Principal selector: Jana Krentz
Principal location: Watson Library
The Caribbean collection mainly supports the Latin American Area Studies Program and draws from social sciences and the humanities.
Haitian studies began at the University of Kansas in the Spring of 1980, and the KU Libraries' Haitian Creole collection is maintained to provide non-textbook examples of the language. The collection also focuses on materials about Haiti.
B. User Population
Primary and potential users of the Caribbean collection are graduate students and Faculty in Latin American Area studies. Users of the Haitian Creole collection are local students of the four levels of Haitian Creole taught on campus, and one professor of those courses. (Bryant Freeman is one of the few academic specialists in Haitian Creole and culture in the United States.) The students' primary needs are for non-textbook examples of the language. Inter-library loan users of the collection are important because there are very few Haitian collections in the United States.
C. Collection Characteristics
The Caribbean collection includes the countries of Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and to a smaller extent, the West Indies. The collection can be characterized as sufficient for graduate teaching and study at the master's degree level. Much of the local Haitian Creole collection has been built in the last fifteen years. Many of the works in the collection would otherwise fall outside of the scope of the Library's Collection Development policy (some are religious translations, Bible stories and commentary), but are acquired because this is what is published and available in the language. Some textbooks, workbooks, and popular materials (pamphlets, tracts, short works) are also purchased for the same reason, contrary to acquisition practice in other subject areas at the University of Kansas Libraries. Materials are also acquired which deal with the history, sociopolitical and economic situation, etc. of Haiti. The Haitian journal collection provides good support for the Haitian Creole collection.
The Caribbean collection of scholarly monographs and serials is primarily composed of Spanish-, and English-language materials. Chronological and geographical limitations are consistent with teaching emphases and research patterns at KU. The Haitian Creole collection is defined by language. Geographic emphasis is Haitian, though titles published in Haitian Creole are also acquired from Brooklyn, New York, where a large Haitian population resides. (The Library does not acquire any of several current New York City newspapers edited by Haitian-interest publishers.) The responsibility of acquiring materials about Haiti in French or Haitian literature in French are shared with the bibliographer for French.
B. Types of Media
The collection is limited at this time to print format books and periodical publications. The University of Kansas Libraries do not collect secondary news and current events summaries, but do collect primary documents and communications of several nongovernmental organizations.
C. Collecting Priorities
The KU Libraries budget a relatively small fixed amount each year for Haitian and Caribbean acquisitions. Continued acquisition of periodical titles is a high priority, and other titles as available.
A. University Programs
The number of students enrolled in Latin American Area Studies has doubled in the last three years. An average of 20-25 students enroll in each of the undergraduate and master's degree programs. Workforce projections indicate an ever-increasing need for professionals and educators specializing in the Latin American region because of increased interdependence among nations in the western hemisphere. Interest in Cuba is especially intense at this time. Typically 15-20 students enroll in undergraduate Haitian courses, and 5-8 in graduate courses. Enrollment in Haitian history courses has risen from an average of 29 students to 100+ in recent years. In addition, a Haitian Studies Institute was created in 1993 at KU.
During hemispheric and global trade embargoes of Haiti, acquisition of Haitian publications has slowed nearly to a halt. Much publication has ceased, at least temporarily, and some publications stock has been destroyed.
A. Method of Receipt Most English-language monographs published in North America and English by university presses and commercial publishers are received on approval. Other materials are firm ordered. Monographic and serial publications in Haitian Creole are supplied in periodic, usually biannual shipments from a single Caribbean librarian/approval vendor, Alan Moss. Other items may be firm-ordered as they become available from several other United States and Latin American vendors.
B. Selection Tools
The bibliographer relies on recommendations of the approval supplier, other vendors' lists and catalogs, and local faculty input in this area.
C. User Input
The bibliographer occasionally receives recommendations for the collection from the professor of Haitian Creole.
One cataloger devotes part-time to the processing of Haitian Creole materials which may be required occasionally for inter-library loan in addition to local use.
Most of this collection is housed in the Watson Stacks under one classification as "examples of the language", rather than by subject matter of each work, which would result in scattering of the collection.