Special Projects Librarian for IT, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
I have been a member of ARLIS/NA since 2008. Hard to believe it’s been that long!
Similar to other information professionals, I have been employed in libraries for most of my adult life. But I didn’t discover the field of art librarianship until embarrassingly late in the game. A profession that combines art and libraries? SIGN ME UP. I often joke that ARLIS/NA saved my professional life, but it’s true. The discovery of an organization that includes individuals with the same interests, challenges, and sense of humor as you is incredibly powerful to a new professional. The thought that others continue to have that same eureka moment brings me joy.
Since joining ARLIS/NA, I have held a number of different positions ranging from a fellow in art librarianship to a visual resource professional to my current job as projects librarian in a library IT unit. Throughout these professional changes ARLIS/NA has been a constant, even as my responsibilities moved away from a focus on art.
So, why am I still a member of ARLIS? There are a lot of small reasons: the listserv conversations, the conference programming, the art librarian fashion. But the biggest reason is the thrill of discovering opportunities to connect art librarianship to my current position and interests. For example, I continue to be passionate about fostering future visual resource professionals and served as a co-chair for the ARLIS/NA-VRAF Summer Educational Institute (SEI) for three years. And in Seattle, I look forward to the opportunity to share project management fundamentals and principles through a workshop at the annual ARLIS/NA conference.
I am incredibly proud of my art librarian roots and see opportunities for the skills I acquired as an art library professional to influence the future of libraries. Our strengths in areas like visual literacy, data visualization, and design thinking get us a seat at the table for important conversations.
Even if you don’t have “art” in your job title, I encourage you to stay involved and think creatively about how your membership in ARLIS/NA can benefit your current institution.