Featured Staff Member: Julianne Haahr
What do you do at the library?
I am the Librarian for Western European History and Social Sciences. That is my title, but some may refer to me as a bibliographer, subject specialist, area studies librarian, or a selector, all terms representing a similar function. I do collection development and management, and liaison services in the subject areas of Western European history and social sciences. I also connect and communicate with people, groups, and organizations related to this area on campus. I work with faculty and get to know their research needs and also with graduate students and other students too. I do library instruction for courses. I also network with colleagues across the country mostly through the Western European Studies Section of the American Library Association and also through organizations such as the Center for Research Libraries to keep up with developments and share what our respective institutions are doing in this area.
What is your specialty?
My specialty is Western European History and Social Science, and under that broader category, my own specialty is in Scandinavian Studies. I have my Master’s in Scandinavian Studies from the UW-Madison, which I got prior to my library degree. Danish is my language, but I also spend a good deal of time in Swedish and Norwegian with the materials that pertain to that area. That is my specialty, but I work with people in all areas of Western European Studies such as British history, modern French history and social sciences, the European Union, and German history. My Bachelor’s degree is in German, so I am almost equally accomplished in German and Danish. I have studied some French and Latin while in college.
What brought you to your job at Memorial Library?
I first got to know Memorial Library when I was working on my Master’s in the Scandinavian Studies Department. The library is one of a few in the country that has a sizable Scandinavian collection, and that’s what drew me and impressed me. I finished my Master’s and then thought back on some words from one of my professors in the Scandinavian Studies Department. He taught a class on Scandinavian bibliography, which was required of graduate students. He promoted librarianship as a career option for those of us in Scandinavian Studies. Now, I see that class as being very valuable to me. Later, while in library school, I experienced the library as a library student and intern, which gave me another perspective. I did a practicum in Reference at Memorial, and, after library school, I did a project internship in library instruction with College and Steenbock libraries. I always hoped that I could use my library training in combination with my language and area studies training, and here I am.
What library resource or service would you like to recommend?
I would like to highlight my colleagues—the bibliographers, subject specialists, and the area studies librarians—who bring a very specialized set of skills and knowledge to the library, and are available for everyone. They are a valuable resource, and their knowledge in their subject areas determine how collections are developed, sculpted and evolve over time. They serve as the go–to person for anyone who has questions or does in–depth research in their areas.
An electronic resource I have found in my short time here to be a really valuable is the Early English Books Online (EEBO). It’s just a great and amazing resource for people doing studies in British history and accommodates a broad scope of research interests in an earlier time period, providing documents which had not been nearly so accessible prior to digitization. I have also become acquainted with the online British Parliamentary and State Papers which complement our extensive print collection of these papers.
Among some strengths and specialties in our collections is a significant one related to World War I, particularly German materials. Our collection in German materials in general is quite extensive given that historically Wisconsin has had an influential German immigrant background. The Scandinavian area, particularly Danish and Norwegian is strong too. But as a whole, the collection is recognized for its substantial coverage in Western European Studies representing other countries: Britain, France, Italy, and Ireland, for example. On the social sciences side, we have a notable collection of reactionary, underground, and various other types of publications that include journals, pamphlets, and newsletters pertaining to subjects such as the extreme right, Fascism, East Germany, LGBT issues and homelessness.
What is something about you that few people know?
I grew up on a small farm in Iowa. When I was young, we had a few chickens, and I used to gather eggs and sell them to neighbors and friends in town. In recent years, I’ve enjoyed watching World Cup soccer, surprisingly so, because I don’t usually think of myself as a sports spectator.