ARLIS/NA 43rd Annual Conference: Some Thoughts

Another ARLIS/NA Conference has come and gone; Art Librarians from not only North America, but from around the globe, congregated in Fort Worth, Texas last week to discuss current trends and issues in our niche field of librarianship, debate the future of art books and bibliography in the wake of e-publishing, and just generally mingle with one another. Unlike past years, however, this year I got to count myself as one of the conference’s many attendees. That’s right, folks, I actually had the opportunity to attend our parent organization’s annual conference, and I’ve got the tote bags to prove it…I know, you’re all very happy for me.

So I went to the conference really hoping to come away with concepts to implement in my own workplace, and although there were some very interesting presentations, the truth is that many of the topics discussed were not all that applicable to my niche within a niche library.  As someone who works in the private sector, an art gallery to be exact, something like library programming, while important to many art libraries, is not something that works, or is necessary, for a corporate art library.

Yet despite this, what some might call, failing, I still feel as though I got a lot out of my time at ARLIS/NA. I walked away with a large number of resources previously unknown (to me) from which the users of my library will definitely benefit, such as the Art Discovery Group Catalogue (ADGC), the first discipline-specific view of WorldCat records, and I cannot wait to introduce my users to this, as well as many other cool new tools.

Of course, conferences are also about networking, which is especially important for those of us new to the art library world, either as students or as new professionals. I met some really great people and had some interesting conversations. Of particular note to me was a fascinating conversation about how to deal with post-it notes in books when the person who put them there has the authority to request that said post-its remain in perpetuity…yeah, that’s a thing that happens in private libraries. Anyway, the short answer is: try to explain that post-its are the mortal enemy of books, but the long answer is, try to come up with alternatives for your users, even if it means you may have to take on more work.

So that was my first ARLIS/NA conference-going experience, and I think it rather rocked. How about you guys? Did you go? If so, how was it? Any cool takeaways?

Let the knowledge sharing continue!

Some good resources from the ARLIS/NA 43rd Annual Conference:

Art Discovery Group Catalogue (ADGC) – http://artlibraries.worldcat.org/

Getty Research Portal – http://portal.getty.edu/portal/landing

A/V Artifact Atlas (AVAA) – http://avaa.bavc.org/artifactatlas/index.php/A/V_Artifact_Atlas

Quality Control Tools for Video Preservation (QC Tools) – http://www.bavc.org/qctools

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