Archive for the ‘Conferences’ Category

LES get together at ACRL 2015

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015

acrl 2015 logo

Join your LES colleagues for socializing at ACRL!

Friday, March 27, 6-8pm
Café Montage
301 SE Morrison Street (Google Map)

Recommended by PDX locals! They do not take reservations, but the flip side of that is that we do not need to worry about how many people show up, or when — so stop by when you can. Seating is communal, so people can mix and mingle. It has great reviews on Yelp, prices are extremely reasonable, there are many options for different dietary preferences, good beer, and apparently it’s huge, and should be pretty dead at 6pm on a Friday — more room for us! It’s a few stops on the light rail from the convention center, and then just two more stops to OMSI for the all-conference reception.

There is no need to RSVP if you are/not attending, or if you’re bringing friends.

Hope to see you there!

Special thanks to Laura Braunstein for organizing this social for us!

2015 ALA Midwinter Discussion Group Meetings

Thursday, January 8th, 2015

Below is information about ALA Midwinter Discussion Groups (virtual and in-person) to look forward to in January/February.  Mark your calendars!


ACRL LES Reference Discussion Group

This discussion group provides an information-sharing forum for librarians with interests in reference services and materials related to the study of literatures in English.

Date and Time: Monday, February 9, 2015, 2-3:00 pm EST

Location: Online

Contact: John Glover and Kristen Hogan


ACRL LES Collections Discussion Group

This discussion group serves as an open forum for presentation and discussion of any topic or issue which involves the management, preservation, or use of materials in English-language literatures.

Date and Time: Friday, February 6, 2015, 3-4:00 pm EST

Location: Online

Contacts: Judith Arnold and Hazel McClure

More information:


ACRL Digital Humanities Interest Group

Conversations between librarians involved with, or sharing interests in, the intersections, partnerships, and collaborations among libraries, librarians, and the digital humanities.

Date and Time: Sunday, February 1, 2015, 4:30 – 5:30 pm

Location: Sheraton Chicago, Chicago Ballroom 08

More information:


MLA International Bibliography in Academic Libraries Discussion Group

Date and Time: Saturday, January 31, 2015, 10:30  – 11:30 am

Location: Sheraton Chicago, Mayfair Room

Contact: David Oberhelman

More information:


To browse other discussion and interest group meetings scheduled for ALA Midwinter in Chicago, visit the conference schedule online and narrow by: “Type of Library” (Academic) and “Meeting Type” (Discussion/Interest group).  To browse other virtual and in-person discussion group and committee meetings, search in ALA Connect.  If you would like to share other Midwinter discussion group meetings of interest to LES members, post to the LES Facebook group or tweet to @LES_ACRL.

LES @ ALA Annual 2014

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

ALA Annual Conference

Join the Literatures in English Section (LES) of ACRL at ALA Annual in Las Vegas.  LES is composed of English, literature and humanities librarians.  Whether you are already a member, or just interested in learning more about LES, please join us!  You can easily add the LES-sponsored events to your calendar using the ALA conference scheduler.

Follow us on Twitter and/or Facebook for reminders, and to keep up with what we are doing at the conference.


Saturday, June 28

8:30 am -10:00 am
Executive Committee Meeting 1*
Las Vegas Convention Center, N216

10:30 am — 11:30 am
MLA International Bibliography in Academic Libraries Discussion Group**
Las Vegas Convention Center, N115

1:00 pm — 2:30 pm
“Embedded” Cultural Communities in Europe and the Americas: Challenges for Librarians
(Co-sponsored by LES, SEES, and WESS)
Las Vegas Convention Center, S232

4:30 pm — 5:30 pm
New Members Discussion Group
Las Vegas Convention Center, N201

6:00 pm
LES Social
The Peppermill – Fireside Lounge
2985 Las Vegas Blvd (Map)


Sunday, June 29

10:30 am — 11:30 am
Reference Discussion Group
Las Vegas Convention Center, N203

1:00 pm — 2:30 pm
General Membership Forum
Bally’s Las Vegas, Bronze 3

3:00 pm — 4:00 pm
Collections Discussion Group
Las Vegas Convention Center, N202

4:30 pm — 5:30 pm
Digital Humanities Interest Group**
Las Vegas Convention Center, N263


