Women's Studies Section

Fall 2000
Volume 15, Number 2

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

Note: this is an archived HTML copy of the Fall 2000 WSS Newsletter.
Online resources listed may no longer be active.]

Table of Contents 


First Annual ACRL/WSS 
Achievement Awards: A Success! 

The first WSS Achievement Awards were issued July 10 during the ALA conference in Chicago. The ceremony took place at the start of the Section’s annual program, to a packed room and a highly appreciative audience. Andrea Ciecierski from Routledge presented the Significant Achievement in Women’s Studies Librarianship award to Lynn Westbrook for her book Interdisciplinary Information Seeking in Women's Studies (McFarland & Co., 1999). 

Ron Maas, a representative from Greenwood Publishing Group, presented the Career Achievement in Women’s Studies Librarianship award to Sue E. Searing, for her exemplary commitment and dedication over many years to the cause of Women’s Studies librarianship. The Section would again like to express warm thanks to our sponsors, Routledge and Greenwood Publishing Group, both for making these awards possible and for making this inaugural year such a great success.

--Jessica Grim Past Chair,
WSS Awards Committee 


Notes from the Chair

Each year it is a struggle to describe for the Strategic Plan Implementation our section's contributions that go beyond more established activities such as WSSLinks, the Annual Program, Core Bibliographies, etc. Bi-annually, our energetic and creative members submit program requests for the ACRL Conference, but often we do not succeed in gaining a slot. This year, we will have a member presenting at ACRL's Conference in Denver. It is my hope, that by raising our profile as a section within ACRL, we will be able to contribute more to ACRL and, therefore, to our current and future members.

Once again, ACRL is offering to fund projects that move the Strategic Plan forward. I am hoping that this column will inspire members of the section to contribute their ideas for individual, group, or committee projects. The grants can range in support from $500-$2,500. The request for the grant must come from the section, and I would like to open up the process in ways that encourage your participation. First, read or reread the plan (http://www.ala.org/acrl/stratpla.html) with particular attention to the strategic directions. Second, send your ideas to wgss-l@ala.org or talk with colleagues. Next, send a SHORT outline of your project to wgss-l@ala.org. The Executive Committee will discuss all proposals at Midwinter and then ask one or two of the authors to submit a full application. If you attend Midwinter, I would encourage you to discuss your ideas with colleagues at the WSS social hour, work with a committee chair to discuss ideas during a committee meeting, or bring your ideas to the general membership meeting for discussion. If you can attend a portion of the Midwinter Executive committee meeting to answer questions about your proposal, that would be welcome as well.

The deadline for submission of the funding requests is in March.

Let's make ACRL sit up and notice us for all of the right reasons--our creativity, our energy, and our commitment to Women's Studies librarianship.

Theresa Tobin
Chair, ACRL Women's Studies Section
Humanities Library
Massachusetts Institute of Technology


WSS Annual Program: “Taking the Temperature of Women’s Studies in the Year 2000” Discusses Issues Important to Women’s Studies Librarianship

The Women’s Studies Section program at ALA annual in Chicago began with the presentation of two new awards: the award for Significant Achievement to Lynn Westbrook and the Career Achievement award to Susan Searing. Section Chair Marlene Manoff then introduced the topics for a program which gave participants a chance to share their insights and ideas about the state of Women’s Studies librarianship in the year 2000. Introductory presentations on topics for discussion were given by Ellen Broidy, Univ. of California-Irvine, who focused on changes in the disciplines that make up Women’s Studies; by Sarah Pritchard, Univ. of California-Santa Barbara, who enumerated issues related to the institutional location of Women’s Studies; by Sandy River, Texas Tech Univ., who discussed topics dealing with electronic resources, and by Dolores Fidishun, Penn State Univ., who gave perspectives on advances in education and instruction. After the introductory presentations, the session participants broke into groups to discuss the topics, and then each group reported the results of their interaction to all assembled.

