Stories from Past ARLIS/NA Award Winners

Donations to ARLIS/NA have a direct impact on the careers of award recipients; past award winners attest to this. Contributions to awards are contributions to the future of the profession. If you would like to share your story, please contact the Development Committee.

Heather GendronThe year I received the Internship Award (2001) was the first time it was awarded. The committee had worked so hard to get the award established and there was so much excitement about it - the experience gave me a strong sense that ARLIS/NA was an organization of people highly committed to the future of ARLIS/NA and art librarianship as a whole. The internship experience gave me excellent concrete experience to put on my resume. I also received mentoring from librarians at the University of Texas, Austin where my internship was hosted, as well as from members of the internship award committee. As someone new to the art library profession, it made a big impact. Through the ARLIS/NA members I encountered, I saw a very positive facet of the organization that I have tried to replicate throughout my career and through my ARLIS/NA activities. The whole experience inspired me to actively participate in the organization. I was subsequently asked to serve on the committee for the internship award, which gave me a foothold into ARLIS/NA. I learned how to network and became more confident in volunteering for ARLIS/NA projects. Later on, I was nominated to serve as an ARLIS/NA Executive Board member and currently serve as its President – so I think we can safely say this award really helped jump-start my dream career!

- Heather Gendron: Internship Award 2001, current ARLIS/NA President

John SchlinkeThe Internship Award allowed me to complete an internship in the Architecture Library at Roger Williams University. I was an architect prior to returning to school to earn a degree in library science. The Internship Award helped me gain experience as I transitioned between careers and contributed substantially to my eventually being hired as the Access Services Librarian at the university. After working at that position for two years, I had the opportunity to apply for the position of Architecture/Art Librarian. I was hired and have worked in that position from 2005 until the present.

- John Schlinke: Internship Award 2002

Mar Gonzalez PalaciosI think the most important impact of the Internship Award was giving me the confidence to focus on a career in art/architecture librarianship. I was concerned about narrowing my choices too much but getting the award made me realize that I was competitive and that, if I got more experience and got more involved, I would be able to find work in this field. The award allowed me to explore more closely work with special collections and confirmed that this was an area that I was very interested in pursuing. The experience I got had direct practical benefits that I was able to apply when I landed my first permanent position. I will always be grateful to all the staff at the Loeb Library because they took the time to mentor me; they were always open to my questions and were really encouraging.

- Mar González Palacios: Internship Award 2007

Shilpa ReleI received the ARLIS/NA Internship Award when I was completing my MLIS coursework at UCLA. It served as a recognition of my potential as a librarian, which helped boost my confidence and conviction to pursue a career in the area of visual resources and digital libraries. My internship work involved reviewing social tags provided by online users for museum objects in LACMA’s digital collections. This gave me a good understanding of the importance of consistency in tagging/metadata for providing access to online digital objects, which was important when I embarked on my first professional position as Metadata Librarian at the University of Miami. As a result of the internship, I was able to gain an understanding and appreciation for how digital objects are described and managed in a museum environment and how this can vary from one cultural institution to another. The scope of my work has expanded considerably since receiving the award, especially in my current position, as head of the Digital Library Program at LMU where I am responsible for the strategic development and growth of Digital Collections, Digital Commons (Institutional Repository) and Digital Scholarship.

- Shilpa Rele: Internship Award 2008

Diane BockrathI won the Gerd Muehsam Award the year I graduated from library school. I wrote the article with a few others about the Walters’ efforts to digitize the museum’s collection of medieval illuminated manuscripts. I was working full time for them doing digitization and metadata creation. Then after I graduated, I was hired to be the head of the library and archives; I think this project and winning this award had a direct impact on that. It allowed me to move up in my own institution, from a library tech position to a full librarian role. Beyond the impact on me personally, the award also worked to the institution’s advantage - it provided exposure to the project and their efforts towards providing free, open access to collections. The best part of the award is the chance to present; it really is a great opportunity for people coming into the field. When I saw the announcement, I thought it was fantastic, not only an award, but also presentation experience, a publication, and people helping you at the conference. All totaled, a large impact. It’s this little niche of librarianship and it is important when you are just starting out to meet the community and become a part of it. That year Kristin Regina and Maria Oldal took me out to dinner; I felt slightly intimidated being a new librarian out with two established professionals, but they asked me questions about my career goals, gave me all kinds of advice, and were really supportive. The professional connections are invaluable; ARLIS people in general are awesome.

- Diane Bockrath: Gerd Muehsam Award 2010