Report and Proposal of the
International and Area Studies Working Group

[Overall Recommendation] [Specific Recommendations] [The Working Group on International and Area Studies] [ADDENDUM: Electronic Text Reading Service]

The IAS Working Group, composed of faculty and graduate students who use the Rosberg Library, and members of the Library staff, was charged with developing options for meeting the service and collection needs of international and area studies scholarship on the Berkeley campus. The following report is the result of the working group's discussions and deliberations.


We recommend that the Library administration and the Dean of International and Area Studies work jointly to ensure the creation of an IAS Reading Room in the Main Library, to continue providing space and collections for IAS scholarship corresponding to those which have heretofore been available in the Rosberg Library. (The areas are Slavic and East Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa, as well as International Relations which, among them, encompass several hundred faculty members and approximately 700 graduate students.) The new site would provide a locus for student and faculty scholarship by offering a variety of frequently-consulted serial publications, journals, and newsletters in international and area studies.

The reading room should be designed with adjacency to the Government and Social Sciences Information Service (GSSIS) and the Humanities and Area Studies Service (HAS). There is a powerful intellectual rationale for such adjacency. Most of the best intellectual innovation comes from the juxtaposition of bodies of literature that had previously not been consciously related to each other. Similarly, most of the fruitful intellectual interaction comes from exchanges of ideas among scholars (graduate students and faculty alike) in different, but related, fields or subfields. Locating the IAS Reading room adjacent to GSSIS is imperative for the facilitation of these intellectual possibilities. Adjacency to the HAS Service is desirable but less of an imperative, as the latter has a constituency largely in the Humanities, whereas GSSIS and IAS Reading Room share a very large constituency concentrated principally in the social sciences.

There is also a practical rationale for adjacency: to diminish the need for a fully-staffed service point in the reading room proper, and to lessen the need for online catalogues and multiple electronic access stations. While we do not believe that extensive electronic installations will be necessary in the Reading Room due to this adjacency, we nonetheless urge that provision be made for at least two networked work stations, with catalog and database access, to meet users' frequent needs for quick lookups while doing research.

Our specific recommendations follow.

[Collections] [Reader Spaces] [Electronic Resources] [Photocopying] [Quality of the Environment] [Staffing] [Specific Site Recommendations] [Plan of Action] [Dedication]


Discrete, designated space for housing collections of frequently-used serial publications in Slavic, East European, African, Middle Eastern and Latin American studies, as well as International Relations, is needed. Approximately 150 general journal titles and 60 Slavic subscriptions must be maintained, corresponding to the present collecting practices of the Rosberg Library. Main area studies selectors will prepare a list of journals, newspapers and newsletters to be considered for inclusion into this core serial collection.

Financial support for the materials mentioned in the preceding paragraph has traditionally come from International and Area Studies, and from the various centers and institutes which utilize the collections. We recommend that this contribution be continued as the basis for building and maintaining the IAS Reading Room collection, although it may not be sufficient for the totality of the resources needed. (Some economies may be possible by selective elimination of duplicate titles presently held by both Doe and Rosberg libraries.) If that reliance becomes impractical due to changes in the funding sources for these centers and institutes, we recommend that planning begin quickly to replace these contributions with stable and reliable funding for these collections.

A small open reserve collection is also needed. Such a space can be created in collaboration with the Humanities Graduate Service if the space for it and the IAS Reading Room are contiguous. Otherwise, a shelving area for open reserves will need to be part of the IAS Reading Room floor plan.


The new site needs to include at least 75 reader spaces aimed at providing an environment conducive to study and use of a core collection of current serial publications dealing with international and area studies. Seating in the reading room should consist of a mixture of individual carrels and large multi-user tables, situated in such a manner as to preserve a feeling of openness while still offering areas for concentrated study. Because of a need to accommodate the use of laptop computers, some reader spaces should be equipped with electrical outlets and network connections.

Carrel spaces, with lockable compartments, will be very desirable in such a reading room. If lockable carrels are not possible, secure storage lockers on the premises for regular users of the reading room are imperative. These, too, should be situated so as not detract from the reading room's overall aesthetic appearance.


Although the IAS Reading Room will rely on the electronic resources of the GSSIS and HAS, the site should be planned to accommodate electronic connections to supplement those of the adjacent services.


The Reading Room will contain only non-circulating serials, and so at least one photocopier will be necessary with this service supplemented by the 3 photocopiers available for use in GSSIS. Provision for additional copiers should be made, in the event that demand for photocopies exceeds expectations; this is a security issue as well, since theft and mutilation will inevitably result if copier resources are inadequate.


