What words do I think of when I think of ARLIS/NA? Let's see... Some words that spring up include service, mentorship, community, and yes,... fun! ARLIS/NA's membership consists of engaging, interesting professionals in a friendly and supportive environment.
I first heard about ARLIS/NA as a library school student at Columbia University. My goal had been to work in art libraries after getting my graduate degree in art history, and I was pleased to find that there was a professional organization for art librarians. When the annual conference was held in New York City, I decided to attend. I recall how friendly and welcoming the conference attendees were to me--a young student. I felt right at home! After graduating from library school and working as a museum professional in New York City, I was encouraged by my colleagues and supervisors to be active in ARLIS, both nationally and in the local chapter.
ARLIS/NA provides the perfect opportunity to be active if you are an early, mid-career, or seasoned professional. You really can make a difference by participating in leadership roles, mentoring your colleagues, engaging in discussions with your peers, and presenting papers... and the end result is a fulfilling career and friendships with some fabulous people. While serving on the Executive Board and on a variety of committees, I saw firsthand how dynamic, smart, and selfless my colleagues are in an organization that relies on its professional volunteers.
I value the connections that I have made with ARLIS/NA members. When I have query or issue, I know that I can pose it on the list-serv, email my colleagues, or pick up the phone for an in-depth discussion. It's a great way to get a handle on standards, keep up to date with issues, and get advice from trusted colleagues. I feel fortunate to have wonderful ARLIS/NA colleagues and mentors and be a part of this organization.