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.