Recruitment Committee Minutes - 2006 Midwinter (Virtual Mtg.)

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WESS Recruitment to the Profession Committee

Virtual Midwinter Meeting, Jan. 9–14, 2006


The WESS Committee on Recruitment to the Profession met asynchronously, via e-mail, January 9-14, 2006. Members of the committee were polled for agenda items in mid-December, and a final agenda was distributed on January 4. All nine members of the committee participated actively in the virtual meeting. All agreed that meeting via e-mail worked well and is a viable alternative to a face-to-face meeting at Midwinter.

Since its meeting at ALA annual, the committee has accomplished the following:

  • Final revisions to its recruitment Web site were made. The site’s URL is
  • Final revisions were made to the committee’s on-line toolkits for conducting recruitment presentations on campus (e.g., at college career fairs) and at meetings of learned societies. The toolkits were subsequently installed on the committee’s website.
  • A news release describing the committee’s purpose, its Web site, and the toolkits was revised and distributed electronically to: American Libraries, C&RL News, JAL, LJ, ACLS, ACTFL, ARL, AAU, Council of Graduate Schools, CLIR, H-Net, and the Chronicle of Higher Education. The news release gave the name and contact information of a committee member who would field questions. The committee was disappointed that these postings generated only a half-dozen inquiries. However, it is worth noting that the committee’s Web site has seen a high volume of traffic. Since mid-October, when a counter was installed, the site has averaged 4 visits per day and 19 visits per week. On its busiest day (November 23), the site received 39 visits; and during its busiest week, there were 130 visitors.
  • Committee member Brian Vetruba published an article in the Fall WESS Newsletter about the University of South Florida’s ALSTARS program (Academic Librarians for Tomorrow's Academic Researchers), which aims to address the shortage of subject and language specialists. He has also been participating in a newly established internship program at his institution for humanities graduate students wishing to explore academic library careers.

Between now and ALA annual, the committee will work on the following projects:

  • Further distribute the news release mentioned above, especially to relevant learned societies in the humanities and social sciences. We hope that this will lead to more inquiries about academic library careers than the few received so far (FRED, with help from the rest of us, if he gets inundated with questions).
  • Get as many relevant organizations and groups, both library and scholarly, as possible to link to the committee’s Web site (DALE, KAREN, and TODD).
  • Gather data about retirements, turnover, and a perceived lack of entry-level jobs in academic libraries, and provide appropriate discussion of all this on the committee’s Web site (CHARLENE, ROBERT, LAURA DALE, and BRIAN).
  • Research and compile a list of other library organizations and learned societies with which the committee might begin collaborating on recruitment activities after the ALA annual meeting (JERRY, KAREN, and LAURA DALE).

It is rewarding and enjoyable to chair this committee, but I am now in my second year of doing so. Regular turnover among committee chairs is healthy and desirable. During the next few months, therefore, members of the committee will explore who might serve as chair after ALA annual. Assistance in this regard from the WESS Executive Committee would be welcome.

Once again, I have the pleasure of thanking members of the committee for their continued diligence, thoughtfulness, and sense of humor. The committee’s next meeting will be at ALA annual, in New Orleans.

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