CLIR Distinguished Service Award

2017 Recipient

Karen Rondestvedt

The ASEEES Committee on Libraries and Information Resources Distinguished Service Award, which was established in 2010, honors ASEEES member librarians, archivists, or curators whose contributions to the field of Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies librarianship have been especially noteworthy or influential. The effect of these contributions may be the result of continuous or distinguished service to the profession, but may also be the result of extraordinarily active, innovative, or collaborative work that deserves national recognition.

Honoree: Karen Rondestvedt

The ASEEES Committee on Libraries and Information Resources is pleased to present this year’s Distinguished Service Award to Karen Rondestvedt, whose service to the field of Slavic & Eurasian librarianship spans 43 years. Rondestvedt began her career in 1972 at the University of Chicago, where she spent 13 years learning her craft in Slavic Acquisitions and Collection Development. In 1985, as glasnost’ and perestroika initiated a new era in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, Rondestvedt embarked upon a new stage in her own career, moving to the University of Pittsburgh, where she served as a Slavic Cataloger and Slavic Bibliographer. In 2001, Rondestvedt took on new challenges as the Curator for Slavic & East European Collections at Stanford University Libraries, where she worked for 15 more years, building Stanford’s world-class collections and teaching courses on Slavic bibliography, before retiring from the position in 2015.

Rondestvedt’s impact on the field has been tremendous. During her tenure at Pittsburgh and Stanford, she traveled extensively throughout Eastern Europe, participating in conferences abroad, strengthening ties with vendors, building exchange programs with foreign libraries, and attending book fairs to keep in touch with trends and the cultural milieu of the region. Her résumé includes a long list of presentations and written reports that detail her work abroad and re ect her lifelong commitment to professional development, such as attending intensive language programs for Uzbek, Hungarian, and Polish languages. Those languages supplement advanced proficiency in Russian, Polish, German, French and Spanish; with a working knowledge of a dozen other languages.

Within ASEEES Rondestvedt participated in numerous conventions and committee service, often in leadership capacities. She also worked with colleagues on advisory boards and grant-funded projects to acquire, preserve, and catalog archival materials, newspapers, and electronic resources from East European countries. In 2000, at a time when few Slavists had created large-scale websites or acquired a knowledge of HTML, Rondestvedt was instrumental in the development of REESWeb, an internet guide to resources for Slavic and East European Studies that was arguably the first American online resource of its kind dedicated to Slavic, East European, and Eurasian studies.

Rondestvedt’s most significant achievement was her editorship of Slavic and East European Information Resources, a journal devoted to library and information science pertaining to Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies. Work on the first issue began in 2000, with Rondestvedt as co-editor. A few years later, Rondestvedt continued as sole general editor of the journal through 2016. In addition to regular issues of articles, the journal publishes monograph length special issues, essentially broadening the scope of scholarship in our eld.

Rarely, if ever, did Rondestvedt promote herself or feel the need to seek out recognition for her own achievements. She went about her work humbly and consistently, demonstrating a commitment to preservation of the scholarly record in our field for the benefit of students and scholars today and into the future. As the beneficiaries of her leadership, and collegial approach to the implementation of projects, collaboration, and dialogue for more than forty years, we salute Karen Rondestvedt for her achievements and lifelong dedication to the field.