Women's Studies Section

Spring 2002
Volume 17, Number 1

Issued by the Women's Studies Section, Association of College & Research Libraries, American Library Association

Note: this is an archived HTML copy of the Spring 2002 WSS Newsletter.
Online resources listed may no longer be active.]

Table of Contents

Tell Your Friends & Colleagues!

The Women's Studies Section program in Atlanta will be honoring and featuring some significant movers and shakers in women's studies. The 2001-2002 WSS Awards Committee is pleased to announce the winners of the third annual ACRL WSS awards for achievement in Women's Studies.

Joan Ariel, Women's Studies and History Librarian, University of California, Irvine, has been chosen for her significant, long-standing contributions to the field of women's studies librarianship over the course of her career.

Beth Stafford, Eri Fujieda, and Meg Miner will be honored for their work in creating the Women's Studies Preservation Project, 1997-2001 at the Women and Gender Resources Library, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

For added excitement, the 2002 WSS Program, "Women, Technology and Libraries" will feature Joan Korenman. Joan is the Director of the Center for Women and Information Technology at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. She started WMST-L, the largest women's studies academic electronic forum. Many of us in women's studies librarianship use the resources that she has put together for assistance in our professional lives. Panelists include Dolores Fidishun, Penn State - Great Valley, who will discuss women's attitudes and learning styles using computer and technology-related training and the most effective learning styles; Kris Gerhard, Iowa State University, will discuss how strategic career development and advancement in librarianship can be a result of being tech-savvy; and Kelly Hovendick, Syracuse University, will discuss how librarians are redefining themselves as a result of technology.

Notes from the Chair

Many people I know have a word or phrase that they really hate to hear. The type of reaction that some people have to scratching fingernails on a chalkboard. Usually the word or phrase is some type of jargon or buzzword. For me, one of those words is "mentor." I understand that the concept is important, but I hate the word. Even worse is the word "mentee." So when I heard that the topic of the Midwinter discussion group was going to be about ways that librarians can mentor each other, I envisioned sitting in a room with people using these words over and over again and I wondered if I would survive. I did. In fact, the discussion group was well attended and proved very useful. It was noted that some libraries have formal programs for mentoring, while others do not. It was mentioned that some mentoring of librarians can be done by non-librarians who work with us. The issue of less experienced librarians mentoring more experienced librarians in some areas of our jobs was also discussed. All in all it was a very worthwhile discussion.

While the discussion group only takes place at Midwinter, the Annual Conference features other opportunities for interaction and dialogue between librarians interested in women's studies-related topics. The WSS program in Atlanta promises to be informative, useful and timely. We will have a great keynote speaker followed by three panelists who are WSS members.

Midwinter discussion groups and Annual programs provide ways to learn and participate in ALA/ACRL and WSS. However, another venue for sharing our research and knowledge and learning from others is approaching at the ACRL 11th National Conference. Larry Hardesty, conference chair, attended the Midwinter WSS Executive Committee meeting to invite WSS members to submit proposals for contributed papers, panel sessions, poster sessions, etc. The conference will be held in Charlotte, NC from April 10-13, 2003. For more information, the conference website is at http://www.ala.org/acrl/charlotte. I hope that everyone will consider this opportunity.

-Connie L. Phelps

Midwinter Program Notes

Learning to Mentor Each Other:
Sharing Our Knowledge as Librarians and Educators

Mentoring was the interesting topic of the WSS Discussion Group at the Midwinter Meeting in New Orleans. This topic of mentoring had been suggested at the Annual meeting in San Francisco at the "Introduction to Women's Issues" meeting. Since the generational aspect of working together had been brought up, for clarification in the discussion, the mentoring relationship was defined as one between longer serving ("older" in the institution, but not necessarily in age) and newer ("younger") colleagues. However, it is not always the "older" person who will be a mentor: the "newer" person can also become a mentor by bringing in new ideas. Also, since in our profession people often start their careers later in life after various other experiences, new library professionals often have other work experience they can share. When thinking about who our mentors are or have been, several people mentioned that they had been mentored by paraprofessional staff. In general, mentoring needs to be seen in a broader light than what most professional literature presents. Mentoring is a give and take relationship, and new professionals or paraprofessional colleagues have as much to share as more experienced professional librarians. WSS members shared their experiences of different ways in which mentoring can be accomplished: well-organized documentation of one's position to facilitate work for a successor, or other ways to reach out to a successor (or predecessor); "Ann Landers-style" of anonymous questions that can then be answered by colleagues in a general forum, such as a staff newsletter or listserv; special professional development programs that touch on relevant issues; and modeling behavior, e.g. time management, leadership in meetings, etc.

