Museum Library Division Meeting
April 19, 2004 1-3 PM
Chair Eumie Imm-Stroukoff
Vice Chair/Chair Elect Hannah Bennett
Update Column Editor Lilah Mittelstaedt
ARLIS/NA Board visitors:
May Webster and Jean Brown, incoming President and Vice President of ARLIS/NA, dropped by to greet everyone and encourage members to fill out conference evaluation forms. They also encouraged members to submit ideas for 2005 conference sessions in Houston. Proposals are to be in by May 31st and budget requests sent to Treasurer, Lynda White. They also recommended that any ideas for revisions to the Strategic Plan be sent to the Strategic Planning Task Force. Finally they called attention to the revised ARLIS/NA website design, with its navigation and content changes.
Paul Glassman placed another request for new ideas for ARLIS/NA Occasional Papers. He can be reached at Hofstra University Library.
The subject of library policies and mission statements has not been expanded, to date, but the group will discuss standards for art librarianship by compiling information in the form of an “Art Museum Library Handbook.” (See “New Business”)
Many museum members sent in requests via our round-table e-mail that we hold a discussion about how libraries deal with “reference questions regarding patron’s object research,’ including provenance research. Since it’s a very typical example of questions asked by low to high level researchers, members sought for some standard way to direct patrons. Responses naturally differed depending on whether the object is one in the museum’s permanent collection or an object owned by the caller. It was stated that certain institutions offer appointments with a curator as part of membership benefits. Other libraries will refer patrons to auction houses, galleries, dealers and appraisers. In general, most first search Wilson Indexes, Knoedler, etc. Because we ran out of time, it was decided that at next year’s meeting we would revisit methods (or discuss an FAQ) to assist patrons with provenance research.
Members discussed at length, the need for an extended and thorough examination of electronic indices to which many art libraries subscribe. There were numerous opinions offered regarding the dependability of ArtFact, ArtNet, Art Sales Index, ArtPrice.com, AskArt, Gordon’s, etc., based on personal experiences. It was finally agreed that libraries with distinctive electronic resource librarians could effectively report on their experience and evaluations. The survey will be led by Suzanne Masson of the Frick Art Reference Library.
Joan Benedetti volunteered to head another committee to discuss creation of an “Art Museum Library Manual.” This idea evolved from last year’s Museum Library Roundtable discussion on the lack of published information on art librarianship. She will compile a committee to work on this topic.
Also brought up was Jack Robertson’s interest in having an electronic publication based on Michelle Turner’s survey of space and design issues in museum libraries.
Eumie thanked Hannah Bennett and Lilah Mittelstaedt for their work over the past year. An election was held for the upcoming year. The results of the election:
Hannah Bennett will be the Division Moderator; Naomi Niles will be the Co-Moderator/Moderator; and Stephanie Moyes will be the Update Column editor.
Submitted by Carol Rusk, Whitney Museum of Art