A Great Place for New Librarians: Report on the Women’s Studies Section at Midwinter



by Stacy Shotsberger Russo, Reference & Instruction Librarian, California State University, Fullerton

The Association of College and Research Libraries Women’s Studies Section (WSS) provides many opportunities for new librarians and library school students to get involved. As someone new to the profession, I can vouch for the collegial spirit of WSS. Some librarians in the section have a personal interest in women’s studies, but may have few or no formal responsibilities in the area. Anyone with an interest is welcome!

The 2006 American Library Association Midwinter Meeting in San Antonio provided me the opportunity to meet those I had been working with at a distance. I will report on some WSS events I attended to provide NMRT members with an overview of the section and ways to get involved.

General Membership Meeting

WSS has a structure of committees similar to other professional groups. Committees within the section include Awards; Collection Development & Bibliography; Conference Program Planning; Electronic Resources & Access; Instruction; Nominating; Membership; Publications; and Research.

Many unique committee projects were reported on during the General Membership Meeting. The Conference Planning Committee, for example, is currently developing a program for the 2006 Annual Conference in New Orleans that will investigate information literacy within the context of interdisciplinary studies. The Publications Committee recently designed a new promotional brochure for the section that was met with overwhelming approval by those present. The Membership Committee has implemented an ACRL approved action plan to target library school students and the Instruction Committee is developing a program that will explore the use of blogs, chat, and other non-traditional tools in women’s studies instruction. To learn more about the committees and how to join, go to

Sherri Barnes, current editor of the WSS Newsletter, also put out a call for articles at the meeting. The newsletter, which is published in the spring and fall each year, provides a good introduction to the section. Past issues are available at


The Midwinter Social was held at the Zinc Wine Bar in downtown San Antonio. The event drew a good turnout. All enjoyed the eclectic and artistic surroundings found in the century old building. WSS Socials are held at both ALA Midwinter Meetings and Annual Conferences. Hosted by the Membership Committee, the social allows for informal discussions and a way to meet interesting and creative librarians.

Core Books Contributors Meeting

A significant project of WSS is the Core Books Database. Located at
http://digicoll.library.wisc.edu/ACRLWSS/, this excellent resource for faculty, librarians, and the interested reader, includes women’s studies core book lists across nearly 50 categories. Each category is voluntarily maintained by a member of WSS. The Core Books Meeting provided a chance for contributors to ask questions, as well as the opportunity for those interested in the project to learn more. Calls for contributors are posted to the WSS Discussion List, whenever openings become available.

More Information

If you are interested in learning more about WSS, please visit the website at
http://www.libr.org/WSS/. Also consider joining the WSS Discussion List. Instructions for joining may be found at

We hope to see some NMRT members at the ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans!