Skip to main content

New ‘Handbook for European Studies Librarians’ provides practical guidance and fosters collective knowledge

By June 17, 2024July 10th, 2024No Comments

Book cover that reads, "Handbook for European Studies Librarians, Brian Vetruba, editor, Heidi Madden, editor." Graphic of a globe in the cornerThe “Handbook for European Studies Librarians,” a new open-access book published by the University of Minnesota Libraries, is now available to read online as an e-book or to download as a PDF.

The handbook is intended to serve as a practical guide for academic librarians, library and information staff (LIS) professionals, and scholars. The handbook’s authors draw upon their own deep expertise — based on hundreds of individual research consultations — to help librarians without specialized knowledge of Europe and Eurasia confidently answer research queries and get up to speed on resources for collection development.

Additionally, it delves into current trends in the European Studies librarianship field, as well as recommendations for diversifying library collections.

The handbook addresses a crucial gap in the field, as co-editor Brian Vetruba notes. “No European Studies librarian comes into their job knowing all regions and aspects of Europe. There was a point in my librarian career where I could have used this [handbook].”

“No European Studies librarian comes into their job knowing all regions and aspects of Europe. There was a point in my librarian career where I could have used this [handbook].”

— Brian Vetruba, Editor

While anyone with computer access can do research in English and find resources independently, explains co-editor Dr. Heidi Madden, effectively utilizing these resources requires highly specialized knowledge. For example, to answer a reference query about statistics, a librarian must know how individual countries gather statistics, and which are excluded from European-wide aggregators. And while anyone can find primary sources in translation, the only way to lay out the primary source landscape needed by the researcher is to use catalogs and other resources in the vernacular languages and from the regions.

The authors of the handbook help readers step into these huge and often unfamiliar research areas, providing context and guidance to help librarians know where to start when faced with questions by researchers in these fields.

The handbook is split into 30 chapters in three parts:

  1. “Resources and Tools for Regions of Europe”
  2. “Resources on Underrepresented Groups in Europe”
  3. “Current Issues in European Studies Librarianship”

Chapters in part one include information about the publishing landscape, collection development tools including domestic and international vendors, and disciplinary resources such as journals, databases, and catalogs. Part two addresses strategies for diversifying collections with discussions of primary sources and other core materials related to underrepresented groups. Finally, part three covers current issues and trends in European Studies librarianship, providing introductory readings, resources, and takeaways.

As an open-access resource, the handbook is free to read, adapt, and re-use for educational and other non-commercial purposes. It can be accessed as an e-book or as a downloadable PDF on the University of Minnesota Libraries’ Pressbooks platform.

“We’re doing this work not only for users today but also users tomorrow,” concludes Vetruba. In addition to serving as a resource for individual librarians, Dr. Madden and Vetruba hope that the handbook will strengthen a thriving community of dedicated professionals who provide ongoing mentorship and support in European Studies for colleagues, faculty, and students.

Learn more and download the handbook.

About the University of Minnesota Libraries Publishing Services

Publishing Services supports scholars by contributing quality, scholarly works to the public commons through open access publishing. We provide consultations about general publishing questions, and publish journals, books, dynamic scholarly serials, and textbooks through our University of Minnesota Libraries Publishing imprint. We seek to create partnerships on campus and beyond, to help shape the future of scholarly publishing. For inquiries and questions, please contact

About the editors

Brian Vetruba (he/him; lgbtq+) is European Studies Librarian at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, where he also is the liaison subject librarian for Jewish Studies and Linguistics. As part of a librarian exchange between the University of Minnesota and the University of Chicago, he serves as the librarian for Germanic Literature and Scandinavian Studies for the University of Chicago Library. He has 20+ years of experience as an academic librarian, having previously worked at Washington University in St. Louis as the subject librarian for Germanic Studies and Comparative Literature. He has served in a number of leadership roles in library and scholarly organizations, including Chair of European Studies Section (ESS), 2022–2023; Chair of German-North American Resources Partnership, 2015–2020; and Chair of the Advisory Committee on the MLA International Bibliography, 2011–2012. He holds a Master of Information Studies (MISt) from the University of Toronto, along with an MA in German Literature and Culture and an MA in West European Studies from Indiana University.

Heidi Madden is the Librarian for Western European and Medieval Renaissance Studies, and serves as the Head of International & Area Studies at Duke University Libraries. She also holds an appointment as and she holds an appointment as Adjunct Professor in the Department of German Studies at Duke. She earned her MLS at North Carolina Central University (NCCU), and a Phd in Comparative Literature from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH).  She develops collections of materials from and about Europe, and provides research services and library instruction. Heidi is active in the European Studies Section (ESS) of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL).

Katie Miller

Author Katie Miller

More posts by Katie Miller

© 2024 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved. The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer.
Privacy Statement | Acceptable Use of IT Resources