Leslie Abrams

Head, University of California San Diego Arts Libraries
September/October 2005

I clearly remember the day I discovered that ARLIS/NA existed. I was conducting some research in the Library Science Library in 1977 while a graduate student at UNC-Chapel Hill and ran across an item in a periodical describing the Society. I thought, "Perfect! That's the group for me." Being a member of ARLIS/NA for over 20 years has truly been rewarding, not only for the services provided through publications and conferences but most importantly, the Society has enabled me to develop and sustain important personal relationships with an engaging group of professionals. From my first professional position as an assistant reference librarian at a small liberal arts college in the south, to my many years heading architecture and now arts (including music and film) libraries in large public universities, ARLIS/NA has been the most important organization supporting my development as an information professional. So many times I have said to my non-art colleagues how lucky I was to have a vital, focused (and not with an overwhelming number of members) organization to belong to. Indeed, I never felt "lost" at an ARIS/NA conference. Over the years I have had many opportunities to "give back" by serving on committees and the Board, by participating as a speaker. As we enter the 21st century, I believe ARLIS/NA will continue to help us navigate and address the tremendous changes in our work places, the information environment, and within our constituencies. Our success will very much be due to the collective efforts of this extraordinary membership.