Published 3/11/15

Isabel AyresHead of Library and Museum Archives, Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo, Brazil

1. How did you first become aware of ARLIS/NA?

I have always been passionate about fine arts. I attended an art history course at Museu de Arte de São Paulo (MASP) just after earning my graduate degree in library science while I was working in a business school library. At that time I completed some drawing and engraving workshops as well. I finally had the opportunity to work in an art library at Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo in 2008, after years working in an academic library. At that time, I was looking for specialized information when I found the book Art Museum Libraries and Librarianship (edited by Joan M. Benedetti) published by ARLIS/NA. I was pretty excited when I got my book from the post office! It became my companion in this new and beautiful journey. I was very impressed by the quality of articles and the similarity in dealing with the various situations that I encountered in my museum library. The online publications about cataloging were very helpful too.

2. How did you first become involved with ARLIS/NA? When did you become a member?

It was in 2013, when a group of Latin American librarians were awarded a grant from the Getty Foundation and were invited to attend the ARLIS/NA conference in Pasadena, California. It was an unforgettable and very rewarding experience with the great discussions and inspiring lectures and by the friends I made at that time which I hope to keep throughout my life. It was my first visit to the United States as well, and I had the opportunity to visit UCLA in Los Angeles, and museums in New York City, like MoMA and the Frick Collection. Since then my friends and I from Latin America are involved in forming a group that aims to keep us working together. This group is called arteLA – Information and Documentation on Latin American Art Group.

3. What do you find most valuable about being a member of ARLIS/NA?

As a foreign librarian, I need to say that being a member of ARLIS/NA is a great privilege. We still don’t have any kind of association like that in Brazil. There are some local associations like Redarte-RJ that aims to engage other institutions and professionals outside od Rio de Janeiro, but this still is a work in process. Membership also gave me the unique access to Art Documentation, which has been very helpful to my personal research and professional development. I am also very grateful to the most generous art professionals I met in Pasadena at the conference, especially the American and Latin American friends that are supporting our arteLA group until now and for the generous grants I got. It seems to me that there is an increasing interest in having more Latin American participation at ARLIS/NA and I hope I can keep active in this wonderful community. 

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