It is very important that the IAS Reading Room provide a quiet study climate with a minimum of traffic and incidental noise. Moreover, since some of the materials to be housed in the Reading Room will be expensive and difficult to replace, perimeter security for the area will be an important consideration. Materials in the room should be tattletaped in order to take advantage of the Library's security gate system.

It is also important to have an enclosed area set aside for group discussion designed so as not to cause disturbance to other users.


Although it may not be initially feasible to make the IAS Reading Room a staffed service point in the sense of GSSIS and HAS, the Room will require a commitment from the Library to provide prompt check-in, shelving and reshelving of its serial collections. The room itself should be carefully designed to minimize the need for continuous staff presence in the area: it should have clear layout and signage, as well as a prominently displayed directory of area studies librarians' names, locations, telephone numbers, office hours and electronic mail addresses. Regular visitors to the Reading Room should rapidly be able to develop a high degree of self-reliance in using it, and professional reference help and research assistance will be available at the adjacent GSSIS and HAS desks.

The majority of reference assistance needs for users of the IAS Reading Room will be in the area of government publications and social science materials. The continued staffing of the GSSIS desk is seen as an imperative to the effective functioning of the IAS service.

Some members of the Working Group found it highly desirable that the Library consider a provision for regular staffing of the Reading Room as resources permit, recognizing nonetheless that the Library is facing extremely serious financial constraints at the present time.


The Working Group has examined several sites in Doe and Moffitt libraries, and believes that the area 212 Doe south side, the former Copy Cataloging Division adjacent to the current GSSIS staff offices, presents the most advantageous location for the new IAS Reading Room. As a closed space, it could be made to meet the security requirements for the space as outlined above.

The recommended space is also adjacent to the Government and Social Science Information Service and is large enough to house the serials collection described above as well as the requisite number of reading stations. In addition, the corner space (South/West) in room 212 has the potential of being converted into a group meeting/study area. In order to accommodate the required number of reader spaces, shelving for the collection (including open reserves), and the enclosed meeting space, it might be necessary to expand into an adjacent portion of 212 Doe west side, the former space occupied by the Cataloging Department, as well.

The Subject Catalog Hall in Doe was also considered, but since it is located in a heavy traffic area, the potential for disruption is great, and it would be difficult to provide the necessary security for the collections. After careful consideration, we conclude that the Subject Catalog Hall cannot possibly meet the needs of the IAS Reading Room.


This report will be forwarded to James Spohrer for the Library Administrative Group and Dean Richard Buxbaum of International and Area Studies for their approval. When IAS and the Library have reached a decision to proceed, the Working Group will reconvene with the Library Architect to proceed to a detailed design of the site for the International and Area Studies Reading Room. In conjunction with the architect, the working group will also draw up a detailed calendar of progress for completion of the project.


Finally, the working group strongly recommends that the IAS Reading Room in the Main Library continue to the bear the name of its predecessor in Stephens Hall: The Carl Rosberg Reading Room for International and Area Studies. The late Professor Rosberg has made a significant and unparalleled contribution to area studies on the Berkeley campus and it would be highly appropriate to honor these contributions through such a dedication.

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The Working Group on International and Area Studies

Phyllis Bischof, Africana Librarian
George Breslauer, Chair, Berkeley Program in Soviet and Post-Soviet Studies
Carlos Delgado, Librarian for Latin America
Peter Evans, Sociology Department
Louise Fortmann, ESPM and Chair of Center for African Studies
Laurence Michalak, Vice Chair, Center for Middle Eastern Studies
Elizabeth Sibley, Social Science Librarian
Allan Urbanic, Slavic and East European Librarian

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ADDENDUM: Electronic Text Reading Service

Products in electronic form are now coming to market in a variety of area studies disciplines. While some can be distributed across the network, those in CD-ROM format are not likely to be accessible in this way due to the high cost of the equipment needed for network delivery and the added costs of network licensing fees. It would be more appropriate to have this material available for local use on workstations equiped with CD-ROM drives, within or nearby the proposed IAS Reading Room. Currently all such material is housed in the Media Resource Center and patrons of this material must compete for space with a large number of other patrons seeking non-textual materials.

Given the proximity of a Humanities Reading Room, a service with similar needs, we would like to recommend the establishment of a facility for local access to CD-ROM full text products. This facility could work in conjunction with a proposed closed reserve area which would be staffed and which could check-out the various products to patrons working in the reading room areas.

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