I have been a member of ARLIS/NA since 1995, when I began working as a Fine Arts Librarian at Brigham Young University. Having previously worked in the area of Latin American studies, my main concern was that I would not find an organization that was so supportive and embracing as SALALM (Seminar on the Acquisition of Latin American Library Materials). To my comfort and good fortune, ARLIS/NA has filled that role beyond my expectations--it's where I continue to learn how to be an art librarian.
While the annual conferences have offered such great exposure to current issues, practices, and general information about art librarianship, the most important aspect of ARLIS/NA to me has been the inspiration by the collective group. The conferences are not just about the sessions and workshops, but also about the visits to local institutions, the vendors, the exhibits, the conversations, the friendships, the opportunities, the belonging.
At the local level, I have truly appreciated my involvement in the Mountain West Chapter since its establishment in 1995. I have had several opportunities to serve in the chapter as president, secretary, webmaster, and online publisher of the Mountain Ledger newsletter. Despite being located in 7 different states, members of our chapter are dedicated, committed, and united. After participating in this year's 2008 Denver conference planning, I feel that my attachment to the chapter has become an extension of my professional job. It's been a great experience.
The most impressive aspect of ARLIS/NA is the individual passion that everyone has for what they do. That passion resonates throughout our society's collective commitment to support this engaging and motivating organization.