Awardee Stories

Donations to ARLIS/NA have a direct impact on the careers of award recipients; past honorees attest to this. Contributions to awards are contributions to the future of the profession. If you would like to share your story, please contact the Development Committee.

The year I received the Internship Award (2001) was the first time it was awarded. The committee had worked so hard to get the award established and there was so much excitement about it - the experience gave me a strong sense that ARLIS/NA was an organization of people highly committed to the future of ARLIS/NA and art librarianship as a whole. The internship experience gave me excellent concrete experience to put on my resume. I also received mentoring from librarians at the University of Texas, Austin where my internship was hosted, as well as from members of the internship award committee. As someone new to the art library profession, it made a big impact. Through the ARLIS/NA members I encountered, I saw a very positive facet of the organization that I have tried to replicate throughout my career and through my ARLIS/NA activities. The whole experience inspired me to actively participate in the organization. I was subsequently asked to serve on the committee for the internship award, which gave me a foothold into ARLIS/NA. I learned how to network and became more confident in volunteering for ARLIS/NA projects. Later on, I was nominated to serve as an ARLIS/NA Executive Board member and currently serve as its President – so I think we can safely say this award really helped jump-start my dream career!

- Heather Gendron: Internship Award 2001, 2016 ARLIS/NA President

While having a peer-reviewed journal article and an invited talk at a national conference on my CV before graduation certainly made me a competitive candidate on the job market, I think the largest impact of the Gerd Muehsam award was the encouragement that I got to continue publishing as a professional. Receiving this award was my first introduction into scholarly publishing, and having the support of a committee and Judy as Art Doc editor while I went through the peer review and publishing process was the step I needed to realize that my work was worthy of publication. I never would have submitted my paper for publication, however I was eager to submit it for the award. Additionally, the overall impact of my article (e.g citations in recent papers) has driven me to continue my research in that area even though it may not be directly related to my daily librarian work (mainly because it is very theoretical in nature). I am able to justify spending time on research and publishing in these areas even though it is not a specific requirement of my job (although it is encouraged). Early on in my career I was able to make research/writing/publishing a priority and that has shaped my career trajectory in that I seek out more opportunities to dive into research topics that I think might be interesting for a wider audience. Since winning the Gerd Muehsam award, I have served on several committees in ARLIS, including chairing the Internship Award committee, as a direct result of receiving it.

- Jasmine Burns: Gerd Muehsam Award 2014

The Conference Travel Award allowed me to dive back into the national ARLIS community. I used it to attend the 2016 Seattle conference; the last ARLIS conference I attended before that was in 2008, when I was still in graduate school. I've attended every national conference since and will continue to prioritize ARLIS when planning professional development activities. I gave my very first conference presentation at the 2016 conference. It was a great experience, and also led to further collaborations with some amazing colleagues—a poster presentation at ACRL 2017, an article in Art Libraries Journal, and multiple presentations at this year's NYC conference. I can always count on meeting friendly, creative, and talented colleagues who are working on interesting projects. This has inspired me to keep growing in my own professional practice. Winning the Conference Travel Award also inspired me to give back! I joined the Travel Awards committee immediately after the 2016 conference and will be chairing it for the upcoming term.

- Ashley Peterson: Conference Travel Award 2016

I was fortunate enough to receive the Wolfgang M. Freitag Internship award in 2012 and to be hosted by the New York Art Resources Consortium, which is made up of the Brooklyn Museum Library, the Frick Art Reference Library, and the Museum of Modern Art Library. It was a whirlwind tour of cream of the crop museum librarianship! Working with NYARC was my first exposure to cross-institutional initiatives. It really opened my eyes to the many ways collaboration strengthens institutions and bolsters our reach. I was very impressed by the leadership at these libraries, all proved to be generous colleagues and their support further ensured that I would succeed on my path to art librarianship. My attendance at the ARLIS conference in Toronto introduced me to a wider circle of art librarians, and I realized that the supportive and collaborative nature of my New York colleagues extended to the entire ARLIS membership. By the time my internship concluded I had been introduced to the majority of art librarians in New York City, was involved in the planning of the Contemporary Artist’s Book Conference which takes place at the New York Art Book Fair every fall, and felt confident that I could contribute to the field.

- Lindsey Reynolds: Wolfgang M. Freitag Internship 2012  

The Internship Award allowed me to complete an internship in the Architecture Library at Roger Williams University. I was an architect prior to returning to school to earn a degree in library science. The Internship Award helped me gain experience as I transitioned between careers and contributed substantially to my eventually being hired as the Access Services Librarian at the university. After working at that position for two years, I had the opportunity to apply for the position of Architecture/Art Librarian. I was hired and have worked in that position from 2005 until the present.

- John Schlinke: Internship Award 2002

I think the most important impact of the Internship Award was giving me the confidence to focus on a career in art/architecture librarianship. I was concerned about narrowing my choices too much but getting the award made me realize that I was competitive and that, if I got more experience and got more involved, I would be able to find work in this field. The award allowed me to explore more closely work with special collections and confirmed that this was an area that I was very interested in pursuing. The experience I got had direct practical benefits that I was able to apply when I landed my first permanent position. I will always be grateful to all the staff at the Loeb Library because they took the time to mentor me; they were always open to my questions and were really encouraging.

- Mar González Palacios: Internship Award 2007

received the ARLIS/NA Internship Award when I was completing my MLIS coursework at UCLA. It served as a recognition of my potential as a librarian, which helped boost my confidence and conviction to pursue a career in the area of visual resources and digital libraries. My internship work involved reviewing social tags provided by online users for museum objects in LACMA’s digital collections. This gave me a good understanding of the importance of consistency in tagging/metadata for providing access to online digital objects, which was important when I embarked on my first professional position as Metadata Librarian at the University of Miami. As a result of the internship, I was able to gain an understanding and appreciation for how digital objects are described and managed in a museum environment and how this can vary from one cultural institution to another. The scope of my work has expanded considerably since receiving the award, especially in my current position, as head of the Digital Library Program at LMU where I am responsible for the strategic development and growth of Digital Collections, Digital Commons (Institutional Repository) and Digital Scholarship.

- Shilpa Rele: Internship Award 2008

I received the Gerd Muehsam Award the year I graduated from library school. I wrote the article with a few others about the Walters’ efforts to digitize the museum’s collection of medieval illuminated manuscripts. I was working full time for them doing digitization and metadata creation. Then after I graduated, I was hired to be the head of the library and archives; I think this project and winning this award had a direct impact on that. It allowed me to move up in my own institution, from a library tech position to a full librarian role. Beyond the impact on me personally, the award also worked to the institution’s advantage - it provided exposure to the project and their efforts towards providing free, open access to collections. The best part of the award is the chance to present; it really is a great opportunity for people coming into the field. When I saw the announcement, I thought it was fantastic, not only an award, but also presentation experience, a publication, and people helping you at the conference. All totaled, a large impact. It’s this little niche of librarianship and it is important when you are just starting out to meet the community and become a part of it. That year Kristin Regina and Maria Oldal took me out to dinner; I felt slightly intimidated being a new librarian out with two established professionals, but they asked me questions about my career goals, gave me all kinds of advice, and were really supportive. The professional connections are invaluable; ARLIS people in general are awesome.

- Diane Bockrath: Gerd Muehsam Award 2010