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last updated: 9/28/2009

April 19, 2007 Notes - Title VI Librarians

Africana Librarians Council, Title VI Librarians Meeting Summary

Thursday April 19th, 2007

University of Pennsylvania


Attendance (* = current and incoming Title VI librarians):

Javanica Curry (Aluka), Tom Nygren (Aluka), Loumona Petroff (Boston University*), Gretchen Walsh (Boston University*), David Westley (Boston University*), Judy Eckoff (Center for Research Libraries), Abdul Aden (Cheyney University), Yuusuf Caruso (Columbia University), Karen Jean Hunt (Duke University), Jill Coelho (Harvard University), Bassey Irele (Harvard University), Greg Finnegan (Harvard University (Tozzer Library)), Fehl Cannon (Library of Congress), Laverne Page (Library of Congress), Fenta Tiruneh (Library of Congress), Susan Gunn Pevar (Lincoln University), Joe Lauer (Michigan State University*), Peter Limb (Michigan State University*), David Easterbrook (Northwestern University (contributes to Title VI projects)), Tim Johnson (NYU), Miriam Conteh-Morgan (Ohio State University), Nancy Pressman Levy (Princeton University), Andrew de Heer (Schomburg Center, NYPL), Karen Fung (Stanford University), Margaret Hughes (Stanford University), Pamela Harris (Swarthmore College*), Aslaku Berhanu (Temple University), Ruby Bell-Gam (UCLA), Miki Goral (UCLA), Atoma Batoma (University of Illinois*), Edward Miner (University of Iowa), Ken Lohrentz (University of Kansas (retired)), Lauris Olson (University of Pennsylvania*).


1. Greetings and Introductions.

MFW is absent owing to illness. LO convened the meeting. GW volunteered to take notes.


2. Title VI NRC and FLAS Awardees for FY2006-2009 grant cycle.

NRC recipients will be: Boston University, Indiana University, Michigan State University, Ohio University, University of Florida, University of Illinois, University of Kansas, University of North Carolina, University of Pennsylvania-Bryn Mawr College-Haverford College-Swarthmore College, University of Wisconsin, Madison, and Yale University (11 NRCs).

FLAS recipients will be: Boston University, Columbia University, Indiana University, Michigan State University, Ohio University, University of California, Berkeley and Stanford University, University of Florida, University of Illinois, University of Kansas, University of Wisconsin, Madison, and Yale University (12 FLAS institutions: 93 academic-year fellowships and 61 summer fellowships).


3. Appointment of new Title VI coordinator (interim or permanent).

MFW will be on yearlong sabbatical starting 1 August 2007. LO volunteered to be Title VI coordinator.

MFW sent a list of responsibilities for Title VI coordinator:

a.       Chair the Title VI Librarians meeting at semiannual ALC meetings.

b.      Devise the agenda for the Title VI Librarians meeting.

c.       Coordinate the Common Language for cooperative projects to be inserted in all Title VI NRC grant proposals.

d.      Write an annual report for the Title VI Program directors and attend their meeting at the African Studies Association annual meeting.

e.       Maintain the Title VI Librarians website.

MFW had commented that the coordinator does not have to develop projects that these should come from within the group and from other librarians who come across such projects. PL remarked that the MSU center director wanted more coordination with the Title VI center directors. It was noted that scholars in the social sciences often are interested in contemporary resources and digital formats, and that they might have less patience with archives projects we have supported. LO asked if a coordinated report back to Title VI librarians at each grant year's end and grant cycle's end would be useful in preparing local NRC progress reports and final reports; several Title VI librarians remarked that they were not involved in year-end or grant-end report writing, while others said they were involved.

LO volunteered to succeed MFW as coordinator with no term limit was determined. We agreed that we needed to discuss our cooperative plans and initiatives with our center directors, and LO would prepare reports to aid these communication efforts.


