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Visiting Librarians: Gunta Jeluskina

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FINAL REPORT OF YALE UNIVERSITY LIBRARY INTERNSHIP PROGRAM
FOR PARTICIPANT:

Gunta Jeluskina
March 1 - June 30, 1999

Thanks to the Open Society Institute in Budapest and Yale University Library, I had the opportunity from March 1st till June 30th, 1999 to work as an intern in one of America's greatest libraries - Yale University's Sterling Memorial Library. During my internship I acquired not only many practical skills, but obtained as well a broad outlook on the American library system and the many different functions of the separate Yale University Libraries, particularly the Special Area Teams and Collections at Sterling Memorial Library. From the very beginning of my internship, I was able to participate in various courses, training sessions, lectures, management meetings, seminars, etc. I would now like to point out the main fields of my interest and briefly describe these.

I. Library Automation
  1. Searching, Ordering, Receiving and Cataloging via Yale's library on-line system Orbis
  2. Training Session on Electronic Resources Terminology
  3. Technology Training Courses: Microsoft Word 7.0 - Intermediate; Windows NT - Intermediate; Excel 7.0 - Introduction, Intermediate; ACCESS - Introduction, Intermediate.
  4. Set of Workshops on Teaching Librarians
  5. Demonstration Session of Several Geographic Information Systems
  6. WebPack Task Force Group
  7. Obtaining Basic Skills in Usage of Electronic Data Bases at the Social Sciences Library
  8. Lectures on Open Source Systems for Libraries.

Getting acquainted with the possibilities and benefits of library automation was one of the major goals of my internship at Yale. As recounted above, I tried to cover all the possible work areas that are automated in my host library. The automation process is at its very beginning in our country. We are fortunate on the one hand, because we now have the possibility to study and evaluate the different ways of integrating personal computers based upon the previous experiences of various libraries all around the world. We can analyze the problems other countries have come across - why these problems have arisen, how one could avoid the mistakes made by them and how to achieve a balance between possibilities and needs. We can also analyze the tempo and direction of further developments. The library where I have been working for the past few years is fully automated, but this is not at all common in the rest of the country. We still are in the process of establishing a national network and of choosing the appropriate system for each library. Educating librarians as well as users to adapt new information technologies is one of the key problems in the Latvian library community. I hope after returning home that I will be able to share my acquired knowledge with colleagues in my native country and as a result direct my new skills towards the forthcoming "electronic revolution" of the Latvian library system.

II. Acquisition
  1. Main European Vendors and Publishers
  2. Development of the Baltics Collection both at Yale and Harvard University Libraries
  3. Exchange partnerships
  4. Benefits and liabilities of the various approaches to purchasing materials.

As our country regained independence only a short while ago, both our national library system and our partnerships with fellow librarians, publishers and vendors abroad are still at the beginning stages of development. At the time when I started to build up my library at Vidzeme University College, it was impossible anywhere in my country to get the necessary information about how to deal with obtaining the wide range of books and other library materials available world-wide. I was able to partly remedy this problem by relying on the combined experiences and expertise of the USA Information Center, the Nordic Information Office and other progressive academic libraries, but their knowledge in this field is attuned to their specific needs, which didn’t cover my library’s more general objectives. The Yale internship has given me the possibility to discuss all these details with highly qualified experts. I obtained valuable insights into acquisition on-line processes and the main guidelines of developments in this area. I learned about the differences between firm orders, approval plans, blanket orders, exchanges etc. in the West and my part of the world. It made me think more precisely about our prospects in the very near future, when my library will be able to co-operate on an equivalent basis.

I considered it my duty to help develop links between the biggest libraries in the USA and Latvian and other Baltic publishers, and in addition I wanted to promote the acquisition of the most valuable materials from the Baltic countries. At the same time, I wanted to achieve this without a corresponding increase in duplicates, overpayments and other inconveniences in collection development.

III. Organizational Structure of Yale University Library
Covered Fields of interest in Sterling Memorial Library:
  1. Acquisition Department: Fiscal Support Team; Monograph Support Team; Order Support Team; Serials Support Team
  2. Bibliography Department
  3. Catalog Department
  4. Circulation
  5. Reference Department
  6. Systems Office
  7. African Collection
  8. Babylonian Collection
  9. Judaica Collection
  10. Latin American Collection
  11. Near Eastern Collection
  12. Manuscripts and Archives
  13. Slavic and East European Collection

It was of great importance to me to participate in the everyday life of the main departments in the library, to see how the collection development is run, how the professionals at the highest levels deal with their routines and solve problems, how much attention is paid to each reader and to serving users in general. The library has been developed primarily as the working and research collection of the faculty, students, and staff of the University, but all other patrons are welcome and are served on the same basis.