Monday, June 30

8:30 am — 10:00 am
All Committees Meetings
Las Vegas Convention Center, N219

10:30 am — 11:30 am
Executive Committee Meeting II*
Las Vegas Convention Center, N216


* Closed meeting

** Not an official LES meeting but of broad interest to LES membership

LES Social at Midwinter

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

ALA midwinter logo

Are you attending ALA Midwinter in Philadelphia?  If so, please join your fellow LES members on Saturday, January 25 from 6-8 PM at Maggiano’s in Center City. LES will provide appetizers. Drinks and additional food can be purchased.

Date: January 25
Time:  6PM – 8PM
Location: Maggiano’s Little Italy
1201 Filbert Street, Philadelphia, PA

This is also a great opportunity for those interested in the LES section to meet some of our members.  Library students, recent graduates, and literature and humanities librarians are welcome to attend!

LES is also hosting virtual discussion group meetings for Midwinter that are open to all.  You can learn more about these meetings, and other relevant meetings that will be held at Midwinter at

2014 Midwinter Discussion Group Meetings

Monday, December 16th, 2013

Below is information about ALA Midwinter Discussion Groups (virtual and in-person) to look forward to in January.  Mark your calendars!


ACRL LES Reference Discussion Group

This discussion group provides an information-sharing forum for librarians with interests in reference services and materials related to the study of literatures in English.

Date and Time: Tuesday, January 28, 1 – 2 pm CST

Location: Online

Contact: John Glover and Kristen Hogan

More information:


ACRL LES Collections Discussion Group

This discussion group serves as an open forum for presentation and discussion of any topic or issue which involves the management, preservation, or use of materials in English-language literatures.

Date and Time: Friday, January 31, 2 – 3 pm CST

Location: Online

Contacts: Judith Arnold and Hazel McClure


ACRL Digital Humanities Discussion Group

This discussion group focuses on the digital humanities in academic libraries. Topics include outreach, tools, projects, user support, librarian training, and much more.

Date and Time: Sunday, January 26, 4:30 – 5:30 pm

Location: Pennsylvania Convention Center – 204 A

More information:


MLA International Bibliography in Academic Libraries Discussion Group

Date and Time: Saturday, January 25, 10:30  – 11:30 am

Location: Pennsylvania Convention Center -115 B

Contact: David Oberhelman

More information:


To browse other discussion and interest group meetings scheduled for ALA Midwinter in Philadelphia, visit the conference schedule online and narrow by: “Type of Library” (Academic) and “Meeting Type” (Discussion/Interest group).  To browse other virtual discussion group meetings, search in ALA Connect.  If you would like to share other Midwinter discussion group meetings of interest to LES members, post to the LES Facebook group.


Other LES midwinter meetings that you are free to join:

ACRL LES Virtual Participation Committee

This committee explores ways in which LES members can participate in Section meetings remotely and to advise LES committees and discussion groups with plans for virtual meetings and other emerging opportunities for distance participation.

Date and Time: Tuesday, January 7 from 1 – 3 pm CST

Location: Online

Contact: Amanda Rust


LES Authors Panel

Friday, September 20th, 2013

Guest post by Nancy M. Foasberg. Nancy is a humanities librarian at CUNY’s Queens College, and most recently published, “Student Reading Practices in Print and Electronic Media,” in the September 2014 issue of College & Research Libraries.  

The LES Authors Panel took place during the General Membership Forum at ALA Annual 2013 and featured four LES members with a history of successful publication in the field of literature librarianship.

The panelists were:

  • Faye Christenberry, University of Washington
  • Liorah Golomb, University of Oklahoma
  • Harriet Green, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Melissa Van Vuuren, Georgetown University

Jen Stevens of George Mason University moderated.