4. Update on President W.V.S. Tubman Papers Project and New Proposal regarding President W.V.S. Tubman Photos Project / Verlon Stone, Indiana University.  (See Report)

VS was not present, owing to family matters. LO presented his report and proposal. Numerous questions led to the discussion being tabled, with LO charged to contact VS for clarification and representation at the CAMP Business Meeting. The following incorporates updated information from e-mail correspondence and CAMP business meeting, 21 April 2007:

VS's original document had conflated two separate funding proposals: to complete the Tubman Papers project (supplementing committed funds), and to supplement a pending grant application to preserve the Tubman Photos collection.


i. The Tubman Papers project (British Library EAP027).

VS seeks up to $26,000 covering a shortfall in committed funds. The project is eighteen months behind scheduled completion date of 31 October 2006, but is ready now to go to a microfilming service vendor. Preservation microfilming bids received from five vendors (Challenge Industries, Ithaca NY; Hudson Microimaging, Port Ewen, NY; PraXess Associates; Bronxville, NY; OCLC Preservation Services, Bethlehem, PA; Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC), Andover, MA; and Archival Microfilming Service, Hamden, CT declined to bid) were much more costly than expected, with bids ranging $34,000 to $53,000. VS proposed reducing costs by eliminating three service copies ($2,000 each) for Liberian institutions currently lacking microfilm storage and viewing capability (the four copies to be made would go to the Tubman family, British Library, CRL, Indiana University/Liberian Collections Project): if the lowest microfilming bid is accept and the British Library's Endangered Archives Programme accepts the elimination of service copies, then VS would need to cover only a $14,000 shortfall.

Discussion focused on the range of microfilming estimates, and LO said that the documented projected expense uses an average across all bids, specifically that accepting the highest bid would create a shortfall of $38,951, not $25,826 as documented. RBG remarked on the need for service copies in Liberia, but LO suggested that the $2,000 per copy cost could be covered as separate proposals; VS had written that a project proposal outside Title VI for the necessary equipment is under preparation.

Consensus was reached that the Tubman Papers Project needed additional support. However, a quorum was not at hand, and we agreed to vote during the following week on committing up to $26,000 and possibly up to $39,000 to cover the projected shortfall. 

ii. The Tubman Photos Project.

VS seeks up to $6,000 to ship a collection of approximately 4,500 Tubman-era photos from Monrovia ($2,000) to Bloomington and to conserve the photos ($4,000). The full collection consists of 6,500 photos, with 2,000 having been cleaned under EAP027. Title VI support would complement a pending British Library Endangered Archives Programme grant to organize and digitize the photos (EAP139, $101,652, 24 months beginning 7 January 2007).

Discussion focused on the pending status of the EAP139 grant proposal. LO remarked that Title VI support for Liberian projects was approaching the funding level of support for the Senegal National Archives projects, and that we might want to encourage projects from other regions.

Consensus was reached that the Tubman Photos Project needed support. However, a quorum was not at hand, and we agreed to vote during the following week on committing up to $6,000 contingent upon an EAP139 award.


VS's document also included a request for comments regarding the bidding preservation microfilm vendors: these were from a list developed with James Simon, CRL, and Jake Nadal, formerly Indiana University Preservation Lab, now New York Public Library. Consensus was reached that we would present the vendor list to informed colleagues at our home institutions.


4a. Proposal for Digitization Training Pilot for West African Cooperation / Yuusuf Caruso, Columbia University.

This proposal was mentioned briefly at the Title VI meeting and presented at the CAMP meeting.

JC seeks $10,000 to bring M. Mame Ngor Faye, head of the Microfilming Laboratory and Audio-Visual Services, Senegal National Archives, on a 3- to 4-week training visit at CAMP member institutions, to cover best practices in digitization.

Discussion during the CAMP meeting focused on specific projects that would grow out of this pilot, which include digital archival guides from participating national archives in Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Senegal, and The Gambia and selected document digitization projects. PL relayed the concerns of the MSU center director regarding cooperative funds being spent on travel expenses; GW and LO pointed out that travel has been funded in the past and that the pilot would involve several libraries.