The results of these discussions produced the following list of issues that the section will use to guide future programming and other initiatives:

Location of Women’s Studies:

  • Working with selectors in other fields to acquire materials as well as working with faculty to help choose materials ¨
  • Management of approval plans in interdisciplinary fields ¨
  • Collection development issues at small colleges and campuses, including the possible creation of a core list of materials published each year
  • Selection of foreign language materials, including the use of foreign language approval plans and other ways to keep abreast of new foreign language materials

Changes in the Discipline:

  • How does the distinction between feminist theory and Women’s Studies affect selectors? Should everything on women come to Women’s Studies librarians and libraries?
  • If we narrow the definition of the discipline to one that is more traditional, will we lose contact with political allies who may help us with issues such as budgets?
  • Has the discourse on power and patriarchy become standard and do we need to shift our emphasis to more esoteric discourse? How do we keep current with this and other Women’s Studies’ issues?
  • How do issues of Women’s Studies intersect with Gender Studies and other related studies such as Lesbian and Gay Studies, Men’s Studies, and Queer Studies? How do we deal with who is responsible for resources in these disciplines?

Electronic Resources:

  • Publicizing electronic resources and encouraging faculty and students to use electronic resources
  • Finding ways to get students to recognize that electronic resources come from the library
  • Taking advantage of opportunities to acquire electronic resources through consortial efforts
  • Obtaining input from faculty and students, including those off-campus, during trial uses of electronic resources
  • Understanding differences in search strategies for various resources

Education and Instruction:

  • How do we utilize our positions as liaisons with Women’s Studies programs as they transition into departments? How can we sell instructional services in this process?
  • How do we change our teaching styles as we work with feminist or Women’s Studies programs to use instruction that is more gender-friendly? How does this change in teaching style affect all instruction that we do?
  • How can we insure access to library instruction by off-campus and distance education students, using online tutorials, teaching pages, and finding aids?
  • How does the use of live, online reference service affect service and outreach?

 Dolores Fidishun, Ed.D.
Penn State University

Do you have news from your library or university to share with the rest of the section? A conference, collections of note, outreach efforts? The WSS Newsletter welcomes submissions. Contact one of the editors for more information.


Grant-seeking in Women's Studies: a Webography

Half the battle in receiving funding is knowing where and how to locate applicable grants.  While there are grants available specifically for Women’s Studies, there are also numerous grants available with general requirements for funding which can be directly applied to Women’s Studies activities.  Depending on how you write your grant request, there are many sources of monies available.

When searching for applicable grants, begin by keeping your search terms general and use all available resources to locate funding opportunities.

Some Web sites to try:

Foundation Center’s Grantmaker Web Search
Enter keywords to search the Web sites of more than 1,500 U.S. grantmakers by type (private, corporate, community, or grantmaking public charity), or all at once.

Grants for Individuals:  Women’s Studies
This site is maintained by Jon Harrison, Funding Center Supervisor for the Main Library Reference Department at Michigan State University and is a directory of Web sites and book resources.

Grants & Scholarships Index from the American Library Association
A listing of grants and scholarships available via our national organization.

U.S. Department of Education
Various funding opportunities, guidelines, and resources are available at this site, including a listing of grant competitions currently open, a summary of ED’s discretionary grants process, and a concise description of each program ED administers.

More specific sites for grant-seeking can be found at the following:

Carnegie Corporation of New York
The Corporation accepts requests for funding at all times of the year and maintains no application forms or deadlines.  Funding is directed towards the development of the liberal arts curriculum, and, more specifically, towards the integration of liberal arts and professional training in the undergraduate curriculum.

Challenge Grant for Women’s Studies through The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation
Grants awarded for Women's Studies research that crosses disciplinary, regional, or cultural boundaries.  Directed at students in doctoral programs who have completed all pre-dissertation  requirements in any field of study at graduate schools in the United States.

Department of Education’s Women’s Educational Equity Act Program (WEEA)
Grants awarded for  the implementation of gender equity programs in schools and for the development of model equity programs.

Fellowships, Grants, Awards through the American Association of University Women
The largest source of funding in the world exclusively for graduate women. Grants are available to individual women, AAUW organizations, and  local community-based nonprofit organizations for  projects that promote education and equity for women and girls.

Laubach Literacy Grants
Grants to community-based literacy programs throughout the world.  Grants are given annually through the National Book Scholarship Fund (for family literacy and English-as-second-language programs) and Women in Literacy/USA (for literacy services to women).

