Category Archives: Annual Conference

Anna’s ARLIS/NA New Orleans Conference Experience

Anna Boutin is the recipient of the 2017 ARLIS/NA Annual Conference Travel Award.

Read on to learn about Anna’s conference experience…

First, I would like to thank the award committee and the New England Chapter for the wonderful opportunity to attend the New Orleans conference. I had a great time, taking advantage of workshops, conference sessions, and my own independent time in the city to explore and enjoy the gorgeous weather!

I started off my conference attendance at the letterpress printing workshop with fellow attendees and the artist Jessica Peterson at her print shop, The Southern Letter Press. The shop featured a small storefront that Jessica rents out, featuring local, independent artists’ work – I was grateful that I arrived early and had time to peruse because I found some great pieces! The workshop itself was a great experience, as we collectively channeled our feelings about the current state of affairs in our nation into slogans for printing, ultimately picking two that we each had a chance to run through Jessica’s Vandercook Press. The resulting works have been incredibly popular with my colleagues back home, and are on proud display in my office.

My day began on Monday with several sessions, including my favorite of the conference – “When Research Doesn’t Start with a Question: Teaching with the Framework in Art and Architecture Librarianship.” This panel session left me so inspired (and with such great notes!) that I have made a concerted effort since returning to work to champion the Framework in my daily work and instruction sessions. I was grateful to have such an inspiring, albeit short, day so that I could go out and explore all that the city had to offer – not the least of which was the delicious Southern cuisine!

Tuesday’s visual literacy session was jam-packed – I ended up sitting right there on the floor! I was happy to see such a large crowd, however, as visual literacy is an increasingly important topic, and one that I know captivates art librarians. Anna Harper’s comment about images not being respected as sources of information in their own right was particularly relevant, and it’s been prompting me to think more critically of the secondary role that images play in collegiate education and how art librarians can change that. In addition to this and other sessions, I spent quite a good deal of time on Tuesday in between tornado warnings (that aspect was certainly not something this New Englander is used to!) in the Exhibits Hall. We have a small but growing collection of artists’ books at my institution, and I was thrilled to have the time to speak with the knowledgeable vendors and a few other librarians on the topic.

My Wednesday turned out to have a social justice and diversity theme, which was timely. With recent events on nearly everyone’s mind, the New England Chapter spent most of our meeting time discussing activist efforts and what we can do as librarians to ensure that all of our communities are safe and welcomed within and outside the library. The Diversity Forum proved a great opportunity to discuss pressing issues in our workplaces with colleagues from across the country, and I truly enjoyed the panel on critical information literacy. The activities and efforts highlighted by the presenters were informative for my own practice.

Though I ended up having my flight cancelled due to the snowstorm that plagued New England that Thursday, I was grateful to have a final day in New Orleans to spend enjoying the city and reflecting on my conference experience – the extra beignets sure didn’t hurt, either! I am looking forward to next year’s conference in New York City, and all the wonderful opportunities it brings with it. I hope to see you all there!

About Anna: Anna Boutin has a BA in Theatre Performance with minors  Art History and Women’s & Gender Studies from Emmanuel College, as well as an MLIS from the Simmons College School of Library and Information Science. She is currently the Librarian for the School of Architecture + Planning at MIT, and the Treasurer for the New England Chapter of ARLIS/NA.

About the ARLIS/NA New England Chapter’s Annual Conference Travel Award: The Travel Award is intended to encourage the professional development of ARLIS/NA New England Chapter members by supporting travel to the ARLIS/NA annual conference. Money for this award is generously donated by ARLIS/NA New England Chapter members.

Sarah’s ARLIS/NA + VRA Conference Experience

Sarah Long is the recipient of the 2016 ARLIS/NA New England Chapter Annual Conference Travel Award.

Read on to learn about Sarah’s conference experience!

I’d like to thank the award selection committee and the chapter for this awesome opportunity to come back to Seattle. Granted that time was one week of graduate school orientation for the University of Washington online MLIS program, but I still felt an urge to return.

After spending almost all of last year’s conference at the registration desk, I was excited to get back in there and experience the conference and see Seattle. But I wasn’t quite done with the registration desk, I volunteered for the first shift Tuesday morning. My two hours consisted mostly of directing members of the Woodland Park Zoo to the other registration desk on the floor and checking in members of the executive board before their all-day meeting. After that, I was free to roam around the city.

Later that day I attended the Pioneer Square tour led by Alan Michelson of UW. While the tour started at Pioneer Square, Alan took us around the whole neighborhood, including the Gold Rush museum and describing nearly the complete architectural history of Seattle. He knew the complete story of nearly every building we passed. Luckily we had sunshine for entirety of the three hour tour.

The most important and helpful part of the conference were the two workshops I attended on Wednesday. The first workshop was the Career Development led by ArLiSNAP and VREPS. We received invaluable tips for carrying out job searches including sharing places to find job listings, how to communicate with and use references, and resources for maintaining relevancy in the field. More importantly we focused on persistence and maintaining positive outlooks and an open mind.

