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At the Crossroads: Assessing and responding to change

Highlights ofACRL programs at ALA ’s Annual Conference: Part I

Adjusting to change, making room for mul- ticulturalism, and assuring continued progress, both technological and social were some of the issues covered by ACRL at ALA’s 112th Annual Conference in New Orleans. Highlights of some ACRL programs are given below; part two will appear in October. See the accompanying sidebar for information in ordering audiotapes of selected programs.

Change in academe

The ACRL President’s Program was the culmi- nation of Jacquelyn McCoy’s theme of academic libraries at the crossroads. Two presenters re- sponded to the program topic, “Headed for the Beach? Redirecting the Academic Whale.” Pro- fessor Robert Zemsky, director of the Institute for Research in Higher Education at the University of Pennsylvania and Dr. Carole A. Barone, associate vice- chancellor at the University of California-Davis, both ex- tolled the need for change to come from within aca- deme, and, by extension, from within our libraries.

Zemsky said “there are no villains. Them is us." He added the we will be the vil- lains if we ignore the need to change. Academia isn’t “special” anymore; we are part of an enterprise and we need to market our services to please our users. He used two analogies from the business sector to illustrate his point: tailored mail-order catalogs over a comprehensive Sears catalog and automatic teller machines over trips to the bank. He concluded that the market shapes our research agenda.

Carole Barone warned libraries must “change or be changed."

Barone used a multi-media presentation to dramatize her point: “change or be isolated.” Among her list of 12 statements to consider were: listening to what users want (like Burger King); asking “how to” instead of “why not”; doing something different, not doing less; and collaborating with our publics because the Lone Ranger is obsolete. Both speakers emphasized bringing the clients into the process. During the business meeting which preceded the pro- gram, Euster, who is also chair of the next ACRL National Conference, announced that “change" will also be part of that conference theme to be held March 29 through April 1,1995, in Pitts- burgh. Anne Beaubien, past president of ACRL reported on the final report of the Social Issues Task Force, and Vice-President Thomas Kirk announced his theme of “networking” for the coming year.

The program ended with a delightful video of the life of William Andrew Moffett, recipient of the 1992-93 Academic/Research Librarian of the Year Award. Moffett, director of the Huntington Library, was recognized for his action in providing scholars with access to the Dead Sea Scrolls. A recep- tion for him hosted by Baker & Taylor followed.—- Barbara Wittkopf, Louisi- ana State University

Assessing three decades of progress

The Afro-American Studies Librarians Section of ACRL presented “Afro-American Information Resources: As- sessing Three Decades of

Progress, 1960-1990”, in co-sponsorship with the Anthropology and Sociology, and the Asian and African Studies Sections. Keynote speaker, Dr. Bennie Reeves, acting president and professor of history at Florida Memorial College in Miami, began by stating that early scholarship on blacks had been complex, racist, and pre- sumptuous, perpetuating the negative image that society projected. It was only when black scholars, such as John Hope Franklin, Benjamin Quarles and John Henrik Clarke began pub- lishing did historical literature focused on blacks begin to take a more positive and honest stance. Citing several titles, Reeves cogently argued that the proliferation of materials on blacks was closely con- nected to the political and social movements of the time. He maintained that the civil rights era and the Black Power Movement ushered in a new focus that exam- ined black roles in the 1960s and 1970s bringing with it not only new literature, but the birth of third world pub- lishing companies sensitive to the needs of a Black population. Reeves challenged black librarians to create special collaborative projects to document and preserve black history, and encourage scholars to use repositories such as the Amistad Research Center, the Moorland-Spingarn Collection at Howard University and the Schomburg Library in New York.

Robert Zemsky stressed the importance of marketing.

Brenda Mitchell-Powell, editor of Multicultural Review and a member of the reactor panel, addressed the lack of control African Americans have historically had over material published relating to them. She asserted that African Americans have been “victims of the commodification of culture.” She implored black librarians and scholars to “wrest back control of our literature” and reminded the audience of the plight of our literature if we failed in this mission. She stated that several seminal works have never been revised or have gone quickly out-of-print. Too often original publishers have not republished works that may have been controversial in nature, such as works by J. A. Rogers, Chancellor Williams, and Ivan Van Sertima. Mitchell-Powell concluded by asking that African American librarians be especially diligent in challenging the publishing companies to provide timely revisions of reference sources to keep pace with scholarship, and to reconsider works that are destined for out-of-print status.—Deborah A. Curry, University at Albany

A different view of historic preservation

The ACRL Arts Section and the Rare Books and Manuscripts Section (RBMS) jointly sponsored a program entitled “Balconies and Verandas: Documentation and Preservation of New Or- leans Architecture.” Each of the four speakers, discussed the preservation of New Orleans architecture from a different perspective.

