I first learned about ARLIS/NA while taking B.J. Irvine's Art Librarianship course at Indiana University in 2005. She stressed the importance of joining the organization as a graduate student for many reasons, including networking opportunities, a reduced membership rate, and the potential to publish in Art Documentation as the Gerd Muehsam award winner. She also encouraged us to join the local Midstates chapter. I was fortunate enough to attend ARLIS/Midstates meetings by carpooling with other students in the program and enjoyed the experience of not only meeting new peers and colleagues, but making what I hope will be lifelong friendships.
In April 2007, I had my first chance to attend the national conference in Atlanta. As a relatively new member, I relied on friends and mentors for advice on what sessions to attend and guidance on all things "conference-related." With their help, I felt at ease in what might have otherwise been an overwhelming environment. I was also able to get involved by helping to plan the pub crawl and serve as recorder for a session.
To me, ARLIS/NA represents not only a network of knowledgeable professionals willing to offer their experiences and advice to the newer members, but people who take a vested interest in shaping the future of the field. It is an exciting time to be an ARLIS/NA member, especially in light of the recent discussions on restructuring, new technologies, and the greater emphasis on recruitment of students and new professionals to the community through ArLiSNAP.