Mentoring work should not focus just on sharing the history of an institution or profession, but also encourage taking risks and learning to see opportunities for change. A good mentor will help others to discover their professional interests and passions and to develop their personal strengths fully. No matter what type of mentoring is offered in an institution, its' success depends on the administration fostering a mentoring environment, and on formal rewards (e.g. in the evaluation process) for mentoring work. Many participants mentioned WSS as a good example of a group that has successfully mentored its members by being welcoming and supportive to new people and giving opportunities for professional growth through joint publishing by senior and junior professionals and through other collaborative ventures.

-Brita Servaes

Update on the Core Lists of Books

Women's Studies Core List compilers met following the WSS All Committees meeting. Cynthia Johnson and Carrie Kruse were introduced as the incoming editors. The main topics included: adding e-books to the lists; linking to web pages that provide excerpts from books (such as Amazon.com or BarnesandNoble.com); and turning the lists into a database. Suggestions from the online survey were also reviewed and some suggestions adopted.

Compilers quickly agreed that if information about a title being available as an e-book is easily available through the sources that are normally checked such as Books in Print, compilers should add that information. It was decided not to include links to book excerpts from vendor sites because by doing so it might give the impression of endorsing one vendor over another vendor.

Turning the Core Lists into a database was an idea that appealed to many of the compilers. The current concept is to have a web form into which a compiler would enter her data. This database would also be searchable by the end user. Subject headings for each title would most likely be included adding some extra work on the part of the compilers. This will be discussed by the Collection Development Committee as a possible project for them to undertake. It is understood that the CD committee will be looking at the feasibility of such a project, the advantages and disadvantages of migrating to a database format and the technological skills needed to create a database, before committing to such a large undertaking.

Based on the suggestions submitted from the Core Survey form, the compilers agreed to include ISBN numbers. Joan Ariel agreed that for the Reference Core List she would arrange the titles by LC Call Number. Three new lists may be forthcoming - Labor, Education and Theater and Dance. The discussion of possible overlap between topics like Education and Feminist Pedagogy or Mental Health and Psychology led to a reminder that "Core" should mean appropriate for undergraduates and possibly of interest to large public libraries, as well. Also discussed, although with no conclusion - how many current books to include on a list? It was agreed that publishing output differs greatly in different subject areas, so perhaps there is no good answer to this conundrum.

Because of the inclusion of ISBNs and e-books, as well as a brief but heated discussion about the visual appearance of the Core Lists it was agreed that Carrie Kruse and Cynthia Johnson would revise the style sheet. The revised style sheet will be distributed to the compilers for review in time for the 2002 Annual Conference in Atlanta.

Core List compilers will continue to meet informally at Midwinter and Annual meetings directly following the WSS All Committees Meeting.

-Cynthia A. Johnson


  • Cindy Ingold started as the new Women and Gender Resources Librarian at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
  • The Publishing Committee, a standing committee of the American Library Association, accepts applications year round for their annual Carnegie-Whitney Awards. The awards provide grants of up to $5,000.00 for the preparation and publication of popular and scholarly reading lists, indexes and other guides to library resources. Individuals, ALA units, including committees, and other groups affiliated with the organization are eligible to apply. The number and amount of grants are at the discretion of the Publishing Committee and vary from year to year. The deadline for consideration of the current year's awards is November 11. Additional details, including guidelines, selection criteria, schedules, procedures and additional background information are available at http://www.ala.org/work/pubs/whitney.html.
  • ALA recently announced a partnership with Woman's Day magazine called Put It in Writing @ your library. The program is designed to promote the opportunities that all types of libraries offer - schools, college/university and communities large and small - that can spark a writer's imagination and creativity and help develop a community of writers. The program features a national essay contest for unpublished women writers, to be announced in the March 2003 issue of Woman's Day, and writer's workshops for the public libraries across the country scheduled on April 16. The contest will begin during National Library Week (April 14-20) and continues until August 1. Unpublished women writers are encouraged to send in essays to Woman's Day in any of three categories: Health, Essay and General Reporting. More information is available at http://www.ala.org/@yourlibrary/putitinwriting.
  • WSS member Nancy Kushigian co-edited "Scottish Women Poets of the Romantic Period" a new Alexander Street Press product. This electronic collection critically archives volumes of heretofore out of print and/or rare poetry. It also includes critical introductions by major scholars in the field.

Do you have an Idea for the Newsletter?

What would you like to see in the newsletter? Teaching tools? Highlights of women's studies collections, archives or resources? Advice?
Do you like the design and lay-out of the newsletter? Is it easy to read?
Send us any thoughts or ideas - good or bad - so that we can produce a better newsletter.
Kelly - kbhovend@library.syr.edu or Stacy - voeller@mnstate.edu


Women's Studies Section
Committee Reports

Communications Committee

Committee members reviewed draft plans for a newly designed WSS web page. The web editor, Megan Adams, will implement the changes in the spring of 2002. Regarding a new brochure, ACRL has extended the deadline for expending funds, so the committee will attempt to get the new brochures and bookmarks ready for use during ALA Annual in Atlanta. There will be a WSS social hour in Atlanta immediately after the membership meeting. Publicity will be sent to WSS-L listserv and to the web editor. Similar women's groups will be contacted such as COSWL the Feminist Task Force, etc. Plans for recruitment of new members were discussed including distributing WSS-related materials; contacting members who had dropped from the WSS; communicating with other women's groups in ALA; and using programs, meetings and listservs specifically for new ALA/ACRL members to publicize the WSS.

