Women's Studies Section
Note: this is an archived HTML copy of the Fall 2002 WSS Newsletter.
WSS Awards Ceremony a Memorable Event!
I am constantly amazed by the unbelievable contributions of our members to the field of women’s studies and to librarianship as a whole. This year the WSS hosted their annual award ceremony made possible by Greenwood Publishing Group and Routledge.
Joan Ariel was our recipient for the ACRL Women’s Studies Section Career Achievement Award. She is the women’s studies and history librarian at the University of California at Irvine. One of the founding members of the Section, she has written several books and articles that have assisted many of us as women’s studies librarians. Her 1987 book Building Women’s Studies Collections: A Resource Guide is regarded as germane in the field. Joan is truly a role model that many of us respect greatly. Thank you, Joan, for your past and continuing contributions to the field.
Beth Stafford accepted the ACRL WSS Award for Significant Achievement for her involvement in the creation of the Women’s Studies Preservation Project, 1997-2001. This project was created under the umbrella of the Women and Gender Resources Library, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Beth, formerly at the University of Illinois, along with Eric Fujieda, an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology at Sarah Lawrence College and Meg Miner, a student at the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign , preserved more than 1,000 out-of-print titles, cataloged and added them to the OCLC database, and made them available for interlibrary loan. Theresa A. Tobin, chair of the WSS award committee said, “This project will support the writing of the history of the second wave of the women’s movement and its academic offshoot, Women’s Studies, for decades to come.”
Notes from the Chair
Women’s Studies Section Rocks!
As I began to write this column I realized that although somewhat colloquial, the title of this article reflects how I feel about our section even after filling out tons of ALA forms to name committees and get our programs and meetings for Midwinter and Annual to ALA. Over the years I have found that even with the usual grueling schedule at ALA I am invigorated every time that I meet with my women’s studies colleagues. I think for many of us it is a place where our hearts belong and where we can find affirmation that our beliefs about librarianship, and the role of women in librarianship and the world, are exactly what they should be.
As I put together committee rosters I got a chance to appreciate the many people who carry out the important work of the section including the great group of committee chairs and officers that make up the executive committee and those who work so diligently on WSSLinks, the Core Lists and other projects. When I put out the call for committee members I received responses from several new members who jumped right in at Annual to meet with their committees and take on assignments, as well as those who have been active in the section for a number of years who continue the dedicated work they have already undertaken.
I am also gratified to see that our section continues to evolve to meet the needs of members as new projects and initiatives are being developed. The section now has broader representation on the Executive Committee with the addition of the editors of the Core Lists and WSSLinks. I feel that this will facilitate coordination of these two important projects.
Finally, I am excited about the expansion of our connections outside of ACRL. At Executive this year we voted to create a position that will liaison with NWSA. And the Feminist Task Force has agreed to help us fund our program on publishing that will be presented at Annual in Toronto. Our connections with COSWL and the FTF continue to allow us to share common interests and the Women’s Studies Section will be coordinating the Introduction to Women’s Issues program at ALA this Annual. Since our program on women and technology created some great discussion last year, I plan to use that topic for discussion at the Intro. to Women’s Issues program in Toronto so that women throughout ALA can take part in the discourse about our role with regard to technology and computer organizations.
As I look ahead, this year will be an exciting one for WSS and I encourage all of you to actively join me in the work of our section. Please feel free to contact me at any time and keep me informed about anything that you feel is important. I am always open to suggestions and am anxious to hear from you!
2002 WSS Program: Women, Technology & Libraries
Joan Korenman, Director of the Center for Women & Information Technology (CWIT) at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and featured panelist for the Women’s Studies Section program, “Women, Technology & Libraries” reported that although women now make up over half of online users, we “are still seriously underrepresented as developers of information technology.”
In 1998, Korenman started the Center with two mutually reinforcing goals: to encourage more women and girls to become information professionals, and to be sure that information technology meets women’s and girls’ needs. Reasons for encouraging women to enter IT fields include the looming technology worker shortage, the higher pay and prestige of these occupations, the intellectual stimulation they offer, and the need for information technology products that are sensitive to women’s needs. She argued that the more women go into technology professions, the more women can set design priorities, and in turn, the more the online and information technology community reflects women’s interests and needs. Korenman also advocated the need to make sure that the full range of women’s experiences are represented online, given that an internet search on “women” today will lead primarily to porn sites and dumbed-down consumer-oriented sites for women. She concluded that “it would be a tragic irony if advances in technology lead to a regression in what we know about women.”
To combat the problem of finding quality information about women on the web, Korenman maintains the CWIT web site (www.umbc.edu/cwit/), which was named “the best resource on women and technology on the Web” by ABCNews.com. Updated daily, the site brings together news stories from all over the world on how women are using information technology, and includes an FAQ on women and technology, curricular resources for courses in women’s studies, and a bibliography of books and journals dealing with women and IT.
The other three panelists discussed the ways technology is impacting women in the library profession. Kelly Hovendick of Syracuse University argued that because technology is accorded such high status and cultural cachet, it has the ability to elevate the status and image of library professionals, but only if the female majority of librarians are assertive about the tech roles we are assuming.
