Advocacy & Public Policy Committee News Alerts


This policy sets forth guidelines for ARLIS/NA’s advocacy activities on behalf of art libraries and visual resources collections on both the national and international level. Also included are procedures for determining when and to what extent ARLIS/NA should become involved. The goal of ARLIS/NA’s advocacy is to raise awareness about topics that affect art information professionals and encourage advocacy in support of libraries and visual arts.

Advocacy Topics

Although the ARLIS/NA membership represents a diverse community, as art information professionals they share the core values of the Society:

  • ARLIS/NA believes that lives are enriched by engagement with the visual arts, design, and
    cultural heritage.
  • ARLIS/NA believes that art information professionals are uniquely equipped to serve the art
    information needs of a broad audience for education, scholarship, and artistic practice.
  • ARLIS/NA believes that diversity and inclusion in all aspects of the profession strengthens the
    practice of art librarianship, and enriches library collections and user experiences.

ARLIS/NA’s advocacy interests focus on issues that relate to visual arts, design, and cultural heritage:

  • Funding
  • Art and social justice
  • Intellectual freedom and access to information
  • Intellectual property rights and image rights
  • Higher education
  • Cultural institutions
  • Workplace conditions of ARLIS/NA members

ARLIS/NA may expand advocacy efforts to include other topics of interest to the membership, such as net neutrality and open access. Any such changes require the approval of the Executive Board. ARLIS/NA does not single out individual institutions but rather focuses advocacy efforts on specific issues.

ARLIS/NA Involvement

The Advocacy and Public Policy Committee regularly monitors topics and issues affecting art libraries and visual resources collections. The Committee advises the Executive Board and the membership on governmental activities and social justice issues affecting the professional interests of ARLIS/NA and the fulfillment of its mission. The Committee drafts position statements on legislative issues consistent with ARLIS/NA's interests for review and action by the Executive Board; reports topics and issues affecting the profession in the monthly News Alerts and on ARLIS-L; collects and reviews information about policies concerning the interests of the Society and recommends appropriate action; liaises with other library and information societies as appropriate, monitoring their activities and reports; and educates the membership on these issues.

ARLIS/NA may choose to be involved in advocacy efforts in several key ways:

  • Direct endorsement and support
  • Writing position statements and letters
  • Communicating with media outlets and on social media platforms
  • Meeting with government officials to discuss policy issues
  • Developing collaborative relationships with other arts and information organizations to further the goals of art information professionals
  • Encouraging advocacy and action of the membership

When considering engagement in advocacy developments, ARLIS/NA will consider the issue, impact on members and their institutions and available resources. Individual members may not speak on behalf of ARLIS/NA unless authorized to do so by the Executive Board. Members may recommend that ARLIS/NA take action on an issue by contacting the Executive Board. After an issue or concern is raised, the Board may ask for additional information, assessment, and recommendations from the Advocacy and Public Policy Committee, related professional associations, or experts on the specific topic or issue. The Executive Board will determine whether ARLIS/NA should respond as an organization. Individual members may engage in advocacy activities at their discretion but may not imply that they are representatives of ARLIS/NA. Chapters, committees and special interest groups may raise awareness of issues within their membership.

ARLIS/NA posts position statements and advocacy and public policy news alerts on the society's web site, social media channels, and organization listserv to encourage effective advocacy on the part of members and affiliated organizations.