Learning & Research Librarian, Fine Arts, University of Victoria Libraries
I was appointed to be the librarian for fine arts at the University of Victoria (UVic) Libraries in 2011 as my predecessor in the position, Lynne Woodruff, was about to retire. In early 2012 while training in my new position, Lynne strongly encouraged me to join the Art Libraries Society of North America (ARLIS/NA), so I did. I am so grateful to Lynne for her suggestion to join this professional association. It was one of the best decisions I ever made.
My previous positions as a librarian at UVic were in humanities and social sciences. Prior to my current position, my subject background in fine arts was rather limited (other than being an acrylic painter in the night!). I have been assisted greatly by joining ARLIS/NA in making my transition to the world of art librarianship.
The very first ARLIS/NA annual conference I attended was held in Toronto (2012) and I have not missed an annual conference since. In Toronto, I signed up for the first-time attendee’s Conference Networking Program and through this program I met Dr. Suzanna Simor of Queens College Art Center. What a great introduction to the association! Suzanna was so welcoming and helpful, full of energy and knowledge. She introduced me to everyone in sight. Because of this I certainly felt quite welcome and at ease at my very first ARLIS/NA annual conference. I also joined the Canadian chapter during this conference. I find the Canadian chapter very helpful in learning about what other Canadian art librarians are doing and about some of the common challenges we are facing across our vast country.
A few years later, I joined the Northwest Chapter, an international chapter representing U.S. and Canadian libraries much closer to home, where we share more similar climate and culture. By joining the Canadian chapter and the Northwest Chapter, I am provided a good balance and perspective of both local and national issues. If you are just joining ARLIS/NA, I strongly recommend joining a local chapter and to attend chapter meetings outside the annual conference. This has proven quite helpful to me in developing my career.
At the 2016 ARLIS/NA + VRA 3rd Joint Conference in Seattle, Washington, I was one of the volunteer coordinators along with my colleagues, Suzanne Rackover (Banff Centre) and Jasmine Burns (Indiana University). I am so grateful to all those who generously signed up to volunteer. This conference is just another way that ARLIS/NA is instrumental in broadening the network of professionals in our field.