Published 2/9/16

Suzanne RackoverManager, Library & Archives, Paul D. Fleck Library & Archives, The Banff Centre

ARLIS/NA was my first introduction to the professional world of art librarianship. Attending my first conference in Minneapolis and learning that there was a cohort of art librarians in Canada and around the world that I could turn to for mentorship and professional council was a revelation. Having the umbrella of ARLIS/NA to structure our meetings and guide us through policymaking, collection building, and professional development is invaluable, particularly in Canada where for many of us the next closest art librarian could be several hundred kilometers away.

I joined ARLIS/NA in my second year of library school at McGill in 2009. I already knew some members of the Montreal-Ottawa-Quebec chapter since the art and art library community in Montreal is fairly tight knit. However, the chapter meetings helped me get to know these individuals in a professional capacity and showed me what a welcoming community ARLIS/NA is. Attending chapter meetings as a student also gave me insight into hidden collections in my area and showed me the breadth of positions available to librarians with an interest in the arts.

 Member involvement, as well as the hardworking staff at ARLIS/NA headquarters keeps the organization running. Currently, I am part of the ARLIS/NA + VRA 3rd Joint Conference Implementation Team, serving as one of the volunteer coordinators, one of the conference development coordinators, and the exhibits coordinator. I am also a member of the ARLIS/NA Development Committee and in the past have served on the Research Awards Committee and as chair of the Northwest Chapter.

 Artists’ books are a great passion of mine and an exciting project I am working on with several ARLIS/NA colleagues from institutions across the USA and Canada is the Book Art Special Interest Group’s Artists’ Books Thesaurus. This has been a multi-year project involving many conference calls and Google spreadsheets. The goal of the project is to develop an illustrated thesaurus with vocabulary for cataloging and indexing specific to artists’ books. In the time since we started the project almost five years ago, the interest in artists’ books has exploded! It’s our hope that this thesaurus will be a useful tool for all ARLIS/NA members who are managing or planning to start artists’ books collections.

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