October 8, 2020 Meeting of Area Studies

Time and Location of Meeting

October 8, 2020

Agenda Details


Area Studies Division Meeting

October 8, 2020


Online Zoom Meeting

  1. Sign up for Note Taking
  2. Accolades and Announcements
  3. Approval of the Minutes from August & September
  4. 2021-2022 Sabbatical Plans
    1. Issue with iSchool course that starts in late January—trying to squeeze it between summer lab and start of course
    2. July 2022-January 2023
    3. Going to Finland
  5. Kit Research Presentation
  6. Discussion
    1. Impact of the Pandemic and E-Preferred Collecting Strategies on Area Studies Discussion with Tom Teper (Tom with arrive at 10:30 for Discussion)
    2. Challenges and Brainstorming Solutions for Area Studies Cataloging
  7. Reports

Minutes Details


Area Studies Division Meeting

October 8, 2020


Online Zoom Meeting Minutes

IN ATTENDANCE: Mara Thacker, Steve Witt, ShuYong Jiang, Kit Condill, Antonio Sotomayor, Bob Geraci, Tom Teper and Katie Ebeling


Meeting started at 10am.

Accolades and Announcements:

  • As previously discussed, Steven asked for any feedback to be sent to him as soon as possible via email
  • Reminder that Steve and Mary Laskowski will be our special guest speakers in November

Approval of the Minutes from August and September 2020:

  • Mara announced that the collective reconstructive efforts regarding creating the August 2020 meeting minutes was not as complete as hoped. Minutes will remain as incomplete. Minutes approved by group.

Discussion item #1: 2021-2022 Sabbatical Plans:

  • Both Kit and Layla have applied for sabbatical for 2021-2022. It was discussed as a division because coverage needs to be addressed going forward. Mara inquired if a vote was needed?
    • Steve Witt provided the following info in chat:

Divison Role in approval process: early October the division advisory committee will review all applications (See Appendix 2, “Guidelines for Divisional Evaluation of Sabbatical Requests.”). If the committee believes further information is needed, the divisional coordinator will meet with the applicant to discuss this. Upon approval by the division advisory committee, the division coordinator will forward the application form to the Associate Dean or Academic Affairs.. Campus policy precludes the use of additional funds to cover sabbatical vacancies. Any costs associated with the coverage of sabbatical vacancies will be provided by the Library Administration and will vary from year to year. Under most circumstances, however, no additional staffing will be provided. If the application is approved, the University Librarian will sign (on the “Unit Executive Office Line”) the top half of the second side of the application form. https://www.library.illinois.edu/staff/policies/sabbatical/

  • Kit discussed his concerns regarding his late January course schedule, because if his sabbatical starts late July 2021 he would not return until later than anticipated. He will discuss this more in depth with Chris Prom going forward. Kit is looking into possibly rescheduling his sabbatical for July 2022-2023. Regardless of when he will be taking his sabbatical, he will be heading to Finland to their National Catalogues to help archive and identify catalogues to help make more information available. No steps towards discussing coverage have occurred yet.
  • Since Laila was not in attendance today to discuss her sabbatical plans, Mara suggested the idea to meet again next Thursday from 10:00-10:30am to follow up regarding this topic. It was brought up my group members that this needs to be figured out within the next few weeks. Mara indicated that she will send out an email shortly to figure out plans to address this topic.

Discussion item #2:  Kit Condill Chapter Presentation on Reconstructing “The Ladder of Languages” in 21st Century research libraries: the elision of the North Caucasus in Western Scholarship and collection development:

  • Discussing this topic leads us to an area roughly the size of South Dakota where 40 documented languages are spoken there, many very diverse. This area has had a long history of conflict, population shifts as well as border shifts. Kit decided to focus on this area as there has not been a lot of publication history done on this region, and his concern was whether any of the publications from this area have received any academic awareness – to which the answer was a resounding NO. Very little has been collected and very little has been written about.
  • Kit brought up The Collector and the Collected: Decolonizing Area Studies Librarianship and how his focus on this Arabic area will aide Area Studies Libraries that have been faltering at viewing this area as a viable place worth researching, collecting and documenting. Kit discussed how Area Studies Libraries deal with issues such as these, as the dominant answer is that they don’t deal with them very well if at all. Using WorldCat statistics, Kit showed examples how grave the deficit is regarding the lack of attention given to this specific area. Kit ended his presentation asking the major question of what do we do with areas that have been overlooked socially and academically?

Discussion item #3: Thomas Teper follow up regarding E-Resources within the University Library: As it was previously discussed last month “Impact of the Pandemic and E-Preferred Collecting Strategies on Area Studies Discussion with Tom Teper” along with “Challenges and Brainstorming Solutions for Area Studies Cataloging” this is a follow up to growing concerns and challenges within the library

  • As all Area Studies Divisions have increased discussions online addressing multiple statements being released about dealing with electronic materials and electronic strategies, Tom addressed to the group that they are proceeding with an “E-First” program strategy, which has been utilized by this library as a means of continuing service during the COVID period. This program both reduces physical contact as well as the need for face-to-face services, lessening – in particular – the contact by civil services staff at the front lines.
  • The Fulfillment team has outlined a program that, upon receiving patron’s request of materials, that privileges electronic access for as the first mechanism for fulfilling requests. If those are not available, we followed up by scanning materials (this comprises about 20% of requests). All other requests are pulled and set aside in lockers. The pick-up rate for those items pulled for pick up is similar to that for all other items historically requested – about 50% – per Tom.
  • The Return to Work plan was discussed also. Tom stated that, in ACS, we still have many individuals working remotely. This is being helped due to the migration to Alma. In cases where individuals wanted to come back to the office, many work a half day on site and a half day off site, cataloging and processing items from home. Tom indicated that some employees are still working completely off site due to health concerns or previously arranged situations. These individuals working from home are receiving cataloguing materials that they can take home to work on. Since July 1, 2020, about 8,500 physical items have been catalogued or otherwise processed (This number surpasses all other Big10 numbers!). Tom indicated that there is a great deal of latitude given to subject specialists for fulfillment decisions.
  • Tom indicated that the Library took several other steps to help subject specialists through this. When Voyager was closed down, we rolled over some cash to this year that is being used to cover eBook orders placed between April and June in order to accommodate the shift to remote learning. The emphasized approach to support collecting operations across campus has remained strong, but some impact has been inevitable. The fulfillment team has been trying to keep everything moving forward smoothly, as best as possible.

Schedule Reminders:

Steve will share in November

Antonio in December

Bob in January

Meeting adjourned at 11:05am.