Co-moderators: Stephanie Sigala and Betsy Peck Learned
Abstract: Designed to bridge the gap between regional/local participation in ARLIS/NA and the Society1s annual conference, this session highlighted successful chapter activities and provided opportunities for the sharing of practical ideas for chapter management.
Four ARLIS/NA members provided information on significant chapter activities:
1. "BUILDING CHAPTER MEMBERSHIP" presented by Alexandra de Luise, Queens College.
Alexandra de Luise, former Chair of the ARLIS/New York Chapter, made recommendations for increasing chapter membership. The ARLIS/New York Chapter, began in 1973, is an extremely active chapter which enjoys a steady increase in membership. A seven point plan for increasing membership was provided:
1. Create a membership committee within the Chapter. This committee should sit in on local board meetings. Chapter bylaws will indicate the rules and regulations for initiating such an ad-hoc committee. A membership committee provides a formal way to recruit and retain members, publicize chapter activities, and even assist in fundraising activities.
2. Send out information packets about the chapter to all library schools in the area. These packets should contain a letter of welcome, information about chapter events, a copy of the newsletter, and appropriate documentation from ARLIS/NA.
3. Invite non-members at your institution to a chapter meeting. Many library assistants, or librarians employed in jobs somewhat related to art activities (book conservators/humanities) are potential ARLIS members. A letter of invitation to a local meeting, along with a membership form, is another way to increase membership.
4. Review annual printouts sent out by ARLIS/NA headquarters. Review these printouts with the chapter secretary and follow-up with those individuals that have not renewed their membership. A personal follow-up, such as a direct telephone call is a good way to re-connect with members. The NY Chapter has organized member "phone-a-thons" in the past to make sure all members renew.
5. Examine membership categories of your chapter to see which ones can be strengthened. Perhaps there are opportunities to increase student, retired, business affiliate memberships in your local area?
6. Find opportunities to meet with library science students and talk about the benefits of joining the chapter.
7. Compile lists of potential groups and associations in your area with similar interests. This could result in an opportunity to co-sponsor a meeting, or include information about your chapter in the other organization's mailing lists.
Once you begin a membership drive, it is equally important to retain your members. Four recommendations for maintaining membership were presented:
1. Listen to your members.
2. Hold meetings in interesting locations, at different times of the day, and at frequent intervals so that a large proportion of members can attend.
3. Serve as an advocate for your profession. ARLIS/NY, for example, stood as an advocate for art librarians during the recent Guggenheim Library crisis.
4. Have an excellent and frequent means of communication. Use the telephone, email, WWW, newsletters, and postcards as ways of keeping in touch with the membership.
2. "Chapter Fundraising" presented by Eumie Imm Stroukoff, Museum of Modern Art, ARLIS/New York.
Ms. Stroukoff outlined some of the successful fund raising projects organized by the New York Chapter. In order to develop a successful product, prior to any project the chapter's executive board needs to define its fund raising goals, the needs of its targeted audience (who will buy the product and how will they use it), and any initial startup costs. ARLIS/New York's goal was to develop a fund to help support the chapter's travel awards of $250 each, which are given to one professional and one student to attend the ARLIS/NA annual conference. Since the executive board decided they did not want to sell the product to the general public, the targeted audience was defined as the chapter's members. The executive board wanted to create a product that was useful and relatively low cost. After examining many alternatives such as t-shirts or notebooks, a portfolio was selected for the product since it would be useful for the chapter's members, many of whom are involved in research projects. A design firm created the product using a design supplied by Ms. Stroukoff. The product took about half a year to complete. In order to promote and market this item, the portfolios are currently being sold at local chapter meetings and are being promoted in the chapter newsletter. It was stressed to have one person as the contact person for sales. The chapter had to use approximately $300 of their own money to get the project off the ground and are happy to report that all of the original orders have been sold, resulting in a 3second edition2 order of 100 additional portfolios in a different color.
In addition, to the portfolio project, ARLIS/New York has also created a memorial fund to honor chapter members. This was seen as a fitting way to honor a retired chapter member or memorialize a departed colleague. This fund, which was established to honor George Simor, was inaugurated in December 1996 and has resulted in over $1000 for the chapter. The money will be used to help organize special events and programs for the chapter in addition to funding mentoring and recruiting receptions between ARLIS/NY and library school students in the NYC area. Ms. Stroukoff explained that the money is being kept in a time deposit CD and that the chapter treasurer needs to work closely with ARLIS/NA development committee to ensure there is no conflict of interest.
3. "Setting Up A Chapter Web Page" presented by Barbara Polowy, Smith College.
Ms. Polowy outlined her efforts in creating the web site for ARLIS/Western New York. The Western New York Chapter covers a wide geographic area with approximately 35-45 members. The Chapter is quite spread out, and therefore, meetings are limited to two per year. A web site is a great way to maintain communication and highlight activities of the Chapter. The major functions of the Chapter's web site are:
- Promotional: to attract new members, to increase awareness of Chapter activities, to provide announcements of meetings, to provide opportunities for electronic discussion, and to provide a direct link to the ARLIS/NA web site.
- Sharing information: particularly of chapter officers, election procedures, bylaws, committee members, and any awards the Chapter might have.
- Links: to member's institutional home pages and library catalogs as well as to to other art related sites.
Chapter publications have been made available through the chapter web site, saving duplicating and mailing costs to members who have access to the web. Ms. Polowy stressed before beginning a chapter web page, it is imperative that an individual and an institution are identified to maintain the web site.
4. "Managing a Regional Conference" presented by Mary Graham, Arizona State Museum.
Ms. Graham opened her presentation by stating that hosting a regional conference, while presenting a challenge to the members, also offers many opportunities for collaboration and motivates members to "get involved." The idea for a regional meeting came about because many western states have ARLIS members, but those members had no local chapter - such as Colorado. Ms. Graham saw a need to provide an opportunity to unify the western states and a regional conference was just the opportunity. The major concern in organizing a regional meeting is keeping the costs to a minimum. It is important to find organizations and institutions willing to provide meeting places and services at no cost. In the case of the western states, because of the large geographic area, it was decided that the meeting had to be held in a central location. The Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff graciously offered the use of the facility and that made the decision to hold the conference much easier. The program was developed around the theme of art resources of the west and a small conference planning team was formed. The planning process took about eight months and resulted in a well-attended conference and the creation of a new ARLIS/NA Chapter: Mountain West. The Conference, attended by 35 members, comprised of a welcome cocktail party, three major sessions, meals, and tours. Special funding was received through ARLIS/NA to help cover the cost of speaker honorarium. Good publicity was a key in the Conference's success. Many telephone calls, postings on emails, and special brochures were created, as well as direct personal telephone calls. The only unexpected expense of the Conference was for technology needs. It is important to consider if telephone lines and special arrangements need to be made to accommodate access to email and the internet.
University of Cincinnati