Moderator/Update column editor
phone: 718 / 515-0420
At the Division business meeting at the Pittsburgh annual conference Jeffrey Stephens was elected for a second year as Moderator/Update column editor. A new Moderator will be elected at the Los Angeles conference.
Division member attendance at the conference was at its highest level in the last five years. Fifteen members attended both the business and discussion groups--this included several new members of ARLIS/NA and previous members attending their first conference. For a Division numbering around 45 members this was a good turnout.
At the business meeting members discussed points of the new Strategic Plan still pertinent to the Division. These are the need to increase public librarian conference attendance in order to further their professional development, increase membership, and work more closely with academic, museum and design libraries on sharing information about resources and collection development.
There was lively discussion regarding the difficulty public librarians had in attending conferences. Many members said they received very little institutional funding and were dependent on using their personal funds. The possibility of a travel award for a public librarian was discussed but it was not determined how this award should be funded. It would most likely have to be funded by an independent source. As a first step members agreed that an informal survey about conference funding for public librarians should be sent out over ARLIS-L.
Finally, members discussed proposals for the Los Angeles conference. These included ideas for a public library tour, how art libraries must serve patrons of varying age and education levels, and how libraries can share access to vertical files or bibliographies on art topics that have been generated by librarians but not publicized outside the library.
There was lively participation at the discussion group on topics of public library budgets, lack of space for collections, collection development, CD-ROM and online art resources, and the ever popular patrons-from-hell. Members agreed that this discussion group was an important forum for members to share their perspectives on public art librarianship and hoped that it could continue at the annual conferences.
The Division co-sponsored two sessions which covered issues of interest to public librarians: "Access to Access: Library Building Accessibility", and "From Collaboration to Consortia: Developing Partnerships."
Over the summer a survey was sent to Division members over ARLIS-L concerning travel funding and conference attendance. Results were published in the December 2000 Update. The response to the survey was disappointing as only 12 members replied. To summarize briefly only a few of the respondents had attended several conferences, with the majority having attended only one.
Reasons had mostly to do with funding; full funding was non-existent, some only had registration paid, some were on a per diem expense account, and all had to expend personal funds to attend the conference. Respondents stated that it was very difficult making the decision to attend a conference as they had to weigh the expense versus what they would achieve in professional development by attending. Most members feel that conferences do enrich their professional development and would like to attend more conferences but are unable to do so because of the expense.
For the future as a Division, more work needs to be done on keeping members in touch with one another during the course of the year to discuss issues and proposals. The Division also needs to be more active in proposals for conference sessions. I think more attention should be paid by all the Divisions to finding that common ground among all members that would knit the society more closely together. It often seems that all the Divisions and Committees are functioning in their own little worlds and there is little contact across the various groups.