Getting Started with Publishing

At the beginning of the panel, the panelists discussed how they had gotten into publishing.  The need to earn tenure played a role for all the panelists.  Collaboration, connections and timing helped to provide writing opportunities.  Melissa had collaborated with a colleague, Angela Courtney, on an article for The Dictionary of Literary Biography; Angela later encouraged her to contribute to a book series. Faye is a member of the Association of Australian Literary Studies and was able to take over the bibliography for their journal, Antipodes, when the prior author could no longer continue.  Liorah saw a play in London that resonated strongly with her and wrote an article about it. Since the play had not yet opened in the United States, her article was the first and had good exposure and recognition.


Choosing Subject Matter

The panelists had very different methods of choosing their subject matter.  Harriet talked about how research interests should fit into the current conversations within a field, choosing subjects that will generate interest while still avoiding those that have been overexposed. Harriet’s tenure process requires her to have a research agenda to which all her publications must relate.  She chose digital humanities as her “umbrella idea” and researched the current issues that were of interest to the field at the time, ultimately choosing to focus on user experience within digital humanities and how digital humanities tools can be improved.  This research is closely related to her day to day work. Liorah, in contrast, writes about whatever is most interesting to her at the moment. She has written about Will Self, women graphic novelists, and postcolonial literatures, among other things. Liorah cites calls for papers and inspiration from colleagues as useful sources for ideas.  However, caution is necessary when accepting calls for papers.  Her book chapter on women graphic novelists was published by MacFarland, which edited it poorly and included chapters of uneven quality.  The book Literary Research and Postcolonial Literatures in English, a collaboration among Liorah, Faye, Angela and Melissa, began as a conversation over beer.  The other four authors had already written volumes in the series, so they suggested dividing up the postcolonial volume. They agreed that it had been challenging to write but very worthwhile.


Melissa and Faye focused on the audience for their work. It is important to Melissa that her work and scholarly interests are closely related, so she wants her writing to get out to the user groups that she serves.  Her first book, Literary Research and the Victorian and Edwardian Ages, 1830-1910: Strategies and Sources, was a way to bridge across all her education in a venue not limited to the librarian community.  Another article came from a workshop with faculty in which they designed assignments to help undergraduates understand reference works.  Articles on collaborative efforts such as this can help faculty understand what goes on in the library.  Faye, too, has worked on projects that have appeal outside of librarianship. She was delighted to find that her book had been on a preliminary exam list for a school in England. Because her area of interest is Australian literature, it can often be difficult to access these materials she covers in the US.  She is interested in using her skills to bridge the gap between people doing research in that area.


All four panelists agreed that they were happy that they felt passionate about the ideas they pursued.  Melissa pointed out that she always tells students to switch their topics if they are working on something that they hate, because this doesn’t do anyone any favors. Why spend time and effort on something you don’t care about?


Logistics of Collaboration

Jen asked about the logistics of collaboration, especially over long distances.  One way to do this is to divide the work into sections.  Harriet and Angela are taking this approach in an article they are writing together, with Harriet merging it into a coherent whole.  When Melissa and Angela wrote the DLB article, Melissa did the biography and Angela wrote the summaries.  The postcolonial book was divided chapter by chapter, an approach facilitated by the consistent structure of books in this series. Each of the chapters in the book stands alone, so having different voices for different chapters was not a problem.  It was still important, though, to look through all the chapters and make sure that they were appropriately cross-referenced and spoke to each other. This is one potential problem with co-authorship.  The other approach to co-authoring is to write together. Liorah described collaborating with Aline Soules on an article which compared the MLAIB across platforms.  Because they were geographically distant, they did most of the research separately, but they wrote the article together in two weeks during which Liorah visited Aline in California.  This article needs to be updated, due to database interfaces and the rise of discovery services, so they will likely write two more articles on the subject together.



