Twenty Canadian members gathered in San Antonio for the first meeting of the new ARLIS/Canada Chapter. Incoming ARLIS/NA President Roger Lawson, Vice-President Mary Graham and Executive Director Penney De Pas were also present. The agenda covered many topics of concern to Canadians. Jane Devine, Canadian Representative to ARLIS/NA and ARLIS/Canada Chair, reported on her activities during the past year. These included working to establish the new Chapter, administering the Melva J. Dwyer Award for excellence in Canadian art reference publishing, monitoring headquarters service to Canadians and attending executive board meetings. She noted that all Canadian ARLIS/NA members automatically belong to the Chapter, which was created through the passing of by-law amendments by the executive board in August 1996 and the approval by the entire membership in 1997. Some changes to the ARLIS/Canada mission statement were proposed, but it was decided to pursue further discussion on the CARLIS-L listserve to allow broader participation.
Representatives from three local chapters (Northwest, Ontario, Montreal-Ottawa-Quebec) also gave brief reports of their activities. The MOQ Chapter, celebrating its tenth anniversary, announced the availability of its "Guide to in-house indexes of Canadian art, architecture and design literature in Canadian libraries" as a special issue of the MOQ/DOC bulletin. ARLIS/Ontario is compiling a directory of member libraries and collections including parallel galleries, which may become a web site; while Northwest Chapter members are starting to explore potential tours and activities for the 1999 annual conference.
Two possible affiliations with compatible Canadian groups were presented: one being the Canadian Association of Music Libraries and the other the Universities Art Association of Canada. Exchanges of information with both will continue before firm proposals are considered. In this vein, Mary Williamson is convening a session on the history of the book as the joint ARLIS/NA-CAA contribution to the 1998 CAA conference in Toronto. This type of joint programming might be considered with other associations.
Shelley Sweeney, archivist at the University of Regina, commented on a possible inventory of Canadian artists' archives and offered advice on how the project might be tackled. Members were eager to re-launch this initiative, which foundered several years ago through lack of technical and financial support. A web site linking to existing finding aids and archives may be the solution.
The meeting closed with a discussion on the state of Canadian art libraries, particularly the erosion of services and collections caused by under funding, staff cuts and library closures. ARLIS/Canada provides Canadians with a voice in fighting this trend and the possibility of forming strategic alliances with groups such as the Conference of Fine Art Deans. Undertaking a formal survey of art libraries was judged too cumbersome, but members were encouraged to report their concerns to the Chapter executive which could then propose an action plan.
Vancouver Public Library