Reporting on female library staffers’ attitudes toward technological training, Dolores Fidishun of Penn State Great Valley revealed that they learned best in one-on-one situations with immediate application and handouts for further reference. The need for technology mentors was highlighted. Kristin Gerhard of Iowa State University wrapped up the session by looking at barriers wome experience when they approach IT, and strategies for overcoming them. She urged: “Our goal is to be technically competent, not comfortable. Notice your zone of discomfort and then push yourself into it.”
Research Clearinghouse Kick-off!
The ACRL Women’s Studies Section Research Committee has begun an initiative to advance their mission of identifying needed research and encouraging collaboration in research related to women’s studies and women’s studies librarianship. This initiative is called the Research Clearinghouse and its goals are to:
In order to accomplish this we are asking you to fill out a Research Interest Profile online (http://www.personal.psu.edu/faculty/j/r/jrg15/wss/clrghouse/rip.html) listing your past areas of research as well as your developing research interests. The committee will compile the information into a database that can be used to facilitate networking. We encourage you to submit your forms!
Update on the Core Lists of Books
At the Annual Conference the Core List editors met and reviewed the new guidelines that have been developed and written by Carrie Kruse. The guidelines now provide examples for including ebooks and ISBNs. It was also suggested that editors experiment with using EndNote or ProCite (bibliographic management software programs) to assist in their compiling this year. It could save time in the future.
The editors also discussed involvement of library school students in the Core List project. It was agreed that this would be a great outreach effort and that it would be a good opportunity for mentoring between students and librarians.
Finally, Dolores Fidishun is looking into the process of formalizing a meeting time for the Core List group at Midwinter meetings and Annual Conferences.
-Cynthia A. Johnson
Women’s Studies Section
The new WSS brochure is ready to go to the printer and will be sent to library schools and libraries at schools with women's studies programs. The "women's studies @ your library" bookmark was distributed. The committee began planning for a new member orientation to be held at ALA Midwinter in Philadelphia. A "woman-friendly guide to Philadelphia" that Megan Adams will create will be distributed via WSS-L before the conference. The committee brainstormed ideas for increasing publicity of the activities of the section, including presentations and publications on the core lists and WSSLinks, and doing presentations at library schools about WSS and other women's groups in ALA.
The Committee met with the Research Committee to finalize the outline of the program and to discuss presenters. Dr. Gloriana St. Clair, editor of portal has agreed to be part of a two-editor panel. The committee also has a tentative commitment from Dr. Sandra Harding, one of the co-editors of Signs to be the other editor. A third editor from Resources for Feminist Research, will be asked to be a respondent to the original panel. The panel discussion will be followed by break out sessions. The Committee is in the process of choosing presenters for the breakout sessions. The Committee asked a number of ACRL sections for co-sponsorship and is awaiting replies but was pleased to hear that the Feminist Task Force is willing to co-sponsor and to contribute toward the cost of the program.
One of the charges of the committee is to identify and recommend possible future section publications. This year the committee will be looking at the publications of other ACRL sections to gain possible ideas. We hope to have a few good ideas by Midwinter. Also the members of the committee would like to remind everyone that the Publications Manual for the section is now available on the section's website. Additionally, the committee encourages new publications from the section.
The committee finalized changes to the template for the Database Instruction Guides. The committee members have been working on developing these guides for databases that are heavily used by women’s studies librarians. Once the guides are completed the committee is planning on submitting them to the Publications Committee for review to be posted to the WSS website.
Collection Development Committee
The committee’s major project that has been in process for several years is to create a web site of women’s studies collection development resources. Due to changes in maintenance, responsibility of the top-level site and getting the approval of the WSS publications committee, the site has not yet been made public. The committee will review the site to make any final modifications necessary, and will then send to Megan Adams to put up on the ALA server. The next project will be to get feedback from other WSS members about the content of the page. They will develop an online survey and will announce the page and the survey to the WSS membership. Some questions on the survey include:
--What questions would you expect to have answered by this page?
The committee will address the feedback they receive at our Midwinter meeting in January. Revisions will be made based on that feedback, and the page will be announced to a wider audience asking for further feedback on their potential use of these resources.
The committee reviewed what worked and didn’t work for the incoming members and Joan Ariel volunteered to deliver a new timetable. They are looking into creating a PDF version of nomination letters for both awards along with(permission of authors) making these letters available on the web site.
The nominations committee chaired by Mila Su is pleased to announce a full slate of candidates for 2003-2004. Information about the candidates will be available when the ballots for ALA elections are sent out in late spring. Don’t forget to vote!
Electronic Resources Committee
The committee decided that they would take over the maintenance of the Electronic Resources Information webpage originally developed by the CD committee. In addition, the committee is looking at new projects to pursue. Three ideas arose: identifying and assessing the content of WS journals in multidisciplinary databases and in subject specific databases; and identifying and assessing content of ws data in online digital archives.
Locations will be posted on WSS-L or check your conference program
The Women's Studies Section Newsletter is published semi-annually by the Association of College and Research Libraries Women's Studies Section, a division of the American Library Association, 50 E. Huron St., Chicago, IL 60611. (800-545-2433, ext. 2519.) The Women's Studies Section Newsletter is available to all section members at no additional cost.
The WSS Newsletter welcomes contributions from readers. Send articles, items of interest, and news to the editors, preferably in electronic format.
Library Association, 2002
June 14, 2011