It was extremely useful to get acquainted with the procedures of running such a huge library as Sterling Memorial. Although my visits were very brief, I tried to get an idea about the main tasks, problems, responsibilities and obligations of each part of the library. These gave me an insight into not just one particular library’s actions, but also into the entire library system and the opportunity to compare it with systems I have seen in Western Europe and Scandinavia.

The tours to various collections were of invaluable importance to me, not only in relation to furthering my librarianship, but also in helping to broaden my knowledge about different epochs and areas of the world. I came to appreciate how ancient cultures made their marks and footprints for future generations, how knowledge was passed on through the ages - at the same time wondering at what a tiny part of all this we are and maybe how important might be the message left by us sometime in the future.

Tours to the following Departmental Libraries:

  1. Art and Architecture Library
  2. Beinecke Rare Books and Manuscripts Library
  3. Government Documents Library
  4. Kline Science Library
  5. Medical Library
  6. Seeley Mudd Library
  7. Social Sciences Library
  8. Law Library

During my tours to the smaller departmental libraries, I was able to pick up a few ideas about everyday library work. It was worthwhile to hear about how different libraries are dealing with similar problems - user education, information, recalling books, shelving, stacks security, acquiring new technologies, updating, etc. It was very useful to see how management procedures were implemented during the space of the few months I have been here at Yale. From a practical point of view this was the most remarkable experience for me.

IV. Other Libraries Visited
  1. The Library of Congress
  2. New York Public Library
  3. Harvard University Library
  4. Gateway Community College Library
  5. New Haven Public Library
  6. Fairfield Public Library

It was a wonderful experience for me to visit the world-famous Library of Congress. Equal access to knowledge for both governors and governed, rich and poor, represents an essential minimal form of empowerment in a pluralistic democracy and has found its best expression, I think, in America’s system of public libraries. The Library of Congress’ mission is to make its resources available and useful to both Congress and the American people and to sustain and preserve a universal collection of knowledge and creativity for future generations. All the services and activities of the Library support the core mission of maintaining and continuing to build on the world's greatest treasury of recorded human knowledge.

For the general public, the Congress has endorsed the creation of a National Digital Library Program through a private-public partnership that will create high-quality content in electronic form and thereby provide remote access to the most interesting and educationally valuable core of the Library's Americana collections. Schools, libraries, businesses, and homes will have access to important historical material in their own localities together with the same freedom that readers have always had within public reading rooms to use, interpret and rearrange the material for their own individual needs.

While visiting the greatest U.S. libraries, I was once again reassured about the common goals of every library. To accomplish its mission and support its priorities, each library must have an efficient and effective infrastructure with the following key components:

  1. The mobilization and motivation of human resources in all parts and at all levels of the Library. According to the Library of Congress, there are four important elements within this category:
    1. Recruiting, assessing, rewarding and holding accountable employees on the basis of objective evaluations of knowledge, skills and performance
    2. Training, developing and, where needed, retooling the work force to perform new functions in new ways
    3. Promoting fairness, equal opportunity, and respect for diversity at all levels and in all parts of the Library
    4. Fostering communication by using early and frequent consultation to promote innovation and increase participation in decisionmaking and in implementing change
  2. The provision and delivery of electronic services in order to serve the departments of the Library in the execution of its mission with speed, quality, and economy.
  3. The allocation and use of space and equipment in order:
    1. To preserve and make accessible archival collections
    2. To maximize the efficiency, productivity and well-being of the staff
  4. The operation of modern financial and information systems to facilitate decisionmaking and ensure accountability.
  5. The operation of effective security systems that ensure adequate access and at the same time provide maximum protection for the staff and patrons, facilities, data, and collections.
I was impressed by the grandeur of the architecture and amazed by the many treasures of art within the library buildings. It is a real glorification of knowledge and wonderful to look at.

I have learned as well a lot about various practical things, dealing with different library networks, the advantages and disadvantages of many forms of cooperation among libraries, from different points of view. I have seen several different ways of implementing collection development, reference, data base, Internet and other policies, and I believe I have ,as a result, obtained a broader outlook about the whole library system.

V. Activities Connected with Particular Interests
  1. English Language Course
  2. Professional Periodicals' Studies
  3. Attending Several Departmental Weekly, Monthly and Annual Meetings
  4. Participating in International Conferences: Soviet and Post-Soviet Ukraine: a century in perspective; Decline and Fall of the Soviet Union
  5. Tour to the International and Area Studies Center
  6. Attending the Annual Raister's Prize Awarding Party for Latvian Writers and Scholars in the USA
  7. Participating in the Latvian on-line Librarians' Seminar on Internet and Information Technologies
  8. Participating in SCOPA ( Standing Committee of Professional Awareness) activities.