Sally K. Reeves, archivist of the New Orleans Notarial Archives, discussed a unique resource available to architectural historians in New Orleans. Because Louisiana’s legal system is based on the civil law brought there by the French and Spanish, each legal transaction must be docu- mented by a third and im- partial party, the notary. The Notarial Archives were begun in the 1730s and now contain 38,000 volumes of notarial acts, documenting such transactions as building contracts, sales and emancipations of slaves, wills, and marriage contracts. The great value of these archives to architectural historians results from the fact that each sale of real property included complete watercolor drawings of the buildings by the civil engineer who examined the property. After 1910, blueprints rather than watercolors were attached to the legal documents.

During the 1930s, the WPA undertook a project with the archives that has led to many problems. The watercolor drawings were removed from their original place in the archives, separated from the written descriptions of the properties, and in many cases badly repaired.

Reeves recently received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to repair these documents, purchase cabinets to hold them, and to create a database for access to them. The wealth of information in these archives offers architectural historians an opportunity to study individual detailed drawings of the many architectural styles—Georgian, neoclassical, neo-Egyptian and, of course, French— that were built in this multicultural city.

Samuel Wilson, member of the architectural firm of Koch and Wilson, who gave an overview of New Orleans architecture. Patty Gaye, executive director of the Preservation Resource Center, commented on the efforts of her organization to preserve New Orleans including her program “Live in a Landmark” which encourages individuals to buy, restore, and live in historic properties. Jesse Poesch, retired professor of art history at Tulane University, spoke of the various resources that can be used in scholarly research about architectural history.—Betty Bryce, University of Alabama

Standards at the crossroads

The panel discussion “Standards at the Crossroads” scrutinized the accreditation process in relation to ACRL’s standards for academic libraries. Sponsored by the Community and Junior College Libraries Section, College Libraries Section, and University Libraries Section, panelists discussed the value of quantitative measurements. Can qualitative outcomes be assessed meaningfully? If regional accreditation organizations ignore ACRL’s standards, why do librarians pursue them?

“… in the 1950s methods of measuring procedures were developed on the premise that, if it walks like a duck, it must be a duck. In the 1980s interest in educational reform produced expectations of change in the way the duck walks. ”

Charles Atwell, vice president of Pensacola Jr. College, noted that in the 1950s methods of measuring procedures were developed on the premise that, if it walks like a duck, it must be a duck. In the 1980s interest in educational reform produced expectations of change in the way the duck walks. In responding to a question, Atwell observed that administrators need help with accreditation issues. If librarians reach a consensus concerning library standards, they will be in a much better position in relation to others who will also demand attention and money. Marcia J. Myers, director of libraries at Eastern Kentucky University, stated that North Central Association is the only one of the seven regions to acknowledge the library standards. She added that if professionally prepared standards were not available, “we would run the risk that outsiders would do it for us.” Antoinette M. Kania, dean of libraries at Suffolk Community College, noted that the regional organizations have changed since her 1984 study of them. Now emphases are on links among academic libraries, other resources and instructional programs, on delivery of services, and on supportive data to demonstrate effectiveness. David B. Walch, dean of library services at California Polytechnic University, in studying use of the College Library Standards found that most of those surveyed prefer quantitative criteria.— Rebecca B. Kiel, Cottey College

For richer or poorer: Library development and special collections

The Rare Books and Manuscripts Section’s program, cosponsored by LAMA’s Fundraising and Financial Development Section, featured four speakers: Lynda Claasen, University of California, San Diego; Myrna K. Jackson, Duke University; H. Thomas Hickerson, Cornell University, and Barbara Dewey, University of Iowa. Three common themes emerged. First, the success of a development program depends heavily on strong, daring leadership. Second, development programs must continually seek new donors. Third, while special collections is often the focus of fundraising efforts, the entire library benefits.

Lynda Claasen spoke from the perspective of a director of special collections who also serves as the library’s development officer. She emphasized special collections directors’ talents in working with friends groups, donors and grants. “In practically every case, what’s good for the library is good for special collections and we’re well positioned to make the good happen,” she concluded.