-Mary Nofsinger

Program Planning Committee

The 2003 Program Planning committee has begun work on the Toronto Annual Program. The topic will be research and publishing with a panel of librarians and women's studies scholars and editors presenting. Gloriana St. Clair from portal: libraries and the academy has agreed to participate with a tentative commitment from Sandra Harding one of the editors of Signs. It has been proposed that the program have a number of break-out sessions dealing with various publishing topics. Laura Micham has agreed to moderate the session.

-Dolores Fidishun

Publications Committee

The committee has started to work on other projects since the completion of the Publications Manual available online at http://www.ala.org/acrl/wgss/pubmanual.html. In the coming months, the committee will be identifying the various publications of other ACRL Sections to see if something similar might be needed by the WSS. Additionally, the committee encourages new publications from the section.

-Sara Morris

Research Committee

The Research Committee met with the 2003 Program Planning Committee to discuss collaboration for the Toronto program. The committees will work together on this because of the program's theme. The committees decided to increase the length of the program to three and a half hours to allow time for awards, break-out sessions, poster sessions and information tables. Members will look into potential co-sponsors from other groups such as the ACRL Publications Committee, LRRT and SRRT-Alternatives in Publication. After the joint meeting, the Research Committee discussed current members' terms ending at the end of Annual 2003. The committee recommends increasing the number of committee members and appointing two new members to begin after Annual 2002 with terms to expire after Annual 2004. The committee also discussed the possibility of writing a women's studies anthology which had been brought up in the past. Other topics included website updates; evaluating the research interest profile form; and setting an agenda for women's studies librarianship research.

-Kris Gerhard

Instruction Committee

The committee is still working on a past project that involved evaluating various databases and their coverage of women's studies research, searching mechanisms, etc. The committee is going to submit these to be linked from the WSS homepage. These will be submitted in a PDF format so that librarians can download them as hand-outs. Another issue that was discussed concerned tutorials and other tools that librarians who teach women's studies use. There was a possibility of this topic being the focus of a discussion group at an upcoming Midwinter meeting.

-Kelly Hovendick

Electronic Resources Committee

The Electronic Resources Committee, formerly the Technical Services Committee, has completed a project to develop a core list of journals in women's studies. This core list of journals will assist women's studies librarians and collection development librarians in building women's studies collections. These serials provide a foundation for study and research from a feminist perspective. Titles in the core list cover the disciplines of women's studies, humanities, sciences and social sciences. The list includes only titles currently being published and suitable for academic libraries. In addition to publishing information and a brief annotation, the entry for each serial title lists where the work is indexed and whether it is available in electronic format.

-Sara Brownmiller

WSS Achievement in
Women's Studies
Librarianship Awards

The Women's Studies Section awards are given annually to honor distinguished academic librarians who have made outstanding contributions to Women's Studies through accomplishments and service to the profession. The awards recognize those who have made long-standing contributions to the field during a career (the Career Achievement award) and those who have made significant one-time contributions (the Significant Achievement award).

For details and nomination forms see:

Just for fun-

Check out these great women

Judy Horacheck

Trina Robbins

The Core List of Journals can be found at:


Where do you get your news?
Check out these women-friendly sites -


News We Can Use

Feminist Majority Foundation

Women's enews

National Organization of Women

Women Leaders Online News Sources

WSS Meeting Schedule for the 2002 Atlanta ALA Annual Conference

Fri, June 14 Awards Committee (closed) 2-5:30pm
Sat, June 15 Introduction to Women's Issues in ALA 11:30am-12:30pm
Sun, June 16 All Committees Meeting


Executive Committee 2-4pm
General Membership Meeting 4:30-5:30pm
Social Hour 5:45pm- ??
Mon, June 17

Third Annual Awards Ceremony: Joan Ariel (Career Achievement) and Beth Safford, Eri Fujieda, & Meg Miner (Significant Achivement) will be honored.

WSS Annual Program: "Women, Technology, and Libraries," featuring Joan Korenman and panelists Dolores Fidishun, Kris Gerhard, and Kelly Hovendick.

9:00am- 12:00pm

Locations will be posted on WSS-L or check your conference program.

WSS Officers 2001/02:

  • Connie Phelps, Chair
  • Dolores Fidishun, Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect
  • Sue McFadden, Secretary
  • Mary Nofsinger, Member-at-large
  • Brita Servaes, Member-at-large
Back to the WGSS Home Page.
Send comments about the WGSS website to: Carrie Dunham-LaGree.
URL: http://libr.org/wgss/newsletter/2002spring.html
Last updated: July 18, 2013
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July 18, 2013