Consensus was reached that the Digitization Training Pilot needed additional support. However, a quorum was not at hand, and we agreed to vote during the following week on committing $10,000.


5. CAMP Dues and Title VI Cooperative Library Project funding.

JL had suggested in e-mail that Title VI contributions for cooperative library projects should be folded into the CAMP revenue stream. In discussion, it was agreed that this might have practical benefits but that it did not permit the flexibility offered by the Common Language for Cooperative Library Projects.

Discussion expanded beyond Title VI funding into more general discussion about CAMP dues and CRL membership. Participants noted that several major African Studies collections were at non-CRL institutions (e.g., Boston University, Stanford, and Syracuse) and that CAMP dues for non-CRL members remained relevant, that CRL members pay membership fees in a variety of ways - from library administration absorbing one large charge to allocating the charge among subject funds based upon best-guess usage burden - while CAMP dues generally are charged to an African Studies subject fund, and that no African Studies representation appeared on the most recent CRL Purchase Proposal list.


6. New Projects

MFW had submitted a written suggestion that the Title VI librarians look for shared strengths in developing new projects. She identified Ghana's national archives as a likely collaborator, noting that most of our centers have active programs in Ghana. RBG commented that CAMP is also looking at Ghana National Archives projects.

LO remarked that outreach appears to be a major element of Title VI grants and suggested that Title VI cooperative funds could be used to support faculty participation in developing instructional modules using CAMP materials and other resources for undergraduate instruction. GW added that African language instruction would also benefit from this sort of effort.

PL noted the availability of Foreign Service Institute language materials for Igbo in digital format as relevant to Title VI NRC interest in language instruction.

LO asked participants to continue this discussion by e-mail. LO also pointed out that title6-af e-mail discussions were archived on Stanford's mailman service.


The Title VI session adjourned and reconvened as the ALC Brainstorming session.


8. Brief Presentations by Local Librarians

Several local libraries with strengths in African studies had been invited to attend. While it was intended that library representatives would present during the Title VI session, an opportunity was provided during the ALC Brainstorming session. Their remarks are summarized here.


a. Cheyney University of Pennsylvania, Leslie Pinkney Hill Library. Abdul Aden, public services librarian.

            The Dorsey Collection contains scrapbooks on African topics in addition to manuscript correspondence and photos, compiled c.1900. Cheyney has recently participated in a study abroad program in Ghana, and in exchanges with Benin and Conakry.


b. Lincoln University, Langston Hughes Memorial Library. Susan Gunn Pevar, special collections librarian.

Lincoln has an extensive book collection on Africa, built during the 19th century and historical runs of periodicals on Africa and the African diaspora. The Lincoln University Archives includes manuscript collections relating to the Pennsylvania Colonization Society (currently under consideration for Pennsylvania State Library preservation funding) and other Africa-related items. Discussion focused on the hidden treasures of Africans-in America collections.


c. Temple University, Charles L. Blockson Collection. Aslaku Berhanu, curator.

The Blockson Collection, with more than 500,000 items, focuses on U.S. Black history but holds materials in all formats on areas of the world with sizeable Black populations. In additions to books, Africa-related materials include clippings files, speeches by political leaders, and political party pamphlets and other ephemera.


d. Swarthmore College Library. Pam Harris, outreach and instruction librarian.

Swarthmore is a member of the Pennsylvania Title VI Consortium. The library has been collaborating with ICAMD, International Center for African Music and Dance, University of Ghana, beginning in 1999. Three years ago, they received 20 videos for transfer to DVD and cataloging, they expect to receive additional videos. Cataloging has been slow: the videos are ethnographic performances and the cataloger must be knowledgeable about Ghanaian dance and performance. Discussion focused on the usefulness of local cataloging expertise, with EM and RBG noting that University of Ghana has a good library school.

last updated: 9/28/2009