40 · Survey Results: Survey Questions and Responses
Currently working on a reorganizational proposal to consolidate the three departments that work with global resources
into one.
In 1995, there were three distinct units: Slavic Studies, Department for Spain, Portugal, and Latin America (SPLAT),
and the East Asian library. An African studies librarian worked within the reference and documents unit. In that year,
one person was appointed as head of all three units. This was a rotating position on a three-year cycle. Before the
three-year cycle was over, that person had been appointed permanently. A few years later, the African studies librarian
also began to report to the head of the area studies units while still remaining part of the Reference and Documents
unit. Within this structure, each of the three area studies departments functioned separately with its own processing
unit which included Acquisitions—processing of approval plans, gifts, exchanges, ordering, serials check in, and
cataloging. East Asian was responsible for its own binding. In 2000, SPLAT ceased to be responsible for serials check in
and cataloging. In 2005, there was a major reorganization. The three major area studies departments, plus the African
bibliographer, were moved together into one large office unit. The African bibliographer ceased duties in Reference and
Documents. The library also adopted a subject council structure and one of the councils was dedicated to area studies
and cultures. Area studies continued to function as a unit, but we also had our own subject council. A few years ago
when the Libraries abandoned the council structure, the area studies unit was renamed the International Area Studies
unit. The departments continue to function somewhat semi-autonomously. The Head of the International Area Studies
became a more formalized administrative position. Prior to 2005, the area studies units functioned as primarily technical
services departments, although we were the first librarians to engage in large-scale instruction and outreach. Slowly
over the past five years, technical service duties have migrated and become centralized. This has been a slow but
relentless process over the last five years. Although the East Asian Library (Japanese, Korean, Chinese) is discouraged
from cataloging, the department catalogs DVDs, rush books, reference books, some gifts, serials, and maps. The rest
is outsourced to OCLC. Anything that cannot be outsourced is routed to the East Asian Library to catalog. They also
fix incorrect cataloging records. Chinese materials are ordered by the Acquisitions Department. Anything in Korean
or Japanese is ordered by the East Asian library staff. The Department for Spain, Portugal, and Latin America (SPLAT)
received and processed approval plan shipments and invoices, and was responsible for ordering. These duties migrated
to the Acquisitions Department in 2010. SPLAT continues to oversee a large gift and exchange program. The Slavic
Studies department has its own acquisitions staff member who is also a member of the International Area Studies Unit.
She is responsible for all the ordering, serials checking, processing gifts, opening shipments, processing invoices. She
also is the selector for Polish studies materials. The Slavic studies department also has its own integrated cataloger.
He is the sole cataloger of Slavic materials and Middle Eastern materials. All technical services are handled within the
Slavic studies department. A Middle Eastern fund was established in 2009. The African studies librarian is responsible
for selection with help from the Slavic cataloger. All librarians in the International Area Studies unit are responsible for
selecting materials, including the Slavic cataloger. All librarians are extremely active in public service, instruction, and
outreach. Area studies librarians have been the models for instruction and outreach at this library ever since the late
‘90s. We teach more than any other librarian at KU except those assigned to the Instructions Unit. We do not work
at the reference desk, but we have our own International Area Studies service desk staffed by our student assistants.
We engage in large numbers of consultations with students. Reference statistics continue to increase. The impetus for
our 2005 reorganization was simply space. We had large processing offices that the Dean wanted for student space.
We had to undertake processing and other technical services in the Acquisitions Offices. The divided staff and divided
offices made for a difficult situation. We had previously seen our tech services, selecting, instruction, and reference
duties as symbiotic. Working in all of these areas at the same time made sense. Problems with acquisitions were
not bundled and could be addressed immediately. Communication was optimal. The structure was optimal. It was a
model of effectiveness and efficiency. The faculty complained about the divided locations and scattered staff. The new
offices were constructed in partial acknowledgement of their concerns. We enjoy being together in one unit, as it has
given area studies more visibility and more influence and authority. We are now on the same level of the hierarchy as
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