Locating and Writing Grants For Public Libraries
Guidelines for grant-seekers designed to focus on funding for public libraries.  Includes information on writing grants and a bibliography of internet, ERIC, and print resources for grant-seekers.

National Science Foundation (NSF) Grant Proposal Guide
NSF funds approximately 10,000 projects each year for research, education and training.  Encourages grant applications that broaden the participation of underrepresented groups (e.g., gender, ethnicity, disability, geographic, etc.).

Patrina Foundation Grants
Foundation that strives to expand women's educational opportunities and advance scholarship by and about women, particularly by promoting curriculum development, and research and programming in Women’s Studies.

Grant-seeking and writing is a learned skill and does not always net results quickly.  Many grant recipients have applied multiple times for the same grant before finally receiving it. When available, it is always important to study previous award-winning applications for style, content, and guidelines.  Always remember, too, that grants are available locally and investigative work will be necessary to locate these opportunities.

Stacy Voeller
Electronic Resources Librarian
Minnesota State University - Moorhead


Call for Papers: Library Research Seminar II

The Library Research Seminar II Planning Committee invites researchers, practicing professionals, and students to attend and contribute to this international dialogue on library and information studies research. Scholarship will be solicited and refereed for presentation in the following areas, among others: new information technologies; basic and applied quantitative and qualitative research; interdisciplinary connections; technology-based research; research and policy analysis; research and strategic directions for libraries; practitioners and the academy; education for research; student research; historical research and the future of library research.  For more information about this opportunity, contact Dr. Lynn Westbrook  (jwestbrook@twu.edu) or visit the conference  web site http://www.dpo.uab.edu/~folive/LRSII/index.htm.  Proposals for clinics, papers, panels, and discussions are due February 1, 2001.


Volunteers Needed: WSS Core Lists

Volunteers are needed to update the WSS Core Lists for Politics and Politics International. Volunteers would only need to check the 2000 lists against the current Books In Print. The deadline for updating this year's lists is Dec. 1, 2000.  Please contact the editors, and they will send the current guidelines to anyone interested in updating these important collection development tools.  Contact: Bernice Redfern (San Jose State University) bredfern@email.sjsu.edu  or Megan Adams (Swarthmore College) madams1@swarthmore.edu.


Committee Reports

Instruction Committee
(Formerly Social Issues & Education Committee)

Committee members discussed last-minute updating of the newly finished project, a web guide to Women's Activism.  After a last draft, we will submit the guide for inclusion on an appropriate WSS Page.  (We have since learned that the project must be approved before it can be linked to the ACRL Women's Studies Page.)

We are now engaged in our new project:  evaluating electronic databases for their relevance to Women's Studies.  Evaluation of the four major databases in Women's Studies (GenderWatch, Contemporary Women's Issues, International Women's Periodicals, and Women's Resources International) was done previously by WSS members and published in Serials Review.  Our project studies these as well as additional databases and guides to the literature from an instructional viewpoint (how to teach their use).  This analysis would be useful to a (new) librarian instructing classes in Women's Studies.

Specific categories of evaluation are:

  • Description (how the database is useful in Women's Studies)
  • Search Tips  (wildcards, truncation symbols, etc.)
  • Selected subject terms
  • Major Women's Studies journals indexed (with years of inclusion)
  • Format (citation, abstract, fulltext)

Specific databases to be covered include: America History and Life/Historical Abstracts, Ethnic Newswatch, Women Writers Online, and Medline.

Shelley Arlen, Chair
University of Florida Libraries

Electronic Resources and Access Committee

The committee continues to work on developing a core list of Women’s Studies serials.

As the committee began discussing the format of the core list, it became clear that we felt we should add information about electronic availability of titles and electronic indexing.  Our entry for each title will include:  start date, publisher, frequency, ISSN, major print and electronic indexing, URL for home page, whether it’s available electronically by subscription, and whether the full-text appears in an aggregator package.  The annotation will be brief and will include the scope of the publication.

Deciding to add electronic availability and indexing information means that we will not be done with this project as soon as hoped. Once the list has been completed and approved according to the section’s publications guidelines, it will appear on a new WSS collection development resources page.

