Area and International Studies Librarianship Workshop: Continuing a National Conversation

November 5th 2013

 At a time of increasing internationalization in American higher education and decreasing resources, IU Libraries hosted a national workshop that promises to have lasting impact on international library collection development and support.

The Collaboration, Advocacy, and Recruitment: Area and International Studies Librarianship Workshop drew together a wide range of specialists from area studies librarians to independent booksellers to the head of collection development at the New York Public Library to discuss the future of the profession for international collection experts.  Headlining the program were the three keynote speakers:  James G. Neal, former dean of the IU Libraries now Vice President for Information Services and University Librarian at Columbia University; Dan Hazen,  Associate Librarian of Harvard College for Collection Development; and Deborah Jakubs, the Rita DiGiallonardo Holloway University Librarian and the Vice Provost for Library Affairs at Duke University.

This is part of an ongoing national dialogue about the need for highly trained individuals with language, subject, professional, and technical expertise to manage the acquisition and distribution of foreign language materials.

According to Ruth Lilly Dean of Indiana University Libraries Brenda L. Johnson, “As international scholarship and education play increasingly vital roles in American higher education, Indiana University continues to build on its longstanding commitment to international outreach, and area and international studies librarians are partners in the research and teaching enterprise, as they develop and shape our collections and work to enhance research opportunities for faculty and students who are addressing global and international issues.”

This workshop represents IU’s most recent contribution in this area.  After undertaking a Department of Education-funded project to investigate and promote area studies librarianship as a career in 1993, the IU Libraries hosted a conference on the Future of Area Studies Librarianship in 1995.  

Marion Frank-Wilson, head of the Area Studies Department and conference organizer, added, “In 2011, IU Libraries Area Studies Department members collaborated on the Association of Research Libraries’ Spec Kit on Collecting Global Resources, which focused, in part, on challenges related to collecting global resources within an environment of political and economic change and in the face of ongoing changes in scholarly communication.”Designed on a provocation and response model, workshop activities actually started months prior to the event with invited participants contributing written responses, which formed the basis of the core conversations about collaboration; training, recruiting, and mentoring; advocacy and positioning; and next steps.  Lively discussion of international issues spilled over from formal sessions into informal conversations that lasted well into Thursday evening’s reception, an event designed to enrich opportunities for collaboration, partnership, and information exchange. 

This workshop received support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation as well as the IU Libraries.