Jonathan Franklin

Head of Collections & Database Management
National Gallery of Canada Library
September/October 2006

When I moved to Canada from the UK, I joined ARLIS/NA straight away. To make contacts and find out about jobs, of course, very important when starting a career or making a transition. But then over time other kinds of opportunity opened up through ARLIS/NA... 

Opportunities for training and professional development, for example; opportunities to publish articles; and for involvement at the local level, through the chapters, as well as at the Society level. When I worked in London there was a great concentration of art libraries in one place but surprisingly little coordination or collaboration. ARLIS/NA was an eye-opener - such a terrific support system distributed across an entire continent. It's not the only group I belong to but it is the main one, and I like the way it has circles that intersect with other circles. For example, I look after the catalogue and the WebOPAC, and within ARLIS/NA I can find other museums that use the same software as we do, and explore how they make the most of it in dealing with art resources. Given the changes in our profession, there are fewer and fewer areas where an institution can simply focus on its own activity and ignore developments in the field at large. So membership in ARLIS/NA has become a tool that helps me do my job more effectively.