Advocacy and Public Policy Committee

Committee Charge

Charge: To advise 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. To support this function, the Committee shall: (1) monitor topics and issues affecting art libraries and visual resource collections, including art and activism, copyright and fair use, funding, image rights, intellectual freedom and open access, privacy, technology and workplace concerns; (2) draft position statements on legislative issues consistent with ARLIS/NA's interests for review and action by the Executive Board; (3) report topics and issues affecting the profession in the Society's publications; (4) collect and review information about policies concerning the interests of the Society and recommend appropriate action; (5) maintain liaison with other library and information societies as appropriate, monitor their activities and reports; (6) educate the membership on advocacy and public policy issues.

ARLIS/NA Position Statements

News Alerts

Advocacy and Public Policy News Alerts

Issues and Essential Links

Activism and Social Justice in the Arts

The APPC monitors issues related to art, activism and social justice in recognition of the important role the arts play in politics and social struggles. Activist art has a long history in the United States and throughout the world in addressing such social justice topics as human trafficking, colonialism, women’s rights, feminism, civil rights, environmental and anti-globalization movements, LGBTQ movements, antiwar movements, workers’ rights, equality, and immigration.


Copyright, Fair Use, Image Rights/Reuse

The APPC monitors changes in copyright and fair use law and practice. Copyright is an important issue for Art Libraries, it effects how we make our collections available, how we digitize our unique materials, and how we teach image use to artists, curators, and art historians. Fair Use, the legal but unauthorized use of copyrighted material is an important tool for libraries as outlined in the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Academic and Research Libraries, but also a key tool for artists and art information professionals as seen in the College Art Association (CAA) Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for the Visual Arts. ARLIS/NA members work between both worlds, and must be familiar with developments in copyright and fair use in both contexts. Image use and reuse is a key issue in the visual arts that is continuing to evolve. The APPC monitors developments in the practice and law of image availability, remix, and appropriation.


Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Accessibility

Inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility (IDEA) are core values of ARLIS/NA and are fundamentally important to strengthening our professional communities and carrying out the work of art librarianship. The APPC monitors developments in this broad area with a focus on news about the efforts of libraries to apply the values of IDEA in order to welcome and center historically marginalized people, voices, and narratives in their collections, programs, services, and staffing. The APPC relays this news with the aim of helping to foster anti-oppressive professional practices, in support of, and in collaboration with the work of the ARLIS/NA Diversity Committee.



Funding for libraries directly affects the quality of services, collections, and resources offered to the community. The APPC examines current events related to library funding with the goal of promoting awareness of opportunities as well as to spur advocacy for or against changes in funding practices. In addition, the committee monitors activities and policies that impact the visual arts, design, and cultural heritage programs so that art information professionals will be better equipped to serve the needs of a broad audience with interests in education, scholarship, and artistic practice.


Intellectual Freedom and Access to Information

Both the arts and libraries are frequent targets of censorship efforts. Whether it is offensive art being removed or attempts to ban books, art librarians have a duty to defend intellectual freedom and ensure users have access to information. Librarians are in a unique position to connect people with information making intellectual freedom, access to information, and censorship issues important to all librarians. The APPC aims to promote awareness of censorship risks and their effect on access to information.


Open Access

Open Access (OA) is the availability on the public internet of scholarly research without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the internet itself. The society's core values assert the worth of arts scholarship, the role of art information professionals to serve a broad audience, and the importance of inclusion. These values compel art librarians to engage the principles of the Open Access movement. The expense of scholarly subscriptions, exclusion. and lack of access created by high prices are significant concerns to art information professionals. We seek to reduce information inequality and increase access to information. To acknowledge these values, ARLIS/NA has openly available conference proceedings, news and events listings, art publication and multimedia reviews, professional development materials accessible through the Learning Portal, and many of its research and reports.



Privacy is an essential foundation of librarianship that enables patrons to use library resources and express themselves freely without fear of surveillance or negative consequences imposed by governments, corporations, or other entities. While privacy has long been an ethical imperative of librarians, digital technologies such as social media, data brokers, e-resources, and vendor-built library software all present new challenges to our ability to protect patron privacy. The APPC monitors topics related to privacy, how they intersect with library services, and the impact of privacy topics on communities that art libraries serve with an eye toward relevant breaking news, technological developments, policy changes, and possibilities for outreach.



This section presents articles related to technology, libraries, and the arts. Technologies—be they established, emerging, or speculative—broadly impact the services that art libraries offer their patrons. As libraries implement new digital tools and projects and adapt their services to an increasingly technology-driven world, it is important to carefully consider the relationship between these tools and the core values of librarianship. The APPC monitors a variety of technology issues, from net neutrality and big data to cutting-edge fields such as artificial intelligence and virtual reality. Because art libraries serve diverse constituencies, the APPC highlights the ethics, bias, and societal consequences of our digital tools. Technology is particularly important for art libraries, as many of the artists and students we serve incorporate new technology into their works.



Recognizing the importance of advocacy and policy in establishing the value of our contributions to our own workplaces, the APPC monitors issues related to and affecting art library, archive, and museum workers, such as salaries, pay equity, professionalization, internships, workers’ rights, recruitment, retention, promotion, leadership, and representation—as well as trends affecting the broader labor force. Where staffing issues intersect with the demographics of and underrepresented identities within the art librarianship, also see our Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Accessibility subcategory for related news and resources.


Affilliations and Related Organizations
Legislative Resources: United States
Legislative Resources: Canada

Advocacy & Public Policy Committee

  • Annie M Sollinger

    Annie M Sollinger

    MSIS, MA

    Visual Archivist


  • Petra Warren

    Associate Records Manager

    Committee Member

  • Stephanie Kays

    Stephanie Kays

    Fine Arts Librarian & Liaison for WGST

    Committee Member

  • Michele Jennings

    Michele Jennings

    Visiting Librarian/Archivist, Marian Library

    Committee Member

  • Torie Quinonez

    Arts and Humanities Librarian

    Committee Member

  • Michelle Riggs Waller

    Michelle Riggs Waller

    MLIS, CA

    Museum Collections Archivist & Instructional Liaison

    Committee Member

  • Kate Cooper

    Board Liaison