Time for writing is a crucial consideration. Harriet has one research day a week, which she is allowed to take off campus.  For those who can’t negotiate this time, she recommends carving out time in the morning and evenings.  Her institution sponsors productivity seminars and invited faculty development expert Kerry Ann Rockquemore to speak to them about techniques for carving out time to write.  Liorah did not have the same release time, but writing was a priority for pre-tenure faculty, who weren’t required to do a lot of service at her institution.  Writing is less urgent now that she has tenure, but she still gives herself deadlines.   Melissa took research leave to work on Literary Research and the Victorian and Edwardian Ages, 1830-1920, and also negotiated for some Fridays off campus. This worked well because it provided a big chunk of time for writing.  Now that she is not on the tenure track, she can still do research and even request some time, but there is less time available and less support generally.  Faye also prefers big chunks of time in which to write. At her institution, librarians are not faculty but can apply for research leave of up to a year, although they only get three months of pay for this.  She used her weekends to work on the book, because she couldn’t get the big chunks of time she needed during the day.  Harriet’s tip from Kerry Ann Rockquemore is to plan well and make the writing as important as everything else you have to do.  If you want writing to be part of your career, you have to give yourself accountability to make sure you spend time on it.


Suggestions for New Librarians 

Finally, Jen asked for suggestions for librarians who want to publish. Harriet suggested co-authoring, finding a topic in which you are really interested, and starting small.  Book reviews, BiblioNotes, and guest columns are good places to start.  Liorah has written critical reviews for RUSA and little book reviews like the ones in Library Journal Express.  At her institution, this is considered service rather than publishing, but it is disciplined writing, so it makes good practice.  She recommended caution when choosing partners for collaboration, describing one project which did not happen because her potential writing partner is having difficulty writing and publishing. Melissa recommends joining a writing group or research circle, in order to bounce ideas off of colleagues and talk about the difficult parts of writing.  This can be helpful when trying to get past a roadblock, and hearing other people’s questions can also help shape things. Don’t be afraid to let people read your writing. Harriet has participated in the Library Research Round Table, which pairs authors with each other.  Writing groups including faculty from other fields are also useful, because they provide a different perspective.  Faye mentioned the new ACRL handbook on academic writing for librarians, which looks like a useful volume and includes chapters on many of these topics.


Liorah mentioned one more unexpected thing about research. When she surveyed the listserv about poetry collections, she had to undergo an IRB process. Harriet said that at her institution, there is a shorter exemption form and she can use that one because the IRB knows that librarians are just asking questions.


During the audience questions, the panelists were asked about their advice for librarians who are not in tenure track positions, especially if people at their institution discourage them from writing.  Melissa recommends framing writing as service because it benefits the profession.  Faye feels that writing helps her to better understand what her faculty go through when they write books.  Harriet recommends collaborating with a faculty member, which makes writing part of the job.  Melissa also suggested writing outside of work hours and mentioned that even with the support that she had, she ended up doing a lot of the work outside of business hours. Most of the articles in the literature are written by librarians on the tenure track, which narrows down who we get to hear from in the profession.


There was also a question about editorial feedback.  Liorah talked about the lack of editorial feedback when she worked on the MacFarland book.  This creates problems because revision suggestions are what show that a publication is peer reviewed.  Melissa finds that editorial feedback can vary wildly. With journals, it depends on what the editor tells the reviewers.  As a guest reviewer, she wrote a lot of feedback, because she finds it very helpful. Too often, commentary focuses on things that would get worked out in copyediting, but it’s really more useful to know about the problems with the argument.

I for one found the discussion very helpful.  Thanks to the panelists for participating!

LES and Related Meeting Schedule for Annual 2012 (Anaheim)

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

Are you planning to come to Anaheim for ALA this June? Whether you are a member of LES or simply interested in what we’re doing, you are invited to come to LES meetings, discussion groups, and conference program. Below is a schedule along with a brief explanation of each event’s purpose. We hope to see you in June!

Friday, June 22

9:00 a.m.– – Anaheim Convention Center-208B

Pre-Conference Workshop: Digital Humanities in Theory and Practice: Tools and Methods for Librarians

This requires separate registration and fees. It’s selling out very quickly!

Learn how humanities librarians can participate in, create, and lead digital humanities initiatives. In addition to introducing theories and practices that characterize the digital humanities, explore several examples of how librarians currently lead library digitization initiatives, collaborate on faculty projects, and participate in national grant-funded efforts. Investigate project management complexities, digital humanities’ impact on research collections, humanities librarians’ work with faculty to manage their digital humanities research, and digital humanities’ role in scholarly communications.

