2008 Spring - Personal & Institutional News

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Column Editor: Richard Hacken

Vol. 31, no. 2

WESSWeb > WESS Newsletter > Spring 2008 > Personal & Institutional News

A library conference referred to casually as "ALA Midwinter 2008" found us, many of us, us WESSies, us Band of Brothers, us Sorority of Sisters, in the City of Brotherly Love (where Sisterly Love was just as prevalent).
An exciting biblio-journalistic-archaeological discovery was made even as WESSies communed with committees, with each other, and with relatively balmy January weather: renovations in the basement of Christ Church, where Ben Franklin once prepared some potato salad for a 1776 summer pick-nick disrupted by independence, uncovered an unpublished leaf from “Poor Richard’s Almanack.”
The WESS Newsletter is proud to list, for the first time in print anywhere, the top-ten names for "Philadelphia" that were under late-18th-century consideration for renaming (or retaining). Only one (naturally) could be chosen: how different would American history be if one of the other names had been chosen as a replacement?
1. Philadelphia (City of Brotherly Love)
2. Villa Delphia (City of Fancy Oracles)
3. Fila della Vita (City of Long Lines)
4. Felipe de la Fea (City of Ugly Children)
5. Fill a Delft, Yeah (City of Large Ceramic Jugs)
6. Filo del Vino (City of Merlot-Infused Spanakopita)
7. Veal a Shelf, Yo (City of Politically Incorrect Meat Products)
8. Viele Talfische (City of Good Angling)
9. Full O’Dolphins, Eh (City Dedicated to Grand Porpoises and Canadian Friendship)
10. Feel a TVA (City of Anticipated Water Reclamation Projects)
You're welcome.
Now, for more relevant WESS personal and institutional news, the following entries are arranged in reverse alphabetical order by family name of the individual scrutinized or reported about:
Our colleague and friend Barbara Walden* has retired from the University of Wisconsion-Madison libraries. To save WESS electrons, which are strictly rationed, please click here for an official announcement posted on February 29, 2008 by Mary Rader. February 29 only comes around every four years, but a WESSie like Barbara is even rarer and more appreciated. May she leap to years of well-earned fulfillment at the top rung of Maslow's hierarchy. We wish her good times, health and happiness as she turns her energies to her own pursuits.
-* And now she will have more time to enjoy the natural wonders of Walden Pond.
At the end of March Sem Sutter left the cozy confines of the University of Chicago and flew off to the Danubian destination of Vienna for a conference, "Bibliotheken in der NS-Zeit: Provenienzforschung und Bibliotheksgeschichte." This conference was sponsored and run by the Universitätsbibliothek Wien and the Wienbibliothek im Rathaus, where Sem read a paper on "H. A. Krüss and Gustav Abb as Library Administrators in Occupied Territories."
Margit Smith's university, the University of San Diego (USD), often gets mistaken for UCSD (University of California San Diego), which those at USD refer to as the "other" university in town. They are a private, Catholic institution with about 7,000 students. One of the most exciting events there was the opening last year of their newest school, the School for Peace Studies, which includes the Joan B. Kroc Institute of Peace and Justice and the Transborder Institute. The School’s and Institute’s emphasis is on being actively involved in peace-building and peace-making processes around the world through mediation and dialogue. Margit is especially fortunate to have been the bibliographer/library liaison to the Institute for Peace and Justice since its inception 6 years ago and serves now in the same capacity for the School of Peace Studies. Since her second master’s degree is in International Relations, she could not ask for a better assignment. (She also does collection development for French and Italian.)
Some of you may have heard her presentation at ALA meetings and learned that she is deeply immersed in the study of medieval girdle books. To date she has seen, surveyed and documented all of them, has found one that had not been listed yet, and has collected enough material to start writing in earnest. To this end the University has granted her another 6-month sabbatical leave this fall during which she can devote her time fully to putting this together into at least a draft for a book. She's very excited about that. The only interruption will be her trip to the Anna Amalia Bibliothek in Weimar in September to attend the annual meeting of the Arbeitskreis für die Erfassung, Erschliessung und Erhaltung mittelalterlicher Bucheinbände. She is in the process of writing an article about the girdle* books that were owned by women for their publication EinbandForschung.
In all.. a very satisfying year, with plenty of interesting work to keep her busy, and she looks forward to the Annual in Anaheim – just up the street!
--*Your editor has already taken advantage of the term girdle book for unwarranted mirth on another occasion; thus, he shall, at present, hold his tongue and pen and cursor.
Michael Seadle is beginning his 4th semester of teaching at the Institut für Bibliotheks- und Informationswissenschaft in Berlin (and his 4th semester as director). A new professor has arrived, Stefan Gradmann from Hamburg, who brings a wealth of European projects and contacts to the Institute. Seadle and his people also have had discussions about collaboration with ENSSIB (Ecole nationale supérieure des sciences de l'information et des bibliothèques) and have an active collaboration with the University of Michigan.
Their students are doing well too. Elke Greifeneder won the VFI-Förderungspreis for the best master's thesis is Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. Elke is now a wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin (Lecturer) at the Institute.
