WWU Librarian Heads Major Project

Annette Melgosa named chair of international library guidebook committee

By: Becky St. Clair

Melgosa is chairing the committee that will create a guidebook to beginning and enhancing academic libraries around the world.

During the 2002 Association of Seventh-day Adventist Librarians (ASDAL) Annual Conference, a committee was created to produce a library handbook.  Annette Melgosa, Instruction/Access Services and Periodicals Librarian at Walla Walla University, was elected to chair the committee.

The idea for this project came to Melgosa when she was serving as a library accreditor for the Accrediting Association of Seventh-day Adventist Schools, Colleges, and Universities.  While on one of her visits, the associate director of the General Conference Education Department asked Melgosa if she would be willing to write a manual.  

“I felt a much better product could be produced if it were done with ASDAL,” explains Melgosa.  “So I presented the project to them, and the committee was created.”

After several years of working out details such as who would be responsible for budgets, publishing, content, design, editing, and other elements of the project, the committee is finally ready to write.

When ASDAL agreed to join in the project, they expressed an interest in having an international group of librarians working on the guidebook.  They felt that if the book was to be distributed worldwide, the committee should include those whose experience would give the group a more global perspective, therefore ensuring that the guidebook would address real needs.

The committee currently has eight members, and between them they are either from or have worked in Asia, South America, Europe, Australia, and the United States.  The committee operates in two languages: English and Spanish, and connects via email.  This doesn’t faze Melgosa, as she is bilingual, and can converse – and write – easily in either language.  

The purpose of this project is to produce a guidebook and corresponding website that will assist Seventh-day Adventist educators around the world who are preparing to start an academic library.

“In too many cases,” says Melgosa, “libraries are not well-developed and there are not librarians readily available.  The guidebook is meant to be practical, but will be based on research and best practice.”

As a result of a lack of librarians, schools are often at a loss to know how to start a library.  They have many questions, such as what expertise is needed in a librarian, what the space needs are, how many resources need to be committed to the project, and others.  This ASDAL and General Conference Education Department project will answer all of those questions.

 The guidebook will be a 128-page encyclopedia-style book with short articles grouped into topic chapters.  Though it will initially be published in English, the book is intended for worldwide distribution, and it will therefore be immediately available for translation.

Though they are not sure at this point when they will be finished with the guidebook, Melgosa is optimistic that the major work could be done within a year.  

“Libraries around the Adventist educational world are often nothing more than repositories of donated, outdated books,” Melgosa says with passion.  “There are so many in desperate need of qualified leadership and guidance.  Someone needs to help these schools and libraries see what can be accomplished with a large vision and good governance.”

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