The History of ArLiSNAP (2003-2009)

The History of ArLiSNAP (2003-2009)

Compiled by Bryan Loar, ArLiSNAP co-coordinator (2009-2011)

Art Library Students and New ARLIS* Professionals (ArLiSNAP) developed out of the need to have a formalized group that caters to the needs of art library students and new professionals.

A Rocky Beginning & the Rise of the Student Affairs Discussion Group

In 2003, Miriam Intrator, founder of UNC Chapel Hill’s Art & Museum Library & Information Student Society (AMLISS), unsuccessfully petitioned ARLIS/NA for the official support of student chapters.  A year later at the 32nd annual ARLIS/NA conference, momentum continued to build with Sarah Falls’ paper[1] on the importance of local student groups for art librarianship curricula, particularly in LIS programs that did not have strong course offerings.  It was at that conference in 2004 that the Society’s executive board approved the creation of the Student Affairs Discussion Group.

Several months later, the Student Affairs Discussion Group created a listserv dedicated to the needs of art library students and new professionals.  The listserv was an important evolution for the discussion group by providing a means for ongoing, electronic dialogue.  Thanks to Sarah Falls, the listserv was hosted at the University of Richmond.

The Student Affairs Discussion Group met face-to-face for the first time at the 2005 ARLIS/NA annual conference in Houston.  The meeting was moderated by Sarah Falls, and attendees included former ArLiSNAP co-coordinator Sarah Carter (2006-07).  Another important first for the student-led group was the pub crawl.  The crawl was born from an ARLIS/UK challenge.  At an earlier UK conference, UK members (who regularly hold pub crawls) challenged ARLIS/NA members to begin their own.  The challenge was met and has been a success from the start.

At the following 2006 ARIS/NA annual conference in Banff, the first “New Voices” session was offered, giving students and new professionals greater visibility and recognition within ARLIS/NA.  Former ArLiSNAP co-coordinators Sarah Carter and Megan Macken (2006-08) presented papers at the New Voices session, and Sarah Falls moderated.  Falls also moderated a successful resume workshop that included Keith Scharnau from University of Calgary’s career development offices, B.J. Irvine from Indiana University, and many other ARLIS/NA members who graciously volunteered their time.  In addition to Falls’ moderating, she participated as a panelist at a session[2] dedicated to student outreach, and she coordinated and publicized the Student Affairs’ pub crawl.  2006 was the final year of Sarah Falls’ coordinator tenure.

A Time of Change: Blog Development and the ArLiSNAP Naming

In June of 2006, discussion group co-coordinators Sarah Carter and Megan Macken surveyed the Student Discussion Group listserv subscribers and found widespread support for a blog project.  Armed with this consensus, group members began to research more dynamic platforms that would fit the group’s needs to communicate with each other and stay informed.

By 2006, blogs had finally gone mainstream, and the WordPress platform offered ArLiSNAP the most flexibility for their needs.  Bryan Loar, Megan Macken, and Sarah Carter collaborated to set up ArLiSNAP’s website in July 2006, and the ARLIS/NA Student Blog Committee helped guide the site’s initial development.  Megan developed and integrated the social bookmarking site Delicious into ArLiSNAP, created many of the pages within the ArLiSNAP site, and her husband, Jared Macken, created the ArLiSNAP logo.  Bryan developed the ArLiSNAP name starting with SNAP (which morphed into ArLiSNAP after community feedback), became responsible for adding new ArLiSNAP members, and registered the domain.

At the 2007 ARLIS/NA annual conference in Atlanta, the Student Discussion Group voted in favor of formally changing its name to Art Library Students and New ARLIS Professionals (ArLiSNAP).  Sarah Carter moderated the sessions “Backpack to Briefcase: Life after Library School” and “New Voices in the Profession 2: Papers on Arts and Visual Resources Librarianship.”  Former co-coordinator, Rebecca Cooper (2007-09), moderated the session “AskARLIS/NA Discussion Session: Hot Topics for Librarians in the Arts.”   Bryan Loar presented at the New Voices and AskARLIS/NA sessions.[3]

The 2007 ArLiSNAP pub crawl was coordinated by Susan Winkler (one of the original members of the ARLIS/NA Student Blog Committee) and Kristen (Meyer) Mastel.  Plans for a Web 2.0 technology kiosk were discussed at this conference and later implemented at the 2008 conference in Denver.

2008 was a year of ArLiSNAP firsts at the 36th ARLIS/NA annual conference in Denver.  ArLiSNAPers Rebecca Cooper and Tracy Bergstrom developed and designed ArLiSNAP’s first survival guide pamphlet to conference participants.  Additionally, The Web 2.0 Tech Kiosk and corresponding wiki were unveiled.  The kiosk was coordinated by Rebecca Cooper, and it was staffed by many ArLiSNAP members including Megan Macken and Susan Winkler.  Co-coordinator Tracy Bergstrom (2008-10) presented at the session “New Voices in the Profession.”[4] The session was moderated by Sarah Falls and Megan Macken.  Megan also presented “Next Generation OPACs: Current Practices & Future Opportunities for Art Libraries” at the “What’s Hot & What’s Not: Trends in Technologies and Services in Libraries” session.  The accompanying virtual poster was co-authored by Bryan Loar.  Sarah Falls organized the Denver pub crawl, which was attended by approximately 40 ArLiSNAPers and conference attendees.

In 2009, ArLiSNAP experienced a boom in volunteerism.  Rebecca Cooper and Tracy Bergstrom successfully recruited discussion, membership, mentorship, professional development, and liaison coordinators.  At the 37th annual conference in Indianapolis, Rebecca Cooper participated in a resume workshop and again coordinated the Web 2.0 Tech Kiosk.  Kristen Mastel, Bryan Loar, and other ArLiSNAPers worked as Web 2.0 Tech Kiosk advisors.  The New Voices in the Profession session returned and was moderated by Sarah Falls.  2009’s pub crawl was planned, promoted, and led by a team of three members—Tracy Bergstrom, Bryan Loar, and Sarah Carter.

Today, Tomorrow, & Beyond!

ArLiSNAP is a fantastic resource for art library students and new professionals.  It offers copious amounts of links to relevant resources, depth of knowledge through advice, a forum for discussion and innovation, and a platform to demonstrate leadership and promote activism.


Community, Innovation, and Empowerment for 21st Century Art Librarians

[1] Presents at “Teaching the Future: Creating Partnerships for MLS Programs for Art and Museum Librarianship”

[2] “Ask ARLIS: Reaching Out: Chapter Links to Local Library Schools”

[3] “Why Blogs Matter” and “New Forms of Communication: Harnessing Collective Knowledge through Web Logs,” respectively

[4] “A Content Analysis of Visual Resources Collection Websites”


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