2008 Spring - Personal & Institutional News
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Column Editor: Richard Hacken
Vol. 31, no. 2
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where Ben Franklin once prepared some potato salad for a 1776 summer pick-nick disrupted by independence, uncovered an unpublished leaf from Poor Richard’s Almanack.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 Four names for "Philadelphia" that were originally under consideration. Only one (naturally) could be chosen: how different would American history be if one of the other names had been chosen?
Let's move on.
- 1. Philadelphia (City of Brotherly Love - the eventual winner)
- 2. Villa Delphia (City of Fancy Oracles - nominated by Greek immigrants)
- 3. Fill a Delft, Yeah (City of Large Ceramic Jugs - nominated by Dutch immigrants)
- 4. Viele Talfische (City of Good Angling - nominated by German immigrants)
- 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.
- * 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."*
- *Those with good memories will remember that Sem began research investigations of Nazi book thefts on the strength of a Nijhoff Study Grant in the closing years of the last millennium.
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!
Feuchte Wangen im Feuchtwanger-Archiv: the Feuchtwanger Archives at the University of Southern California are curated by our colleague and friend, Marje Schuetze-Coburn. The German emigré community that lived in Southern California during World War II is well documented in these archives, which are replete with unique and valuable research materials. But nobody will be studying these archives in the capacity of a German major, German minor, or even German professor in coming years: USC is shutting down its German Department.* The story from the Chronicle of Higher Education is found here.
- * It's not the first institution to trim Teutonic tutelage terribly, and it won't be the last.
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. Barack 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. Power 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.
Long-time WESS fixture and one-time WESS president Heleni Pedersoli, taking her leave of the library and of the College Park at the University of Maryland, is one of the triumphant triumvirate retiring this year (Barbara Walden and Charlie Fineman are the others, though there may be others: did I hear that Stephen Lehmann was also escaping the Penn?). Anyway, back to Heleni. She has been a remarkable and enthusiastic spark plug to our WESSin' engine.* She's the kind of person that just makes you smile when you see her (if you're not overly misanthropic and if you're into the smiling thing), because her pleasingly positive personality is just so blankety-blank contagious. We wish her Godspeed and a long life (yes, there is Life After WESS). See last Fall's issue for details on some of her latest scholarly work.
- * And did you know that Heleni and her family run a coffee plantation in Brazil? That is relatively rare among WESS members (less than 15% of us do).
Pending the University of Colorado at Boulder Regents' approval of tenure in June, Thea Lindquist will be on a six-month sabbatical from July to December and will use the time to wrap up a few research projects, including one on the Herzogin Anna Amalia Bibliothek's Fruchtbringende Gesellschaft publications. She'll spend three months in Weimar working on this project, courtesy of fellowships from the Klassik Stiftung Weimar and the University of Colorado's Center for Humanities and the Arts. This work builds upon that she undertook last year, thanks to the the ACRL/WESS Coutts Nijhoff International West European Specialist Study Grant. Maybe she'll make more headway on understanding the Thuringian dialect while she's there.*
- *Hey, it's been a challenge for her after spending so much time in the southern reaches of Bavaria and Austria.
Vendredi le 16 mai 2008 dans l'Amphithéâtre Liard de la Sorbonne (75005), Jeffry Larson (Yale) participera à une table ronde, "Les bibliothèques face aux moteurs de recherche" au cadre d'une Journée d’étude, "L’Economie et le Droit des moteurs de recherche" organisée par le Centre d’Economie de la Sorbonne (Paris 1), la Chaire Innovation et régulation des services numériques (Ecole polytechnique et Télecom ParisTech), et l'Institut Français de la Communication, Paris (Paris 1 – Ina). On lui fait savoir qu'à l'occasion du 40e anniversaire de Mai '68, on a renouvelé le slogan, "Paris, sous les pavés, la plage !" Dans cet esprit, il a accepté de se manifester au Quartier Latin lors des ides de Mai.*
- * Your assignment after May 16, 2008, is to change the verb forms and/or any other auxiliary forms, as needed, from the future tense to the tense your French 102 instructor would have considered appropriate. 87% of your grade will be determined by what you do with the second and third sentences.
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.
Liorah Golomb* is the Humanities Librarian at Ablah Library, Wichita State University. WSU has an enrollment of 14,000 FTE and is located in the modestly-sized metropolis of Wichita, Kansas, a pleasant, sun-drenched place with very affordable housing. Liorah's subject responsibilities are English, Modern and Classical Languages, Philosophy, and Religion. She also collects for the Film Studies and Medieval and Renaissance certificate programs. And, like most of the subject librarians there, she does reference and bibliographic instruction as well.
Liorah is a transplanted Brooklynite, surviving quite well considering how far away she is from an ocean or a brownstone. Her formal education consists of a BA in Creative Writing from Hofstra University, an MA in Performing Arts from Washington University in St. Louis, a PhD in Drama from the University of Toronto, and an MLS from Pratt Institute. Sadly, she is not fluent in any language apart from English, but she reads and understands Spanish fairly well, French less so, and German – enough to read a book title. Currently she serves as the facilitator of the MLA International Bibliography in Academic Libraries Discussion Group, and in July she’ll begin a two-year term on the publications committee of the LES.
Liorah is probably more anglocentric that many WESSies, but she joined WESS to be informed. She's published on the English playwright Peter Barnes, the better-known English playwright David Hare, and the hyperambulating English writer Will Self. Her current research is in two areas: personal history graphic novels, and a cross-platform look at the MLAIB.
- Here are links to subject pages she's created:
- * No, her name is not taken from Lord of the Rings.
After 14 years in Cambridge, Charles S. Fineman retired as the Librarian for France, Italy, and Scandinavia within the Harvard College Library on March 31, 2008. His previous positions had been with Yale University; the University of California-Santa Cruz; Northwestern University; and IFLA Headquarters in The Hague. Within WESS, he was chair and for many years the editor of the Newsletter.* In retirement, he expects to continue to be active in the Boston/Cambridge area translator community. He can be reached at the following e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
- * Charlie, a key figure in the development of WESS in its early and middle years, is truly a Fine Man.
WESSies* are always joyful to meet new members of the section. Enter new member Mara M. J. Egherman. Mara holds a BA in women's studies from UW-Madison, MA in liberal arts from San Diego State, and she worked toward a PhD in Scandinavian languages and literature (Swedish) for about two years at The University of Minnesota. Family life happened, and now a decade later she's back in graduate school for her MLIS at the University of Iowa. Along the way she's worked in four college and university libraries. She hopes to find a place as an academic librarian, maybe spending her first professional year abroad, after completing her library degree. She looks forward to getting to know all of us!
- * The first two letters of WESSies spell "WE."
The Executive Council of the Modern Language Association (MLA) has appointed John B. Dillon, European Humanities Bibliographer, Memorial Library, University of Wisconsin-Madison, as chair of the MLA's Advisory Committee on the MLA International Bibliography for the term 1 July 2008 through 30 June 2009. Dillon has been serving on the Advisory Committee for the past two years. At the MLA's annual convention in December 2007 he presided over a Committee-arranged special session of papers on the Bibliography user groups and on its reporting scope.*
- * Should you have a comment or suggestion on the MLAIB, or should you wish to volunteer to help with it, John sounds like the man to contact.
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."
Editor: Paul Vermouth (email@example.com)
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