Sally Sims Stokes

Interim Head, Art and Architecture Libraries
University of Maryland
April 2014

It was a cold day in 1987. I had just started my new job in the University of Maryland Architecture Library as Historic Preservation Librarian under the late Berna Neal. A recent arrival from the Ohio State University Libraries, where I had not been working in a subject specialty, I was not familiar with ARLIS/NA; but Berna remedied that in short order by insisting I attend the annual meeting with her in Washington. The chair that year was the remarkable and inspiring Caroline Backlund, whom I met, for the first time, at that 1987 conference.

I soon became involved at the Chapter level, and for at least nine annual rounds I have had the honor of serving as chair of the committee that grants to one of our chapter members the professional development award endowed by none other than Caroline Backlund.  So you see, meeting her early in my career has been kismet; she’s been a real motivator, to me and others, in many ways.

My membership in ARLIS/NA has been of tremendous value to me over the years.

First, I can’t say enough about Art Documentation. I find the journal exceedingly useful in the courses I teach in Catholic University’s library science program. Now that I am working specifically with art and architecture collections and constituencies, I consult the journal for professional perspective and ideas on a regular basis.

Second, I am grateful for the support that members provide each other in locating obscure publications, exchanging duplicate materials and sharing how-to on issues large and small. I am especially grateful for the outpouring of leads I’ve received in connection with my upcoming presentation at this year’s conference. I have been searching for the most arcane details involving silkscreen on ceramic tiles installed in the White House in the 1940s, and was thrilled almost to tears with the brilliant responses I received after placing just one post on the list!

Last but not least, the friendships I’ve formed through ARLIS/NA have enriched me greatly. I hope I’ve offered as much to others as I’ve received through my association with this wonderful group of human beings.