I could not miss the opportunity to improve my English language skills by attending English classes offered at Yale. This helped me to better understand the professional literature, writings and other materials which I have had the possibility to study, to take an active part in discussions and problem solving.

I was particularly interested in the work of the Yale Center for International and Area Studies as an independent, university-wide center whose mission is to promote an understanding of the world and the United States' role in it. The center attracts faculty from a variety of University departments and professional schools who seek a collaborative and inter-disciplinary environment in which to teach and explore regional and international issues. It was extremely important to introduce Vidzeme University College and its endeavors in this grand enterprise to YCIAS leaders and in addition to determine possible future co-operation and common goals.

Being away from home, I nonetheless could not refrain from participating in various kinds of activities in Latvian librarians' life: I joined Latvian emigrants’ activities as well as on-line debates organized in Latvia, I dispatched some articles to be published in Latvian newspapers and at the same time stayed in touch with Vidzeme University College and its Library.

Looking from afar, I became more involved in brief discussions about new technologies being introduced into the daily routine of Latvian libraries. Unfortunately, the great majority of librarians in Latvia have not had the opportunity to see how the latest information technologies are developing in different parts of the world. We have grown up in an environment lacking objective and all-embracing information and we have been educated more by taking what is given, rather than by searching, investigating and drawing conclusions for ourselves. We now have to change our way of thinking and I believe that such internships as offered by Yale and the Soros Foundation will contribute greatly to this process of adjusting to a new world.

VI. Investment in the Development of the Latvian Library System, Vidzeme University College and the Vuc Library in Particular
  1. Familiarization with a variety of on-Line Cataloging Systems and Data Bases in order to share newly-obtained knowledge with colleagues in my home country
  2. Establishing a Partnership with Yale University Library
  3. Participating in establishing a connection with the Yale Project ’55
  4. Introducing Vidzeme University College to the American academic community

After four months of working and learning as well as establishing new partnerships, I am looking forward to returning to my native country and to sharing my new wealth of knowledge acquired here at Yale with my colleagues. Now I will be able to give more knowledgeable advice on forming a Latvian library network and choosing an appropriate information system for this purpose. I hope that the newly established cooperation between Yale University Library and Vidzeme University College Library will be long-term and beneficial not only for both sides, but for our two countries as well. I believe that the day will come when we Latvians will invite our American colleagues to look at our achievements and learn from our endeavors.