Saturday, June 23

8:00-10:00 a.m. – Disneyland Hotel-North Exhibit Hall Room IJ

Executive Meeting I

Meeting of the officers and committee chairs of the Literatures in English Section of ACRL. Open, but it’s a business meeting and probably not of interest to the general public.

10:30-12:00 p.m. – Disneyland Hotel-North Exhibit Hall Room DE

MLA IB in Academic Libraries Discussion Group

Not an LES meeting, but of interest to many members. Get updates on the state of the MLA International Bibliography from vendors and MLA representatives.

1:30-3:30 p.m. – Hilton Anaheim-Palos Verdes Room

Fair Use, Intellectual Property, and New Media

As libraries continue to acquire digital content (books, films, websites, and other media), they face an increasing demand both to adhere to relevant intellectual property laws, and to open up materials for teaching and research purposes. This session will feature a panel of professors, lawyers, and librarians to discuss how librarians can assert fair use rights and understand the complex range of issues concerning intellectual property rights over new media materials.

4:00-5:30 p.m. – Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel-Pacific Ballroom B

New Members Discussion Group & General Membership Forum

Discussions pertaining to the role of the literature librarian, and an opportunity to connect new literature librarians with each other and seniors in the field.

5:30-7:00 p.m.– (Location TBA. Watch LES-L for more details.)

LES Social Hour

Sunday, June 24

10:30-12:00 p.m. – Disneyland Hotel-Disneyland Grand Ballroom North

Collections and Reference Discussion Groups Combined Meeting

LES Collections Discussion Group and Reference Discussion Group meet to discuss current topics of interest to practicing literature librarians.

4:00-5:30 pm – Disneyland Hotel- North Exhibit Hall Room BC

Digital Humanities Discussion Group

A new ACRL discussion group that may interest LES members.

Monday, June 25

8:00-10:00 a.m. – Disneyland Hotel-Castle A&B

All Committees Meeting

Simultaneous meetings of LES committees: Virtual Participation, Strategic Planning, Conference Planning, Membership, and Publications. These are business meetings,but might be of interest to those thinking of joining a committee.

10:30-12:00 p.m. – Disneyland Hotel-Monorail B&C

Executive Meeting II

See description of Executive Meeting I.


Digital Questions, pt. 1

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

About Aaron McCollough

English Literature Librarian, University of Michigan

Although I’m a little hesitant to post my first blog entry while a significant portion of the LES group is immersed in the ALA Midwinter Convention, I’m sure many others like me will be staying put this week and looking on virtually.


It is significant for us all, certainly, that the MLA convention is also taking place just up the road in Los Angeles, and today’s panel session there (3:30-4:45) sponsored by the new Libraries and Research in Languages and Literatures discussion group gives me an excuse to broach a subject many of us are thinking about. The panel is called “Literary Research in/and Digital Humanities” and features six presentations on the potential and problems of collaboration in digital environments between Literature Librarians and Literary Scholars. A nice group of presentation abstracts is available in a LibGuide set up by panel organizer Jim Kelly at:


I wish I could make it to this panel, as I find myself thinking about digital scholarship more every day. In lieu of that though, I’d love to get comments from those who are able to attend. I’m sure other readers would be interested, as well. I’d also like to hear non-presenters (those who were or weren’t able to make it to the MLA panel) about how this panel corresponds to ongoing or anticipated activities at their home institutions.


My questions are several. But most basically I’d like to hear what kinds of digital Library/English department collaborations are happening around the country right now. The panelists at the MLA event give us a glimpse at some, and I’m aware of many others via my work with the EEBO-Text Creation Partnership. Still, it seems to me that a more categorical list of what is happening would be helpful to all English Literature Librarians as they work to develop their sense of the digital services the discipline is starting to demand.


There have been plenty of efforts to pin down a sense of what the elusive “Digital Humanities” are (or can be). As a useful first step, there seem to be many discussions floating around about what Humanists (and by inference Literary specialists) do with the objects of their study. Digital Humanists presumably do those same things but with the help of digital prosthetics. Two brief and rather elegant accounts of what Humanist do may be found, in fact, in a piece by Mary Claire Vandenburg in the most recent issue of our own BiblioNotes.