Sandy River, Chair
Texas Tech University Library

Publications Committee

The committee reviewed and revised the second draft of the WSS Publication Manual, 2nd edition.  Some rather minor revisions were made which were presented to the WSS board.  The committee met with the Collection Development Committee to review & discuss its web site development.  The Electronic Resources Committee joined in and further Web development was discussed.  Both of these committees will fill out the Publications Committee's draft "publications idea" form.

The text of the revised manual will be sent to all WSS members who subscribe to the WSS ListServ.

Mary Rosenbloom
Assistant to Vice-Chancellor
University of Kansas Library

Communications Committee

The committee discussed the WSS Brochure which is to be updated in October of each year. Copies with volunteer forms should be placed in the ACRL booth at the Midwinter and Annual conferences. Brochures should also be sent to new members.  A copy of a revised brochure was reviewed.  Ideas for communication to members and non-members were also discussed.  The committee considered the possibility of creating an e-mail distribution list of the membership.  Members were asked to think of other options and ways to communicate with these groups as well as to communicate with ACRL members who may wish to join WSS.  Communication with new members currently occurs through welcome letters and the new member orientation held at the Annual meeting.  This activity should be planned at Midwinter.  It was also decided that the next Social Hour, in Washington D.C., should be held as near the membership meeting as possible.  As soon as the section’s meetings are scheduled the question of place will be reviewed.  

Sue McFadden
Assistant Librarian for Public Services
 Indiana University East

Collection Development Committee

Committee members have developed a web site of collection development and management resources for Women's Studies librarians.  The site's title will be CD Resources for Women's Studies and is designed to help bibliographers who are new to the field as well as those with more experience.  Sections of the site present publishers (with web sites when available),  review sources, an assessment of electronic databases that index Women’s Studies’ periodicals, suggested tools for keeping current with WS research, and more.

At the ALA meeting in July the CD committee joined with the Publications Committee to learn about the process they have recently developed for review and approval of publications from the Women's Studies Section.   The CD Committee chair completed the Publications Committee's review form for WS CD Resources, and the web site will serve as a test case for this review and approval process.

A project the CD committee may undertake next year involves analyzing how the WS core lists are used by librarians around the country.   Ellen Greenblatt, of Auraria Library, Univ. Colorado, Denver will be the
new chair of the CD Committee.

Flora Shrode, Chair
University of Tennessee Libraries

Research Committee

The Research Committee proposed to the Women’s Studies Section Executive Committee that it become a regular committee after ALA annual in 2001 with the following charge:

  • The Research Committee will identify needed research, encourage collaboration in research, facilitate the acquisition of skills related to research and publishing, and promote an awareness of existing and ongoing research related or applicable to Women’s Studies librarianship and resources.

The Executive Committee approved the proposal and the charge.  The Committee will continue to meet at a time not in conflict with the all-committee meetings of the section until it becomes an official group.

Projects proposed by the Committee include a call for papers service and the creation of a list of experts who can assist others in research or who can help mentor new researchers.  There is also the  possibility of a type of research clearinghouse where members could get feedback on research already in progress.  Now that the committee has been officially approved, we will be discussing implementation of some the above projects at ALA Midwinter.

Anyone who is interested in membership on this committee should contact Dolores Fidishun.

Dolores Fidishun, Chair
Penn State Great Valley


WSS Meeting Schedule for the 2001 Midwinter Conference in Washington D.C.
Locations will be posted on WSS-L or check your conference program

Sunday, January 14 9:30-11:00 All Committee Meeting
Sunday, January 14 4:30-5:30 General Membership Meeting
Sunday, January 14 5:30-  Social Hour
Monday, January 15 9:30-11:00 Discussion Group
Monday, January 15 2:00-4:00 Executive Committee Meeting

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.

Editor:  Regan Brumagen (Hartwick College, brumagene@hartwick.edu)
Assistant Editor:  Kelly Hovendick (Syracuse University

The WSS Newsletter welcomes contributions from readers.  Send articles, items of interest, and news to the editors,  preferably in electronic format. ©American Library Association, 2000     ISSN 0895-691X

  • WSS Officers 2000/2001:

    Theresa Tobin, Chair
    Connie Phelps, Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect
    Marcia Evans, Secretary
    Mary Nofsinger, Member-at-large
    Dolores Fidishun, Member-at-large

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