Africana Librarians Council San Francisco
Present: Angel Batiste (LC), Ruby Bell-Gam (UCLA), Simon Bockie (UC Berkley), Fehl M. Cannon (LC), Joseph Caruso (Columbia U), Miriam Conteh-Morgan (Ohio State), Andrew DeHeer (Schomburg Center), David Easterbrook (Northwestern), Gregory Finnegan (Harvard), Karen Fung (Stanford), Miki Goral (UCLA),Marieta Harper (LC), Margaret Hughes (Stanford), Pamela Howard-Reguindin (LC Nairobi),Bassey Irele (Harvard), Alfred Kagan (U of Illinois),Esmeralda Kale (Northwestern),Deborah LaFond (U of Albany),Joe Lauer (Michigan State U),Bob Lesh (Northwestern),Peter Limb (Michigan State U),Ken Lohrentz (Kansas), Loyd Mbabu (Ohio U),Emilie Ngo-Nguidjol (Wisconsin),Lauris Olson (U of Pennsylvania),Patricia Ogedengbe (Northwestern),Laverne Page (LC),Loumona Petroff (Boston U), JasonSchultz (Georgia State), Shoshanah Seidman (Northwestern),Fenta Tiruneh (LC),Gretchen Walsh (Boston U),David Westley (Boston U),Marion Frank-Wilson (Indiana U),Dorothy Woodson (Yale).
Opening The meeting was called to order at 9:00 am. by the Chair,Lauris Olson.
- Greetings and Introductions
- Approval of the minutes of Spring 2006
The minutes were approved subject to changes with respect to the Letter to LC (protesting thedecision to discontinue creating authority records), with changes to be agreed upon by the Executive.
- Announcements and Changes to the agenda
- Walsh announced the 3 finalists of the Conover Porter Award.Olson thanked the following members, Walsh, Harper, Bell-Gam, Limb and Finnegan,for serving on the panel.
- Olsonnoted the Presidential Lecture & Awards Ceremony Conover Porter Prize at 8-9:30pm and theHelene Baumann memorial session from1-2pm.
- Olson’s panel listed in the handbook was cancelled.
- Library of Congress Series Authority Records action.
Olsonconfirmed that he sent a letter to LC, based on our discussion at the last meeting.
- ALC elections- Caruso and Mbabu.
32 members voted. Olson congratulated the newly-elected members of the Africana Librarians Council Executive Board:Vice-Chair / Chair Elect:Miki Goral, Member-at-Large:Margaret Hughes,Secretary: Miriam Conteh-Morgan.
Members applauded the rest of the slate
6.Library of Congress reports
Page submitted the following written report.See Appendix A
Cannonreported that Lygia Ballantyne has retired. James Gentneris the acting Chief in WashingtonDC. LC has 3 field offices open.Cairo has an opening for a vacancy. There is a new deputy field Director in Islamabad. Fred Protopappas, has returned to WashingtonDC. LC is currently reorganizing the service but this should not have an impact on the CAP field office. Only the Africa division, DC Office will be affected.
Howard-Reguindin reported that they continue to streamline operations in LC/Nairobi. The total number of items acquired last year by LC AfriCAP was 127,526. There was a slight decrease due to a decrease in newspaper subscriptions and serials. There was a 21% increase in monograph acquisitions. Thirteen acquisitions trips were taken.Cataloging statistics have increased by 8% to over 5,000 items. The Office is participating in LC's digital TOC project and contributed 115 records for FY2006. We would havecontributed more butfor the restriction to TOC's forEnglish language works only.We started an internship program which lasts 3-4 months per intern.Our firstintern worked out so well that he was lateremployed by the office. For the Quarterly Index to African Periodical Literature, 1,050 citations were added in 2006. Two part-time indexers have been hired, but 1 quit shortly after training.. LC Nairobi is seeking volunteers to assist with indexing. Bob Lesh and Bassy Irele kindly volunteered to help with the indexing. For the first time in 20 years, LC Nairobi has a new office brochure in English, Portuguese, Kiswahili and French. LC is grateful to CAMP for filming the Malawi papers. A proposal to microfilm newspapers from Zaire/Congo has been submitted to CAMP for consideration. LC is seeking alternativesources for microfilming our huge backlog of newspapers. A Saber Foundation donation of a container of books for schools to Nairobi didn’t work, so the America Embassy purchased 100 copies of the World Book Encyclopedia from Sabre's partner and is donating them to schools. The Kenya Library Association celebrated its 50thanniversarythis year and LC/Nairobi co-sponsored a reception for the occasion. Laverne Page, Fentahun Tiruneh and Dorothy Woodson visited the Nairobi office this fiscal year.
Lauer said that almost everyone is here from AHMED. Page said the Turkish specialist and Mary Jane Deeb had other commitments.
