Stephen Allan Patrick

Professor and Head, Documents/Law/Maps Department
Sherrod Library
‚ÄčEast Tennessee State University
April/May 2007

While in library school at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville in 1975-76, everyone knew that I wanted to be an art librarian and they tried to accommodate me the best they could. Then one day in January 1976, a fellow student told me about this new library organization for art librarians: ARLIS/NA. I was elated and immediately inquired about membership. To my surprise I received a message shortly thereafter from Nancy Pistorius, who was then at Vanderbilt, inviting me to an organizational meeting in Nashville in May to establish an ARLIS / Kentucky-Tennessee Chapter. From that first charter meeting I was hooked! After graduating from UTK and moving to Greenville SC, I was contacted by the secretary of the ARLIS/Southeast Chapter. I attended my first SE meeting in December 1977 and have not missed an annual meeting since then. After moving back to Tennessee in 1982, I belonged to both the Southeast and Kentucky-Tennessee chapters (until the latter was dissolved in 1995). 

Over the years I have proclaimed the virtues and benefits of ARLIS/NA far and wide, and have driven thousands of miles to attend chapter meetings from Indiana to Florida and from Louisiana to Virginia, frequently driving off the beaten path to pick up fellow members along the way. By the time I attended my first ARLIS/NA conference in Toronto in 1979, I was no longer an arts librarian, but one of those outsiders: a documents librarian. As a result, I used my vacation time and my own funds to attend ARLIS/NA conferences. But it didn't matter since ARLIS/NA conferences have been my guilty pleasure. I found ways to contribute, serving on committees and editing the "New Docs in SuDocs" column in the ARLIS/NA Newsletter and Art Documentation for 15 years. I even had the pleasure of being Program Chair of the 24th ARLIS/NA Conference in Miami Beach in 1996. 

My connection to ARLIS/NA still runs deep after 32 years of membership, having served ARLIS/Southeast as officer and both unofficially and officially as chapter historian, and initiating the LoPresti Art Publishing Award. In 2001, after twenty-five years of consecutive chapter attendance, my colleagues honored me with Lifetime Membership in the Chapter! 

It is to my fellow ARLIS/NA colleagues and friends that I owe a debt of gratitude and a career filled with accomplishments never dreamed of while in library school. ARLIS/NA provided me with opportunities to gain experience in public speaking, publishing, and professional service. What other organization can you join as a member and gain a family for life? To all of my friends in ARLIS/NA I thank you for all of the joy and camaraderie you have given me over the years and it is with great pride that I have created the ARLIS/NA Timeline for our 35th Anniversary in Atlanta.