The second workshop was the first meeting of the year-long career mentoring program. The theme for this year is leadership, and we spent time brainstorming qualities of a good leader what we strive for in our careers. Before the workshop we were asked to create SMART goals (Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Relevancy, Timeframe) to focus our objectives and gain perspective. The mentees completed exercises and received advice on how to approach our positions as mentees vis-à-vis communication, expectations, and support. During the second half of the workshop we met with our mentors to get to know them and edit our goals. My mentor, Yvette Cortes, and I discussed a plan for future meetings, establishing agendas, and goal-setting. The Committee members will be in touch with us all year providing readings and advice. The two workshops gave me with a boost in confidence and ambition for continuing my job search and getting involved in the organization.

During the rest of the conference, I attended the session on web archiving, new voices in the profession, the poster session where I got a volunteer opportunity, and sat in and took notes for the Documentation Committee. I met with colleagues from Houston and new friends and colleagues in New England, and got so much encouragement and understanding regarding my quest for employment. I had a remarkable time and hope to see all of you soon!

About Sarah: Sarah Long has a BA in Art History from Trinity University and MLIS from the University of Washington. She worked at the Hirsch Library, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston for eight years and currently resides in Providence, RI.

About the ARLIS/NA New England Chapter Travel Award: The Travel Award is intended to encourage the professional development of  ARLIS/NA New England Chapter members by supporting travel to the ARLIS/NA annual conference.. Money for this award is generously donated by ARLIS/NA New England Chapter members.

Rebekah’s ARLIS/NA + VRA Conference Experience

Rebekah Scoggins is the recipient of the 2016 Elmar W. Seibel Scholarship, which she used to attend this year’s ARLIS/NA and VRA joint conference.

Read on to learn about Rebekah’s conference experience!

I used the Elmar W. Seibel Award to attend the 2016 ARLIS/NA + VRA Joint Conference in Seattle. It was an incredible experience. Right from the beginning of the conference, I felt like I was among people with similar interests and who were in the careers to which I aspire. I have never been in a situation where I was around so many art librarians and it felt amazing. When the conference started on Wednesday morning, my first event was the ArLiSNAP and VREPS Career Development workshop. This is such a great addition to the conference and a great resource for young professionals. The three moderators were very interesting and helpful. They all came from very different backgrounds, which gave me three different ideas of how being a young professional works, including discussions about resumes, interviewing, and networking. What was also great about the workshop was how interactive it was. The audience members were encouraged to share their experiences and perspectives as well as ask questions relating to the topics. Overall, I left with many things to consider and a better understanding of how the job search will go.

Over the course the conference, I was able to attend some amazing panels. I saw panels about the connections between museum educators and librarians; new ventures from visual resources professionals that expand their reach as professionals; innovations and uses of e-books in art libraries and publishing; how to implement the ACRL Information Literacy Framework in art and design institutions; how to incorporate new technologies over a variety of projects; numerous projects from newcomers to the organization and conference; discovering new ways to reach out to students and help them connect with the library and its resources; and the importance and relevance of open source materials to art librarianship. I took so many notes and feel like I learned so much. My head was full of so much information and so many ideas when I left the conference. I wish I could have seen every panel, but I picked the ones I found most interesting and informative for my future career. I hope that I will be able to attend many more ArLiS/NA conferences in the future so I can continue to see what my peers are working on throughout the country.

The special events and receptions that the conference held were great opportunities to mingle with the other attendees. Wednesday night, I attend the First Time Attendees and New Members reception. I was able to talk with people from all over the country and even made friends with a few fellow library students from Canada. I heard about what it was like to work at the Whitney Museum, the Met Museum Library, the University of Hawaii, and a few others. I met some of the board members as well as some people who have been members for years. It was a really great experience to see so many different people who are on the verge of their careers in one place. The welcome gala at the Seattle Art Museum was also amazing, especially since it brought the whole conference together in one place. I was also excited that we were allowed access to the museum. I met even more amazing people from around the country and learned all about their institutions as well as share stories about my own.

Overall, going to this conference was an enriching experience and I will always be grateful to the New England Chapter of ArLiS/NA for this opportunity.

About Rebekah: Rebekah will graduate with a master’s degree in Library and Information Science, with a concentration in Cultural Heritage Informatics, in May from Simmons College. She also holds a master’s and bachelor’s degree in Art History. Originally from Georgia, Rebekah plans to move back to the south after graduation to find a job in art librarianship in an academic institution or museum.

About the Seibel Scholarship: Established in 2001, the Elmar W. Seibel Scholarship honors ARLIS/NA New England Chapter Life Member Elmar Seibel, a respected book dealer, bibliographer, curator, and collector. He is founder and president of Boston’s Ars Libri Ltd., which since 1976 has been a resource for scholars, librarians, collectors, and artists. The purpose of this award is to support and encourage future art librarians by helping to defray graduate school expenses. The Seibel Scholarship is made possible through the generous donations of ARLIS/NA New England members.