Mary cites John Unsworth’s short-list of common humanities activities: “discovering, annotating, comparing, referring, sampling, illustrating and representing” (7). She then goes on to suggest that the Humanities is really “a set of skills or ‘ways of doing’ which allows us to make sense of our world” (8). Here again, one infers that the digital addition to this set of practices would be in keeping with our increasing immersion in a world that is digitally mediated — or, that the Digital Humanities is a set of ‘ways of digital doing’ that allows us to make sense of our digital world).


Given all this, I’m very curious to hear more about what these digital “ways of doing” look like or entail in specific cases and how they make use of the skills/resources we have to offer as Literature Librarians.


My sense is that, currently, most digital literary scholarship fits roughly under the rubric of curatorial and/or editorial work. Do others share this sense? I notice, for example, that Unsworth’s list does not include words like “analyze,” “interpret,” or “explain.” Perhaps he covers this territory with his “illustrating or representing,” however.


Of the abstracts for the MLA panel, Manuel M. Martin-Rodriquez’s project strikes me as the most explicitly inquiry-driven use of digital tools insofar as it seeks to capture and manipulate literary information in a way that would be hard to accomplish without computers. It seems to have what we might call a literary research question built into it from the outset and to be using digital methods to “discover” (to use another of Unsworth’s terms) an answer or answers to the question. I don’t mean to say this is a more proper way of proceeding than the curatorial/editorial approaches. Each has its benefits and limitations. I would imagine Martin-Rodriguez’s work would be a less flexible tool for other, future scholars precisely because it is asking a question from inception. Projects like Heather Bowlby’s and Marija Dalbello’s might well have broader applicability because they have fewer built-in assumptions about the kinds of inquiry pertinent to their study.


What do you think? Did elements come to light in the panel that I could never anticipate from reading only the abstracts? And, what’s going in your departments? Are the digital scholars you work with more interested in inquiry or edition-making? If this is a false binary, then how do you see things shaping themselves? What are the objects of digital literary study and what digital tools are required to make sense of them?

New Members Discussion Group at Midwinter

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

About Timothy Hackman

Librarian for English & Linguistics, University of Maryland Libraries. Member of LES since 2006.

Visions of the Future of English Librarianship: A Discussion with New Members

LES New Members Discussion Group
Saturday, January 8
4-5:30 p.m.
San Diego Convention Center, Room 23A

You don’t have to read tea leaves to forecast the future of English librarianship: Current trends suggest that the profession will see great changes in the next decade. Consider, for instance, the rise of interdisciplinary studies, the application of social science methodology to the study of literature, and the increasingly vocational mission of universities that has resulted in challenges to the existence of humanities departments. What will the future of humanities look like in the university and what should English librarians do to prepare? Share your predictions and plans with the New Members Discussion Group

ALA Midwinter 2011 Meeting Schedule

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

About Timothy Hackman

Librarian for English & Linguistics, University of Maryland Libraries. Member of LES since 2006.

Saturday, January 8

  • Executive Committee Meeting I (ACRL/LES) — 8:00-10:00am SDCC Room 23B
  • General Membership Forum (ACRL/LES) — 1:30-3:30pm  SDCC Room 24A
  • New Members Discussion Group (ACRL/LES) — 4:00-5:30pm  SDCC Room 23A

Sunday, January 9

  • Collections Discussion Group (ACRL/LES) — 8:00-10:00am HIL Indigo E
  • Reference Discussion Group (ACRL/LES) — 10:30am-12:00pm HIL Indigo E
  • MLA International Bibliography Discussion Group (ACRL) — 4:00-5:30pm  HIL Indigo C

Monday, January 10

  • All Committees Meeting (ACRL/LES) — 8:00-10:00am HIL Indigo 202B
  • Executive Committee Meeting II (ACRL/LES) — 10:30am-12:00pm HIL Aqua 300

HIL = Hilton San Diego Bayfront (One Park Blvd.)
SDCC = San Diego Convention Center

Hotel map can be found here.