Laura Tatum

Archivist of the Eero Saarinen Collection
Manuscripts and Archives, Sterling Memorial Library
Yale University
August/September 2005

One of the things I love best about my career, and about being a member of ARLIS/NA, is the willingness of art librarians to help one another and their desire to see their colleagues succeed. When I was an undergraduate working in an art and architecture library, I was struck by how much the librarians seemed to enjoy their work, to value their colleagues, and to promote their professional organization. 

After making the decision to go to library school - I had learned through observation that art librarianship was a great career - the first thing I did was join ARLIS/NA as a student member and attend an annual conference. The overwhelming sense of welcome and acceptance as a professional colleague that I received from ARLIS/NA members across the board was immensely gratifying for me, and the selfless mentoring that I have received over the years from so many generous ARLIS/NA members makes me feel honored to be a member of this organization and this profession. 

It is very educational to read the ARLIS/NA listserv and incorporate the expertise of other art librarians and archivists into my own work; it is professionally rewarding to have been able to publish research and serve in a leadership capacity at an early stage in my career; and it is terrific on a personal level to be able to get to know colleagues from institutions all over the country - and indeed, all over the world - at conferences that are just big enough to be interesting and worthwhile, but small enough that I never feel lost in the crowd. I appreciate everything ARLIS/NA has done for me as an art information professional, and I hope to continue to contribute to ARLIS/NA in kind in the future.