Kai Alexis Smith

Library and Information Science, MSLIS Candidate
History of Art, MS Candidate
Pratt Institute
January/February 2013

Like you, I've always been passionate about art and enjoyed researching. But it wasn't until after graduating with my Bachelor's degree and trying a career as a researcher for entertainment/lifestyle magazines and websites that I realized I needed to merge the two. While taking a research methods for art historians class at Hunter College, a professor suggested that I explore the path of librarianship. When researching one day at the Frick Art Reference Library, I spoke to Suz Massen and Liz Lane about their careers. Their enthusiasm about the field was contagious. Then, I knew art librarianship was the path I needed to follow. And as per Suz and Liz's suggestion, ARLIS was the organization to join. 

My first ARLIS/NA event was in 2011, when I went on the Mexico City study tour. It truly changed my life. Everyone on the trip was incredibly welcoming, from the other members that attended to the host institutions. I am interested in Latin American and Caribbean art and this trip provided first hand exposure to Mexican artists, museums, and libraries. 

Through Project-CHART in 2012, Pratt Institute-SILS generously sponsored attendance to my first ARLIS/NA Conference in Toronto. It provided me the opportunity to officially serve and meet the Diversity Committee in person; learn about the latest technologies, issues, ideas, and trends in the field; and expand my network exponentially. I met students and new members like myself as well as seasoned professionals. Recently, I won the ARLIS/NA 2013 Internship Award and am working on firming up plans at an institution for later in the year. 

As a newbie, ARLIS/NA to me means a wonderful community, role models to shape myself after, and opportunities to flourish. I look forward to graduating in May 2013 and am very excited about being apart of the ARLIS community as I start my professional career. I plan to continue to be active on the national level and to be more active in my local chapter as well. There are so many more pivotal ARLIS members that I haven't mentioned and I would like to let them know how grateful I am for their guidance and mentoring. I truly have found my calling and the professional organization in which I will thrive. I plan to be a lifelong member and am excited about my future and where the organization is going.