I was particularly pleased to be asked to present this award. Elmar Seibel and I have known each other for almost 15 years, and I think that I know him pretty well, but I am constantly learning about facets of his life which are new to me.
All of you know Elmar as the owner of Ars Libri and the sponsor of the justly famous Ars Libri receptions which are a staple and a focal point of ARLIS conferences. All of the Ars Libri parties have been memorable, but I will always remember the one given in Phoenix where we received a healthy-sized margarita on the way in and were greeted by a particularly festive band. By the end of the evening I think every art librarian there was on the dance floor having the time of his or her life!
But these parties don't just happen -- they are meticulously planned and a great deal of thought goes into them. Why does this happen? We would be satisfied by a more moderate reception, but Elmar wouldn't be satisfied. He wouldn't be satisfied because it wouldn't be the best that could be done and that is really why we're honoring Elmar tonight, because he gives his best in every endeavor.
Elmar gives a great deal. He donates his time and energy in myriad ways. By serving on the board of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and on the Opera; by giving infinite care to the raising of his son; by caring about books and serving the needs of many art libraries. I (and I hope many of us) go to Elmar not just for books, but for advice, which is for us the most important thing that Elmar gives us.
Tonight we are giving a little bit back to Elmar and it is my great privilege and honor to present on behalf of the Art Libraries Society of North America an Honorary Life Membership to Elmar Seibel.
National Gallery of Art