Myrna Jackson, who went from a general university development office to the library, focused on three key words, “prospects, prospects, prospects." She characterized the library development officer’s dilemma: “those who read don’t have money to give, those who have money don’t have time to read.” Jackson spoke about using the resources of special collections to attract gifts which fund a broad range of library needs. She offered the image of “hitchlìng] our less glamorous need to the glorious horse of special collections.”

Tom Hickerson presented the point of view of a special collections director at a university which is highly successful in fundraising. One of his themes was special collections staffs heavy involvement in development. He pointed out that, with the growth of a library development unit, the special collections development program ceased as an independent activity, and he chronicled some of the effects this has had on special collections.

Barbara Dewey, a library administrator whose area of responsibility includes development, spoke about several programs of the Iowa Women's Archives. In what was surely the first RBMS program address to mention Madonna, Dewey described how an Archives founder sold a Frida Kahlo self-portrait to kick off fundraising. (Madonna almost bought the painting.) Dewey stressed the need to build a multi-dimensional development program which will attract new donors to the library. She also suggested that goodwill is nearly as important a benefit as is a tangible gift.—Suzy Taraba, Duke University

New resources east of the former Iron Curtain

Eastern European independent states have thrown open a treasury of resources in all disciplines, said Edward Kasinec, chief of the Slavic Baltic Division at the New York Public Library, and first speaker at the joint program of ACRL’s Western European Specialists Section and

ACRL’s Slavic and East European Section: “Europe East & West: New Resources for North American Libraries.” Increasingly, area specialists are called to serve as a broadly interdisciplinary match-maker between subject specialists or researchers and newly emerging materials available east of the former Iron Curtain. Sem Sutter, bibliographer for Western European Languages and Literatures at the University of Chicago, enumerated specific archives that German reunification has made accessible, e.g., Prussian “Secret” State Archives, Deutsche Bank archives, and documents of the East German secret police. He then outlined problems of “trophy literature,” materials exappropriated to Germany illegally from the Soviet Union during and after World War II and vice versa (a church at Uzkoye, outside Moscow, has chaotic stacks of over one million books taken from Germany). Biblio-repatriation can be negotiated, Sutter stated, but inevitably revolves around hard currency. Michael Miller, Germans from Russia Bibliographer at North Dakota State University, having himself descended from a branch of the German-Russian family tree, illustrated access to it with a slide presentation. Miller pinpointed far-flung pockets of ethnic records documenting the Germans from Russia, e.g., St. Petersburg; Stuttgart; Lincoln, Nebraska; Salt Lake City; and his own unique collection in Fargo.

Norman Ross served as a relevant discussant due to his own recent and continuing work at microfilming Slavic records. In this capacity, he has enjoyed the consultation of Mr. Kasinec. The final perspective Ross offered was one borrowed from a Pete Seeger folk tune, seeing earth from the cosmos and realizing that we’re all sharing one little globe. The more information we can find and distribute, Ross suggested, the better our chances of sharing this earth in peace. —Richard Hacken, Brigham Young University

Organizational transformation: New structures for new realities

On June 26 in the New Orleans Conference Center, a large audience listened to Susan Jurow of the Association of Research Libraries, Cecilia Knight of the University of Arizona, Deborah Babel of Clemson University, and Marion Reid of California State University at San Marcos.

The organizational changes occurring in academic libraries were examined from several perspectives, Susan Jurow discussed the theoretical basis, examining the connection between organizational structures and strategies. Libraries are currently organized as information warehouses, and need to move toward organizations appropriate to information gateways. The present hierarchical structures do not accommodate self-managed teams. Those planning the transformation from information warehouse to information gateway must look to the future. They must plan and design flexible, adaptive structures based on shared values and norms.

Practical realities in the design/planning process were described by three librarians at differing points in the process. Deborah Babel described major changes made at Clemson a year ago and stressed that change is a continuing process. Clemson activities now focus on the user, not the function. Patron need is the overriding concern and Clemson staff look for continuous improvement.

Cecilia Knight heads the staff team planning a user-centered organization at the University of Arizona. The design teams focus on direct access, mediated access, integrated access, and library support. Staff are being re-assigned based on the critical skills required in their new positions. The shared values center on team function and data-based decision making.

Marion Reid described the opportunity to start from scratch with a new library at the University of California at San Marcos. With no shared background, work focuses on service planning.

In the change process, people interact in different ways with each other and with users. The change process generates a wide range of emotions-exhilaration, grief, fear, anger. These must be acknowledged and addressed.

Although there is a similarity with TQM in the customer/user driven emphasis and the focus on process. There is a difference in that libraries emphasize continuous adaptation, improvement, and evaluation.-Barbara Lockett, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

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