Programming Committee hosts a presentation. The Membership Committee organizes a cruise (usually on Sunday night). The time, location and cost of the cruise are announced on WESS listservs well before the conference.

The Midwinter conference, which meets in mid-January somewhere in the U.S., is primarily a business meeting for committees and for planning the annual conference. Not all WESS discussion groups meet, nor offer presentations at this time. Some hold virutal meetings via email. There is no WESS program at Midwinter.

Tip 2: Know the schedule. The WESS schedule is posted on the WESSWeb under WESS Conference Information a month or so before the conference. Many WESS events are also listed on ALA's conference wiki in the section for the conference. Generally speaking, at both the Annual and Midwinter meetings, WESS activities happen Saturday through Monday. On Saturday and Sunday committees and discussion groups meet. On Monday the general membership gatherts to report happenings of interest, including recent conference events, and discuss important issues. Afterwards is the meeting of the Executive Committee, which is open to all. At the Annual conference, on Sunday night, the Membership Committee hosts a social gathering, usually a cruise. The time, location and cost of the cruise are announced on WESSWeb and WESS listservs well before the conference. On Monday, the WESS program takes place and usually features presentations relating either to the conference city or a current hot topic.

Tip 3: Rely on a "buddy" in WESS to help. WESS offers a buddy program for all new members. Shortly after each new member joins, a "buddy" will contact him or her. One way the "buddy" can help is by giving advice on ALA conferences and, if possible, by meeting with the inidividual at the conference. At present WESS does not offer a formal mentoring program. However, many WESS members are keen to serve unofficially in this capacity. The best ways to find a mentor to help with the conference is through WESS Listservs or the WESS Directory, through which members can target librarians with similar interests.


How can I get funding for a research paper?

The WESS De Gruyter European Librarianship Study Grant supports research in European studies with an emphasis on librarianship, the book trade, resource documentation and similar information-science related topics. The grant was established in 2011 by ACRL WESS under the sponsorship of the Walter de Gruyter Foundation for Scholarship and Research - Stiftung für Wissenschaft und Forschung.

For details, go to this page.

How can I contribute to WESSWeb?

WESSWeb needs people to develop new projects, to coordinate areas, to manage pages, and just to email us about interesting new URLs or new addresses for existing URLs. If you're interested in participating on any level, send a note to any of the people listed here. WESSWeb depends on volunteers.

How can I publish an essay in the WESS Newsletter?

WESS Newsletter is a great way to publish your ideas on Western European topics and librarianship. The Newsletter is available twice a year online. To submit an essay, contact the current editor whose information is at http://wessweb.info/index.php/WESS_Officers_2010-2011.

How can I become an editor of the WESS Newsletter?

The upcoming vacancy is announced in the WESS Newsletter. Applicants should send the WESS Chair an application with resume, a writing sample, a description of available hardware, software and local support (staff, time), and a statement of interest. The WESS Chair makes the selection in consultation with the Chair of the Publications Committee as well as with the Executive Committee. The editor may designate assistants without a formal selection process. The editor serves a 3-year renewable appointment. For more information, go to http://www.dartmouth.edu/~wessweb/manual/newslett.html.


What if I don't see myself here?'

If you don't see yourself in WESS, then contact an officer to discuss your interests or contact the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) to find another section that might better suit your interests.


This page is maintained by Paula Carns For comments and questions, contact her at pcarns@uiuc.edu

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