The University of Arizona's Main Library currently holds more than four million volumes in its vast collection to accommodate the needs of its diverse population. In particular, the library supports the Women's Studies Program and faculty at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. In addition to the department itself, the Southwest institute for Research on Women (SIROW) was created in 1979 and is largely supported by the library's facilities as well.
The funding for the Women's Studies resources within the Main Library are allocated through the Sociology fund. According to 1997-1998 fiscal year breakdowns, the University of Arizona spent $53, 718. on monograph purchases; $17,830. on video purchases; and $21,497. on serials purchases. In addition to already maintaining electronic subscriptions to two major databases in the discipline, Contemporary Women's Issues and Women's Resources International, the library just recently subscribed to GenderWatch as well. This shows a growing commitment to making Women's Studies resources as accessible and current as possible for the scholarly research that is taking place at the University of Arizona.
In 1990 a survey of library holdings in Women's Studies was conducted. Staff assessed holdings using both quantitative and qualitative measures. In 1993, the library contained some 29,600 titles (both serials and monographs) that could be identified as belonging to the core Women's Studies collection (which includes the monographs in the HQ's and Z790-ZA4201's). In 1999, the University of Arizona's Women's Studies collection contains almost 41,000 titles (both serials and monographs). These titles were compared to several core collection lists in Women's Studies in Guide to Reference Books (published by the American Library Association, eleventh edition) and Core Lists of particular subjects that are collected by the Association of College and Research Libraries, Women's Studies Section. When comparing the University of Arizona's holdings with these resources, the Women's Studies collection contains just over eighty percent of the recommended monographs. While this may sound as though the University of Arizona should be collecting the missing titles, the Core Lists include both popular and scholarly titles. Every effort is made to acquire all of the academic titles on the lists.
The University has a collection of 127 periodicals titles pertaining to Women's Studies. When compared to the Women's Studies Index and the Core List of the ACRL, Women's Studies Section, it was found that the University of Arizona receives just over eighty-two percent of the recommended periodicals. Appendix 1 contains a detailed list of journal holdings. This is one area where the collection could be improved.
Sabio, the University of Arizona's Information Gateway, supports three primary databases which are specific to the pursuit of Women's Studies research ' Contemporary Women's Issues, Gender Watch, and Women's Resources International.Prior to web-based access to Contemporary Women's Issues and Women's Resources International, these two indexes were accessed via CD-ROM. The subscription to GenderWatch was just purchased approximately two months ago.
The 1990 evaluative survey of the Women's Studies collection made some recommendations regarding purchases of large microform sets specific to Women's Studies research. In the last decade, the library has acquired a rather extensive collection of such sets, such as The Schlesinger Library Vertical File for Women's Studies and the Women's Studies Manuscript Collection from the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe College. Appendices 2 and 3 show lists of microform sets for U.S. Women's History and Women's Periodicals which the University of Arizona has acquired.
The Media Materials Room of the University of Arizona's Main Library currently contains almost four hundred titles of video tapes that are specific to Women's Studies. A complete title and description guide to "Films About Women's Studies" can be found at http://dizzy.library.arizona.edu/library/teams/sst/ws/guide/films/.
The University of Arizona's library system has continued to meet the demands of the Women's Studies program on many levels. Since the approval of a Master's program in the mid-90's and the increased research and publication of scholars associated with SIROW, the library collection has expanded and prides itself in keeping abreast of current trends and publications related to Women's Studies' pursuits.
Not only does the collection incorporate a wide variety of media to meet such needs, but the library has a liaison who has worked with the Women's Studies Department since 1981. Ruth Dickstein has served on search committees for the Women's Studies Department and on a committee to award stipends to faculty and students. Furthermore, she has extensively published on topics pertinent to Women's Studies and librarianship. She has been instrumental in forming faculty/librarian partnerships and co-teaches classes with Women's Studies faculty. Ruth incorporates her expertise into both the Women's Studies department and the library environment.
Because of the location of the university and the make-up of the student population, the collection is largely regionally influenced. For example, the University of Arizona's collection is more inclusive of Native American/Indian and Hispanic women's issues than it is of Black women's issues. However, this is acceptable given the circumstances. Overall, the University of Arizona's Women's Studies collection is very representative of the most prestigious Women's Studies publications both in print and electronically. With the resources that are allotted to the field, both in terms of funding and personnel, if appears as though support of the Women's Studies Department will remain strong in the future.
Originally written 4/1/99 by Ruth Dickstein and Kelly Barrick Hovendick