Executive Committee Minutes - 2007 Midwinter

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WESS Executive Meeting--Approved Minutes
Monday January 23, 2007, 10:30-12:30
Seattle: Grand Hyatt, Douglas Boardroom

Paula Carns took the minutes.

Tom Izbicki (Johns Hopkins); John Cullars (University of Illinois, Chicago); Bryan Skib (University of Michigan); Emily Stambaugh (University of California, Riverside); Charlene Kellsey (University of Colorado, Boulder); Sarah G. Wenzel (Columbia); Hank Harken (Arizona State University); Rebecca Malek-Wiley (Tulane University); Sarah How (Cornell University); Michael Seadle (Humboldt Universität zu Berlin), Paul Vermouth (Harvard University); Timothy Shipe (University of Iowa); Brian Vetruba (Washington University); Jonathan Marner (Texas A&M University); Heleni Pedersoli (University of Maryland); Rowena Griem (Yale University); Mary Carr (ACRL) and Adam Burling (ACRL); Paula Carns (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign)

1. ACRL presidential candidate’s visit
The first item on the agenda was a visit from Erica Linke, Assoc. Dean of University Libraries at Carnegie Mellon University, who is one of two candidates for ACRL President. Erica had two goals in meeting with WESS: to tell us about her priorities as ACRL president and to hear our concerns about the place of WESS in ACRL. As ACRL president Erica would focus on 3 main priorities: 1. she would stress the importance of advocacy for libraries in higher education and training in advocacy for librarians; 2. she is very interested in scholarly communication and the roles that libraries play in this area and as president would stress that more work be done in this changing area; 3. Erica is also concerned about recruitment to the profession of academic librarianship and would work to make ACRL more welcoming and meaningful to new librarians. In the second part of her talk, Erica asked WESS “What are our issues?” We replied that recruitment to the profession and to WESS is extremely important to us and gave her a brief summary of our recruitment strategies. We also pointed out to her that WESS is relatively unique in ACRL in that we are subject-focused (as opposed to ACRL, which tends stress reference and instruction). As such, we often have difficulty relating our initiatives to the ACRL strategic plan. Erica assured us that ACRL is trying to be a home for academic librarians who are subject specialists. Another concern is the North American bias of ACRL’s strategic plan, which does not fit well with our European concentration. Erica acknowledged this concern but replied that ACRL is informing librarianship throughout the world and be informed by libraries worldwide. Erica would be happy to answer question or listen to concerns and can be reached by email at erika.linke@andrew.cmu.edu.

2. Approval of Minutes & Introductory Remarks
We approved the minutes from Annual 2006 in New Orleans with the proviso that a few spelling mistakes be corrected.

Bryan reminded committee chairs, discussion group chairs and the secretary to please send minutes to Adam Burling at ACRL by Feb. 12, 2007. He encouraged these individuals also to share minutes with WESS by posting them to WESS Web and the WESS Newsletter. At one point informally approval minutes for Executive Committee meetings were acceptable for the Newsletter and may continue to be so. It was suggested that a separate posting location outside of the Newsletter be created for minutes. Everyone agreed that a more permanent location for WESS agendas and minutes might be a good idea. No action on this idea was taken.

3. Hosting of Committee websites (Brian Vetruba)
Brian Vetruba spoke on the problem of having committee websites on restricted domains that are accessible only to the chair and suggested the possibility of having more permanent sites that are freely available to all WESS members. He mentioned that RBMS has achieved this with some funding, though he was not sure about the nature of the funding. We all agreed that finding a stable, permanent web presence open to many in the organization would be best. Moreover we were all in favor of consistency of form and content across these pages. But how to achieve this? And who will host it? We proposed that Reinhart Sonnenburg, WESS Web editor, and others look at this matter and report their findings at Annual 2007. Michael Seadle offered to discuss the issue with Dick Hacken , Brian Vetruba and Rheinhart Sonneburg over email.

4. Budget, Fundraising Priorities, and Vendor Relations (Emily Stambaugh et al.)
Emily Stambaugh reported that the 2007 budget is doing well. Two of our supporters have already donated. The Fundraising Committee continues to look for new donors, which they will add to their growing donor database. The Committee is seeking funding for European speakers for Annual 2008 in Anaheim. The committee is also researching the possibility of receiving gifts-in-kind.

Emily spoke about options for acknowledging the generosity of our donors, as mentioned at the General Membership Meeting. The committee is trying to improve how they recognize donor support. Feb. 28th is the deadline for donors to be recognized in WESS Newsletter.

The Fundraising Committee seeks new members who can serve as apprentices in the fundraising process and then can take over the leadership when the current committee rolls over.

Another item that Emily brought up and that was discussed at length was the development of travel support for professional development, such to international book fairs and library conferences. Emily stated that vendors are interested in supporting travel for us and they want to see continuing connections between themselves and WESS. The question is: What to fund? And how? Through a special committee? Those present suggested that we need a group to look into these issues and felt that the Research and Publication Committee was best suited for the task. First, a charge for this task must be written and then presented to the committee. An email exchange, preferable before Annual 2007, was thought best. For their part the Research and Publication Committee will try to come up with an outline for the process by Annual 2007. Individuals on Coutts-Nijhoff and book fair & study tours committee should be able to offer help. Another vehicle for input might be WESS-L or even the Newsletter. It was suggests that an informal group still go to the Frankfurt Fair and report back to WESS, an idea which found warm support.