Below is the schedule of activities in which Ms. Jeluskina participated while at Yale:
2 - 5 March - Getting acquainted with the Sterling Memorial Library, particularly Slavic Reading Room; Getting ready all the formalities regarding my stay at the Yale (Security number, Yale ID, Health insurance etc.)
8 March - Starting to learn to use Orbis
9 March - Learning to use Orbis and enter the main data; Training session on electronic resources terminology 10 - 11 March - Learning to use Orbis and enter the main data; Tour of the Holocaust Archives
12 March - Starting to learn how to receive books; Attending Periodicals reading room, reading current journals on library and information sciences.
15 March - Starting to learn how to receive books; Attending Periodicals reading room
16 March - Tour to the Manuscripts and Archives Reading Room; Starting to learn the acquisition process of new books
17 March - Starting to learn the acquisition process of new books; Attending the meeting of curators; Attending Periodicals reading room
18 March - Tour to the Government Documents and Information Center; Lecture on Open Source Sustems for Libraries; Attending Periodicals reading room
19 March - Visit to Latin-American Collection Attending Periodicals reading room
22 March - Receiving Russian books Attending Periodicals reading room; English language lesson
23 March - Searching for offered books in Orbis; Visit to Judaica Collection
24 March - Receiving Russian books Attending Periodicals reading room; English language lesson
25 March - Acquisition; Visit to Acquisition Department
26 March - Receiving books
29-30 March - Receiving books; Participiating in the monthly meeting of the Acquisition Department
31 March - 1 April - Class in the electronic classroom - Microsoft Word 7.0; Searching for offered books in Orbis
2 April - Receiving Russian books
5 April - Receiving Russian books; Class in the electronic classroom - Excel (Introduction)
6 April - Class in the electronic classroom - Excel (Intermediate); meeting with Associate University librarian Ann Okerson
7 April - Class in the electronic classroom - NT Windows 8 April - Receiving Latvian books; SCOPA (the Standing Committee on Professional Awareness) meeting
9 April - Receiving Latvian books
12 April - Searching for offered books in Orbis; Meeting with systems librarians Kalee Sprague and Audrey Novak
13 April - Class in the electronic classroom-CCL - Access (Introduction)
14 April - Class in the electronic classroom - Access (Intermediate)
15 April - Receiving Russian books; Workshop on Teaching Librarians
16 April - Receiving Russian books; Tour of the Babylonian Collection
19 April - Acquisition; Talk with curator Tatjana Lorkovic on the future co-operation and development of the Baltics Collection
20 April - Tour of the Art and Architecture Library ( Christine de Vallet)
21-22 April - Worked in Acquisitions Dept.
23 April - International conference - Soviet and Post-Soviet Ukraine: a century in perspective
26 April - Receiving Russian and Latvian books
27 April - Tour of the International and Area studies Center (Haynie Wheeler and Brian Carter)
28 April - Searching for offered books in Orbis; lecture and discussion on the Decline and Fall of the Soviet Union (V.P.Danilov, Professor of History, Russian Academy of Sciences)
29 April - Receiving Russian books; Workshop on Teaching Librarians
30 April -1 May - Sightseeing tours to New York City
2 May - Attending the annual Raister’s prize- awarding dinner for Latvian writers and scholars in the USA
3 May - The New York Public Library: short tour, especially of the Slavic and Baltic Division
4 May - Attending demonstration session of several Geographic information systems; Participating in the WebPack Task Force group
5 May - Writing an article for the Latvian newspapers “Laiks�(USA) and “Bibliotekuvestis�(Latvia)
6 May - Learning to order books through Orbis; Workshop on Teaching Librarians
7 May - Visiting the Microfilm collection, comparing old and new versions of WebPack on this data.
10 May - Starting the week in the Social Sciences Library: 1. Tour of the library 2. Getting acquainted with periodicals at SSL
11 May - Getting acquainted with electronic data bases at the SSL
12 May - Visiting the Medical Library: - Reference section, main problems and ways of solving; - tour of the Historical Library; - sharing common work expierences and problems at the Circulation Desk; - introduction to Technical Services; - meeting the Acting Director Ms. Kenny Marone
13 May - Data bases at the SSL; Workshop on Teaching Librarians; starting to participate in the Latvian librarian’s on-line seminar “Libraries and Internet�
14 May - Meeting with the Collection Development Team in SSL; Acquisition proceses at the SSL; Data bases at the SSL
17 May - Participating in the Latvian libraries on-line discussion; starting to write the report on my internship at the Yale University Library
18 May - Participating in the Latvian libraries on-line discussion; Workshop on Teaching Librarians
19 May - Trip to Boston, sightseeing tours
20 May - Visit to Harvard University Library
24 May - Attending Graduating ceremony at Yale
25 May - Writing a report about my internship at Yale
26 May - Visiting the Microfilm collection, comparing old and new versions of WebPack on this data.
27 May - Working on Vidzeme Univerity College Library’s budget; Starting to get acquainted with Yale’55 Project activities.
28 May - Searching for offered books in Orbis; writing a report for the WebPack meeting
1 Jun - Searching for offered books in Orbis; meeting Kalee Sprague and discussing different automation matters
2 Jun - Working on VUC library’s budget; attending WebPack meeting
3 Jun - Searching for offered books in Orbis; writing suggestions for Yale’55 Project
4 Jun - Attending the Yale’55 Project meeting; searching for offered books in Orbis
5 Jun - Attending Yale - Harvard annual rowing competition in Groton, Conn.
7 Jun - Meeting European history librarian Suzanne Roberts who talked about practical experierences of dealing with European vendors; searching for offered books in Orbis
8 Jun - Visiting Gateway Community College library
9 Jun - Searching for offered books in Orbis
10 Jun - Visiting the Yale Law school library; searching for offered books in Orbis
11 Jun - Searching for offered books in Orbis
13 - 15 Jun - Trip to Washington - visiting Library of Congress
16 Jun - Searching for offered books in Orbis; Participating in the WebPack Task Force group
17 Jun - Meeting with Carolyn Claflin - Director of Library Development; attending SCOPA Forum: 1998 Professional Development Grant Recipients Presentation
18 Jun - Searching for offered books in Orbis
21 Jun - Searching for offered books in Orbis
22 Jun - Visiting Fairfield Public Library
23 Jun - Working with Slavic Cataloging team
24 Jun - Completing a report about my internship at Yale
25 Jun - Working with Slavic Cataloging team; Searching for offered books in Orbis
28 Jun - Working with Yale University Press publications; Preparing for departure
29 Jun - Leaving Yale for weekend in New York City- where my flight departs for home