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#1 -- [1983]

Biblio-Notes (ISSN 1076-8947) is published twice a year by the English and American Literature Section of the Association of College and Research Libraries, a division of the American Library Association. Paper subscriptions are free to members of the section.

Editor: Will Goodwin, University of Texas at Austin

Copyright 1983 by the American Library Association.


The ACRL English and American Literature Discussion Group met at ALA Midwinter on Monday, January 10. Scott Stebelman, Chair, presented the agenda:

1. Results of the questionnaire
2. ALA program
3. Newsletter
4. Proposal regarding guide to selection tools
5. Brownson/Pankake proposals on little magazines
6. Election of new officers in March
7. Bylaws

1. Questionnaire

The results of the questionnaire show that 56.8% of the discussion group members consider themselves subject specialists, 9.1% bibliographers, and 9.1% rare book librarians. 62.5% said they were interested in activities related to library instruction, and 55% said they were interested in book and periodical selection. 70% were interested in sponsoring research projects or publications, and 72.5% in sponsoring joint conferences with other literary groups. Scott felt it was important that the initial meetings of the group concentrate on issues of interest reported in the questionnaire. After that, the group could be open to other issues.

2. ALA Program

Vice-Chair Valmai Fenster spoke about the program on bibliographic instruction planned for the discussion group's meeting at ALA in Los Angeles this summer. She hopes to have two speakers for twenty minutes each, followed by a forty-five minute question and answer period, followed by the business meeting (two hours in all, scheduled for 2 PM, June 28). Her major contacts are Bill McPheron (SUNY Buffalo), Mary George (Princeton), and Maureen Pastine (San Jose State).

There was some discussion on the importance of making a distinction between undergraduate and graduate instruction. The consensus was that it was not important to have one speaker on undergraduate, and one on graduate bibliographic instruction, and that the question of the distinction between the two could be raised during the question and answer period and be discussed at that time. Scott Stebelman expressed a concern for more interaction among the discussion group members during the program, with the lectures kept to a minimum.

3. Newsletter

Thirty percent of those returning the questionnaire expressed a willingness to work on a discussion group newsletter. Will Goodwin, present newsletter editor, has investigated possible funding sources. His institution, the University of Texas at Austin, cannot expend state funds for such a project. ACRL sections can get funds from ACRL, but discussion groups cannot. Will envisions a newsletter of approximately five pages, printed on both sides.

Other members mentioned the experience of WESS in producing its newsletter.

[Note: pages missing]

7. Bylaws (continued)

year to year, by systematizing procedures and defining what constitutes membership. This issue will be discussed again in Los Angeles. A draft of proposed bylaws will be sent out in the next few months.

Elaine Franco



An election will be held in March for a new Vice-Chair/Chair Elect and Secretary. Their terms will begin with the June 28 meeting. If anyone is interested in running for either of these positions, they should send their names to Mary Canada, Head, Reference Department, Perkins Library, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina 27701. Please indicate your institutional affiliation, position (e.g., cataloger, subject specialist, library educator, etc.), and any activities or publications germane to the interests of the group.

According to ACRL bylaws, one technically has to be a member of ACRL to be a member of our group (although our meetings are open to anyone). Therefore, prospective candidates should be members of ACRL, and ballots will be sent only to those people on our mailing list who are also members. In addition to membership restrictions, candidates should be fairly certain that they can attend both the midwinter and summer conference meetings of ALA; this is necessary for successful planning and membership interaction.


To avoid using a nondescript name for our newsletter, Biblio-notes was chosen for this issue. Other possible names suggested were Biblio-files and Amanuensis; however, both these names have been used by other groups. Anyone who can think of a snappier alternative to Biblio-notes should send their recommendation to Valmai Fenster, Library School, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin 53706.


The Committee on Manuscript Holdings of the MLA's American Literature Section will be meeting with the RBMS Information Exchange Committee this summer in Los Angeles in order to solicit useful comments on the scope, organization, methodology, and format of a planned third edition of the standard finding guide, American Literary Manuscripts. This tool, now in its second edition (Athens: University of Georgia Press, c1977), is compiled under the MLA committee's direction, and the meeting in Los Angeles is one of a series with interested user groups that have been held around the nation in the past year. "Interested user groups" in the present instance means "librarians," and whereas this meeting is sponsored by the RBMS, it is the hope of the Committee on Manuscript Holdings that persons other than rare book and manuscript librarians (e.g., bibliographers and reference librarians who deal with American literature) will also attend and make their presence felt. One matter in which members of the Discussion Group may be of particular help to the Committee is the question of who is an American (that is, U.S. American) author: the author list in the second edition has been rightly criticized in several respects (e.g., too eclectic; cf. John C. Broderick in Review 1 (1979), 295-300), and suggestions for improvement here are especially welcome.

The meeting is tentatively scheduled for the first hour of the 2-4 PM time block on Sunday, June 26. It will appear in the official ALA Conference Program as the second meeting that day of the RBMS Information Exchange Committee, and since it will be listed as a committee meeting chances are excellent that no descriptive copy will be provided. Scheduling foul-ups have made the date (but not the time) a little uncertain; at this writing, the possibility still exists that the meeting will be held instead on Monday, the 27th. Persons wishing to attend should therefore plan to locate the second RBMS Information Exchange Committee meeting in the Program (they will both be on the same day) and to take it from there. This is an excellent opportunity for librarians in our field to become involved in the shaping of a useful reference tool; I hope many of us take advantage of it. Those who for some reason are unable to attend may direct written comments to the Chair of the committee: Professor L. Terry Oggel, Department of English, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Illinois 60115.

John B. Dillon
(for the Committee on Manuscript Holdings)

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