5. Mentoring of New WESS Members (Rowena Griem)
Rowena expanded on her presentation at the General Membership Meeting about the Membership committee’s plans for a multi-tiered mentoring program for new and continuing members. The mentoring program will not replicate existing ones, such as offered by ALA and ACRL. Paula Carns is developing a web page for the program, which should be up before Annual 2007. With regards to new members, the program will assign to each new member a buddy who will contact them and offer advice on becoming involved in WESS and navigating ALA conferences. The committee feels that the nature of each mentor-mentee relationship should be left up to the individuals. However, the expectations of both roles should be clearly defined. After the pilot project for new WESS members has begun, the WESS Membership Committee will revisit mentoring for job-related issues.

Those present responded with the following comments. Dick Hacken mentioned the role that the "Personal & Institutional News" column of the WESS Newsletter can have in showcasing new members. It was stressed that the program should not be a means to help librarians find jobs, nor a clearinghouse for problem-solving, but rather a guide for job development and growth.

Heleni’s mention of retirees lead to a brief discussion of how WESS might capture the wisdom of senior members and keep in touch with them after retirement. No charge was made in this direction. We agreed to return to the idea at Annual 2007.

6. 2007 Frankfurt (and Other) Book Fairs (Bryan Skib et al.)
Bryan Skib heard from Jeff Garrett that some of the vendors and institutions who gave money to the GNARP conference would be willing to fund another booth at the Frankfurt Fair. Financial support for the fair is needed, as ACRL no longer provides money for it. Those present discussed this offer. The major question was: Do we want to continue funding the Fair or look for other venues? There was support for funding the Fair, particularly in the form of stipends. There was also enthusiasm for looking for other ways of using the money, such as for career development activities like attending international conferences, etc. Proponents of this view emphasized that we should consider the offer within the context of WESS development in general. These individuals felt that WESS should only take money if there is a purpose and plan in mind for it. Someone suggested that we should develop a committee, such as the committee for the Coutts-Nijhoff award, to administer the funds. The Research and Planning committee will look into the matter and get back to Bryan. Bryan and Sarah W. will also discuss the matter. For this year we will continue with the stipends for the Frankfurt Fair. Bryan will also approach Beau Case about continuing his role as Fair organizer and guide.

Update on next potential Study Tour. With the departure of Marilen Daum from the Goethe Institute, we wonder if they will still be providing funding for another study tour. WESS will need to cultivate a new liaison at the Institute.

7. Next potential WESS international conference. Those present unanimously voted to create a formal ad hoc committee with Ann Snoeyenbos (Project MUSE) as the chair for the planning of an international conference in 2010. The committee will approach RBMS and other ACRL sections about a joint conference. The committee’s initial charge is to determine the place, time, and theme of the conference. They will report on their finding by Annual 2007.

The problem of appointing members from different sections to the committee was raised. How will the WESS Chair-Elect appoint members from another section? Bryan and Sarah Wenzel will discuss this issue over email.

8. New WESS Brochure
Michael Seadle presented the status of the new WESS brochure (the one that will conform to ACRL standards). On Sunday January 21, 2007 the Publications Committee decided on sepia as the color (for its connotations of old photographs) and an image of a globe showing primarily Europe as the design (represents all WESS areas). For the interior of the brochure the committee selected from a small pool of images own by ACRL: an image of an antique map of Europe, an image of a computer keyboard and open book (text indecipherably) and a medieval interior. Michael and Sarah passed around the images and text. The next step is for the Publications Committee to review and approve the proofs. See Appendix for images.

9. WESS Manual Revision Needed (http://www.dartmouth.edu/~wessweb/manual/index.html)
Bryan suggested that this would be a good time to revise the WESS manual and bylaws, especially as ACRL is presently thinking of making structural changes to the organization. How best to do this? Minor corrections (such as spelling, etc.) should be done by the committee chairs before Annual 2007. The more substantive alterations will need to wait until Annual 2007, as the membership needs to vote on changes to the bylaws. WESS should come up with a plan for updating the bylaws at Annual 2007. Bryan reminded us that our bylaws shouldn’t contradict ACRL rules. And we should make sure that there is consistency between our bylaws and the manual. Bryan would like all to send him a list of substantive changes and an ad hoc committee will meet at Annual2007 to review the changes.

10. ACRL Section News (Adam Burling, Mary Carr, Bryan Skib and Sarah Wenzel)
ACRL is in the process of making structural changes that will align better with its strategic plan. The Board is engaged in a multi-year process of examining ACRL’s structure including reviewing committees and sections as well as reviewing its own composition and process for nominations. To date they have performed the following actions: conducted research, created an action plan, launched an environmental scan, coordinated the creation of committees, given more autonomy to units in the use of funds, expanded the role and transparency of nominations and increased honorarium for conference program speakers. The reason for these structural changes is the perception that many sections might be too formal to react quickly to changes in the profession. ACRL is considering the creation of interest groups for some initiatives, as they are more dynamic. Soon ACRL will be sending out the environmental scan that will ask individuals and sections about top issues in academic librarianship.

Bryan also reminded us that action plans for fiscal year 2009 must be submitted to ACRL by July 15, 2007. In these plans WESS needs to explain how WESS’s plans relate to ACRL’s.

Mary Carr, our liaison to ACRL, suggested that we send proposals to ACRL for funds, such as to help with our mentoring activities and other initiatives of importance, and told us to mention how these activities fit in with ACRL’s strategic plan.

Adam Burling suggest that we make a priority of updating the website.

WESS representatives are need at the upcoming ACRL’s meeting in Baltimore in March 2007. Sarah Wenzel and Heleni Pederosi will be going and will act as representatives.

11. Matters arising
Bryan requested that we tell him about our needs for Annual 2007.

We approved a motion that Sarah Wenzel send a letter of gratitude to Marilen Daum of the Goethe Institute for her help with organizing our study tours. Marilen has been transferred to New Delhi.

Globe for cover of the WESS brochure

Images for the interior of the WESS brochure

WESSWeb > WESS Committees > Executive Committee > 2007 Midwinter Minutes

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