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Slavic Studies and Slavic Librarianship in the United States: A Post-Cold War Perspective (Excerpts)




Trehub, Aaron


This article reprints excerpts from Aaron Trehub’s piece about the relationship between Slavic studies and Slavic librarianship in the United States in the immediate aftermath of the end of the Cold War. The author, who at the time was Slavic librarian and bibliographer (and former Soviet affairs analyst), notes that through a curious quirk of history, the collapse of communism coincided with the birth of a powerful new communications medium (the World Wide Web). Together, these geopolitical and technological developments have fundamentally changed librarianship in general and Slavic librarianship in particular. Trehub’s discussion of the various day-to-day difficulties experienced by Slavic librarians in the post-Cold War period pays special attention to the challenges that new information technologies create for patrons, as well as the instructional burden that this places on librarians. He suggests that excessive reliance on the Web may erode the capacity to reason critically, but admits that the longterm effects of digitization on education and research are unclear. In effect, Trehub’s essay provides the historical background for reevaluating what competencies constitute Slavic information literacy in the twenty-first century.