Bidney named 2017 ACRL WESS-SEES De Gruyter Grant winner

For Immediate Release
Fri, 03/17/2017


Chase Ollis

Program Officer


CHICAGO – Marcy Bidney, curator, American Geographical Society Library at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, has been selected to receive the 2017 Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) Western European Studies Section (WESS) / Slavic and East European Section (SEES) De Gruyter European Librarianship Study Grant for her project, “Where the Water Flows: Documenting Collections of late 19th and early 20th century Nautical Charts.”

Sponsored by the Walter de Gruyter Foundation for Scholarship and Research, the grant provides €2,500 to support a trip to Europe. The primary criterion for awarding the grant is the significance and utility of the proposed project as a contribution to the study of the acquisition, organization or use of library resources from or relating to Europe.

Bidney will receive the award check during the 2017 ALA Annual Conference in Chicago.

Bidney’s project will focus on documenting the existence and extent of collections of nautical charts from about 1820-1935, which have the potential to play an important role in providing access to historical water data in current times when it is clear that access to water is becoming a critical issue facing the world. Historical knowledge of water locations, breadth, and depths will aid in research and can be used for protecting valuable water resources. This research will result in extensive documentation of these collections, with the intent to later create a collaborative project to create a point of access and discovery for these collections.

“The committee was particularly impressed by the potential of Bidney’s project to have the important practical benefit of contributing to our understanding of present-day freshwater resources,” said award chair Jeffrey Staiger of the University of Oregon. “Bidney plans to determine the extent of the holdings in nautical charts at select major European libraries in England, France, and Portugalm and document their coverage, bibliographic details, and condition. These oft-neglected cartographical objects contain historical information about such aspects of waterways as depth, shorelines, and navigation routes.”

Bidney received her M.L.I.S. from Drexel University, and her M.A. in Geography and Urban Studies from Temple University.

For more information regarding the ACRL WESS-SEES De Gruyter European Librarianship Study Grant, or a complete list of past recipients, please visit the awards section of the ACRL website.


The Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) is the higher education association for librarians. Representing nearly 11,000 academic and research librarians and interested individuals, ACRL (a division of the American Library Association) develops programs, products and services to help academic and research librarians learn, innovate and lead within the academic community. Founded in 1940, ACRL is committed to advancing learning and transforming scholarship. ACRL is on the web at, Facebook at and Twitter at @ala_acrl.