Michael had imagined that he would have more free time to travel -- after all, Germans get 6 weeks of vacation -- but other than a few quick trips to the US to visit aging relatives and travel to various meetings, he spends his time in Berlin.. Not such a bad fate, actually!
Louis Reith of Georgetown* University participated in a panel discussion on the topic "Why Choose Germany?" at the German Embassy in Washington, D.C., on Friday, March 14, 2008. The symposium was sponsored by the DAAD German Academic Exchange Service, auf deutsch, Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst. The topic for discussion was "(Re)Discovering Germany: The Ideal Study, Work, and Research Destination." Other panel members included: Kai Schachtebeck, Deputy Head of the Cultural Affairs Dept. of the German Embassy; Adam Hunter, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and Dept. of Homeland Security; Bradley Shingleton, General Counsel of Deutsche Telekom, Inc.; and Erika Hamalainen, American University, DAAD Young Ambassador 2007/08 - the latter spoke movingly of her year as a high senior in a German Gymnasium.
Louis has also received notice from ABC-CLIO that he is mentioned in the company's newsletter for ABC-CLIO abstractors, "In the Abstract," as one of five abstractors who have served for 30 years in that capacity. Louis' current abstracting duties involve the Zeitschrift fuer deutsche Landeskunde and St. Bonaventure University's house organ Cythara.
When not otherwise occupied with the above mentioned activities, Louis sings I Bass with The Washington Chorus, writes program notes for the Embassy Series - most recently at the Israeli and Russian embassies - and serves as regular organist on Sunday mornings for a West African immigrant Lutheran Church and on Sunday afternoons as pianist for "Iglesia Luterana Santa Maria" near Dupont Circle, the latter congregation consisting mostly of El Salvadorean and Mexican immigrants.
Louis' most outrageous political activity in this most political town was meeting and conversing with Prof. Samantha Power of Harvard University at a book-signing talk in Politics & Prose Bookstore - barely two weeks before she resigned as Sen. Barak Obama's foreign policy advisor for an inadvertent highly charged political comment. If any of our WESSIE readers would be interested in some "historical" photos of Prof. Powers which, sadly, are by now no longer so historical, please contact him quietly and behind the scenes.
--*There is apparently no truth to rumors that the past eight years have convinced authorities to change the name "Georgetown" to something else, to almost anything else. After all, the good name and rep of "George" Washington still outweigh any relatively minor damage caused by the given name of a Texas cowboy.
Like Caesar, Tom Izbicki writes about himself in the third person. Not wishing to invoke imperial wrath, your column editor elects to retain that form of address:
Tom Izbicki is now a Humanities Librarian at the Alexander Library, Rutgers University. When not engaged in library business or raising money for WESS, there is time for scholarship. His latest book is a collection of his recent articles with Variorum: Reform, Ecclesiology and the Christian Life in the Late Middle Ages. Notice the trinitarian, triumvirate, triple orientation of Tom's title. This goes to prove there are three of him. The same three, known variously as he, himself, and him, fit handily into his new job description: Philosophy, Religion and Classics. 2008 will be a big year in the area of Izbickian scholarship: the Variorum collection previously and variously invoked; a co-edited collection of essays on church council for the Catholic University of America Press; and a translation volume of writings of Nicholas of Cusa in the I Tatti Renaissance Library, Harvard University Press*.
* Which adds up to... three.
After two years at Indiana University, Kate Brooks has moved on to colder pastures at the University of Minnesota, where she's now the librarian for French and Italian literature and West European Studies. In addition to learning the new job, a new city, and a whole new way of dressing (complicated layers), she has been working toward completion of the Literature section of the forthcoming database, Guide to Reference Sources, produced by ALA. Formerly known as Guide to Reference Books, this database will be the online equivalent of a twelfth edition. She has been collaborating on this with a former colleague from Indiana University since 2006, and her specific contributions are the non-English language resources: Literatures of Europe (including Classical literature), Literatures of Africa, Literatures of Latin America, Literatures of South America, Literatures of Central America, Literatures of the Caribbean, and Literatures of Asia. She's hoping to be done by the time the snow melts (yes, they still have snow beyond April Fool's Day) so that she can ride her bike around the lakes* with a clear conscience.
* Circumnavigating all of Minnesota's 10,000 lakes would take some time, but so does literary biblio-devotion.
Since last September (looking backward), and until the hiring of a Head of the Knowledge Commmons (looking forward to a reorganization of the University of Utah's Marriott Library sometime next year), Ceres Birkhead will continue to serve as Interim* Head of Reference. After that, she will be back to her usual duties, happily. So, it's a temporary position and accepted as such.
--*Your editor is convinced that "interim" is either an optometric or a basketball term meaning "between the rims."

WESSWeb > WESS Newsletter > Spring 2008 > Personal & Institutional News

Editor: Paul Vermouth (vermouth@fas.harvard.edu)

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