Pamphlet collection of the Thomas Kane Collection – Tracy Titus, a volunteer from Howard compiled the database that is available for research. Only journal articles from the 1920’s-2001 are available. Lauer asked ifit would be available for sale. Tiruneh said it would not, but the database would be available online.Lauer commented that the Ethiopian Herald clippings seem to be more like a scrap book than microfilm and that the index is not complete. Tiruneh said that it has a number of people relevant photographs and it is used quite often and users don’t have to browse issue by issue.
Olsonsuggested that we would be interested to hear about the pilot project on the “Crisis in Darfur” from Batiste at the meeting in Philadelphia.
7.Library of Congress African and Middle Eastern Reading Room
Olson was contacted and told it would close and merge with the reading room…in order to accommodate a gift exhibit space. People were alarmed. There was nothing we could do until this meeting. Olson wrote a letter to like minded people MELA, Western European Division, Director of ACRL, American Libraries, Library Journal, H-Africa, the International Relations Round Table.Walsh contacted a number of people in Boston.
Olson asked the following questions. What did do, what did you think, should be have contacted the Foreign Relations Committee, the Oversight Committee,how do we get best practices?
Bell-Gam said that Olson’s letter was informative and served as a spring board for further communication. It was posted to the list serve and to scholars.The reaction from scholars made the difference. UCLA’sAfricanStudiesCenter took it seriously and published it. When the story first came out, a number of people did not want to react, but others did.Olsonsaid we will ever get the full story. This will ever go away. We have to be watchful. Lafond echoed Bell-Gam’s thoughts about the email and the letter.Limb said concern was raised by African diplomats and professors in DC. We do not want to be seen to be meddling in the internal affairs of LC by maintaining an interest in the status of African Studies within LC.
Olson said it might look like an attack. We might have a few bridges to build. MELA didn’t know and they are effective lobbyers, so at Penn we are working on closer links with MELA Board.Bell-Gamshared the article with UCLA’sMELA representative and they were in contact with the MELA Board.Lauer said Olson should have shared it with the membership. The reading room is less important, more concerned about the offices in LC that share our interests. Rather than act alone you should have brought it to the membership.Olson said he felt it was urgent and that we had to say something. Limb agreed saying sometimes leaders have to lead and take a stand for what they believe. The majority were in favor of expressing concern.
In response to Lauer, Walsh said an executive discussion might not have been the only thing to do. We need a procedure in place. What should we do? We are grateful that Olson wrote the text. It was very disturbing to hear that LC wanted to remove a service in order to set up an exhibit.Olson said he didnot want to send out a rumor. DeHeersaid that looking at it, in the context of changes at LC, the action taken wasappropriate.Olson and Goral said it was a judgment call. Goral went on to say that we have an executive who have to handle the business between meetings.
Bell-Gam said that the executive mentioned coordinating with MELA; we might want to talk to the Chair especially since the reading room relates to both groups. It’s a service area, an area where events and exhibits are held. If it were to close, it would take away significant activity in a centralized, recognized space.3 ALC members are MELA members too- Seidman, Schultz and Miner (absent). Limb suggested we continue to monitor the situation. The original plan might be executed. Liaisingwith MELA is good, but it is hard to know what to do.Seidman said the Organization of Jewish Librarians did not know anything about it. There was nothing from the Association of Jewish Libraries or theJewish Librarians Division. If there had been concern, it would have been raised by them, from LC to us.
Olson asked if we should send a letter to LC and thank them for reversing the decision, and letting them know that we welcome the need to discuss it further.Limb said we do not want to antagonize them. We could send a letter enclosing a vote. It is an LC matter, and we do not want to over step ourselves and over step the issue.Olson asked if we should charge the executive to write a letter. Irele suggested we send a positive statement.Finnegan said we should be tactful, they are a body with a long standing interest in this area and we can offer our cooperation in some manner.Walsh asked if we could discuss it further at the next meeting.Lafond agreed with Walsh. Limb moved that we submit a letter. Members voted, all but 1 in favor.
- ASA Publications committee report, ASA journals future
Henigereported that the Board had received more information from Routledge. ASA would like to get out of the publishing business. They only want to publish ASA news and this could be done electronically. Routledge would raise institutional rates and possible circulation. ASA could run the publications but it needs to look at ways of being efficient. It is not too late to say anything. ASA isn’t saying they can do it. There is revenue to be made. Olson encouraged members to contact Christiana Carl, (responsible for publications), at the ASA booth. Kagan suggested that we might want to go on record, since we have been discussing it over a number of years informally. He suggested that we write a letter to the publications committee. Henige said that it would make a difference.
Olson reported that Carol Martin had met with the American Council of Learned Societieson a fact finding mission.Henige said that they are raising dues by $40 but in fact we will be getting less. Bell-Gam said the ASR is included in the membership, but the subject base has been reduced and it does not look as if it is professional. Olson wanted to know who owned what with regard to older and newer ASA publications. It is alarming to see 2 JSTOR bundles while Proquest holds ASR.Kagan suggested that we move to ask the ASA to retain publishing of its publications, in a letter drafted by Henige and the executive.Olsonsuggested we express our concerns and how it affects libraries.
Henige asked member to publicize what is going on because no one is talking about it.Limb agreed that a letter is a good idea and suggested it be comprehensive, emphasizingthe following points - this is coming from the memberships of Africana Librarians across the country, the Secretariat is trying to take the easy way out, there are a number of risks, circulation will decline.Bell-Gam said ASA is trying to get rid of its responsibility. It has real problems. African Issues was discontinued because they could not find an editor. These problems do not seem to have a pragmatic solution.
Henige maintained that the ASA can publish profitably. They have a new publications person. Limb suggested thatASA cut deals with publishers and different packages. They donot have to aggregate content. We could highlight this in our letter.Mbabu recommended that we write the letter. Lauer asked if we should detach our dissertations detach our dissertations from ASA News, now that it is only available online. Limb notedthe value of the dissertations and suggested they continue to be submitted to ASA news. Olsonsuggested the letter to ASA include the following issues- support, concern, ASA news, maximizing in house publishing, outlining our concerns as librarians. Henige suggested we include access.
9.ALC web site future, alcasalist membership reaffirmation
Any African library association, librarian, vendor can join the list. US librarians have to be ASA members US librarians working in a government agency overseas are US librarians. Finnegan noted that the guidelines were crafted in order to include African librarians that might problems with foreign exchange.
Olson said with Zellers’ retirement from LC will LC continue to support what is online until spring.Page indicated that LC doesn’t want materials from non LC units. Joanne volunteered to continue in order to give us time. Paul Zani in AMED uploads the material. Another institution will have to take it on.Finnegan said the reason Joanne stepped up to do it was because the ASA and other institutions could not do it. Carol Martin last night suggested that ASA might be able to host the sight.Olson said he did not get that impression. Rutgers does not have a good presence but perhaps they could be a good long term solution. In the short term we can put up pages for the meetings, but in the long term we need to look for an institution that does not have restrictions with an institutional repository where members could deposit information. We should look at SALAAM and MELA, a lot is distributed locally we might be half way there. Limb agreed that a distributed model works well. What we need is a home for our home page.
We are not asking for volunteers right now, but can members find out if it is possible.Goral said it should be at ASA. We can feed into it. Limb said theoretically it’s a good idea, but we might have problems if we want to make changes to the site. It is the natural place for it. Perhaps we could try it for a year on an experimental basis. Ngo-Nguidjol agreed that it was only logical for it to be at ASA, but went on to ask if members liked the ASA web presence. A number of members have African Studies Programs with stellar web sites, perhaps this might be another option. Olson suggested that a small group might want to this with him Caruso, Limb, andNgo-Nguidjol volunteered.
Lauer asked if the documents current hosted by LC should be moved or would they stay at LC. Page said Joanne could answer this and would let us know. Schultz suggested a wiki model hosted at ASA. Information can be changed and updated by the committee chairs. New committee chairs could change content. The major concern would be who would be responsible for hosting it.
10.Upcoming ALC Meetings
- Spring 2007: Philadelphia, 4/19-21/07
- Fall 2007: New York10/18/07 to 10/21/07
Olson asked for possible topics of interest. He suggested services to refugees, social work for librarians, Educause, PennTags, creating a on the fly web directories, Wikies and RSS feeds. Bell-Gam suggested a workshop by Verlon Stone in the area of preservation and conservation.Olson suggestedethnomusicology, ethnographic field notes and conservation.Limb suggested we consider suggestions in conjunction with New York. It might be best to call on Olson’s expertise in the area of technology and think of preservation in New York.
Ngo-Nguidjolsaid considering that it will be Ghana’s 50th anniversary and that we will be in New York, perhaps service to new immigrants would be a good idea. WARA is working on narratives from the African immigrants and providing online access to them. Olsonmentioned a filmmaker in Philadelphia interviewing Nigerian cab drivers. DeHeer and Caruso are talking about New York. DeHeer has been asked speak to the ASA and find out how they would like the SchomburgCenter to participate, the Schomburg is interested in sponsoring an event. Would it be possible to see the Herskovits field notes and artifacts?Olson suggested that it would be interesting to meet with librarians outside of ASA and have institutions host things outside of ASA. Limbmentioned that given that this is the 50th anniversary of Ghana’s independence, it would be interesting if we could have 2 events say on Wednesday or Saturday evening. It might be possible to bus or ferry people back and forth. Conteh-Morgan noted that this year was the 200thanniversary of the anti-slave trade act.Olson suggested a small group to work with Caruso. DeHeer, Conteh-Morgan, Harper, Bell-Gam volunteered.
- Spring 2008 Iowa City?
Olson announced that Miner had indicated an interest in hosting the spring meeting.
11.Committee reports- (committees with action items only)
oBibliography –Bell-Gam- Comments and concerns about NISC should be sent to Bell-Gam.
o Book Donations –Schultz and Batoma- Working on getting the success stories together, especially of the past 2 yrs. Miner and Lafond have a few stories.Nosakhere and Bischoff are working on an article.