ARLIS/NA Statement on Immigration and International Collaboration

Posted By: Lyndsay Bratton Statements/Press Releases,

OAK CREEK, WI March 16, 2017 – On the heels of the U.S. presidential election, the ARLIS/NA Executive Board affirmed the Society’s commitment to diversity and inclusion (link). The Board now wishes to communicate to the ARLIS/NA community and its affiliates our strong opposition to the recent policies of the Trump Administration that run counter to the Core Values and Strategic Directions of the Society that promote an innovative, agile, and forward-looking Society and profession (link).

As an international organization, ARLIS/NA is committed to diversity and inclusion within the art, design, and librarianship professions and has the stated goal to foster “the development of intercultural fluency skills and competencies, and the practice of inclusive collections building.” ARLIS/NA actively seeks collaborative relationships with other arts and information organizations to further the goals of art information professionals. Recent examples of international collaboration include:

  • ARLIS/NA has sixteen affiliated organizations representing nineteen countries (link). In June 2016, ARLIS/NA welcomed its newest affiliated organization, The Art Library Network of Rio de Janeiro (REDARTE/RJ). Founded in 1995, the association has grown to include 34 member institutions. The main objective of REDARTE is to expand access, for art researchers and the general public, to the significant number of specialized collections of arts information located in the region as well as to promote professional development among its members.
  • The ARLIS/NA Texas-Mexico chapter held its conference in Mexico City from October 12-15, 2016 to strengthen the practice of art librarianship through diversity and inclusion and encourage communication between colleagues.
  • The ARLIS/NA International Relations Committee (IRC) works to pursue partnerships with librarians and institutions outside of North America in a collaborative effort to support the Society as the leading organization in the arts information field. The IRC actively encourages inclusiveness, collaboration, diversity, and a multiplicity of viewpoints and perspectives for the Society by implementing annual international study tours (link).
  • Thanks to the generosity of The Getty Foundation and the Kress Foundation, ARLIS/NA has received grants to support travel for Latin American and Central and Eastern European art information professionals together with ARLIS/NA members to share knowledge and expertise. In 2016, the Getty grant sponsored 20 international colleagues to attend the ARLIS/NA conference in Seattle, and in 2017, the Kress grant sponsored 5 international colleagues to attend the ARLIS/NA conference in New Orleans, and 1 U.S. colleague to attend a conference in London.

In contrast to the goals and objectives of ARLIS/NA members, Executive Order 13767, titled Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements directs a wall to be built along the Mexico–United States border (link). Moreover, this week President Trump is expected to unveil a new immigration executive order that will restrict travelers from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States (link).

 The ARLIS/NA Executive Board condemns these presidential executive orders aimed at limiting the movement of ARLIS/NA members and the broader community of arts professionals. Such restrictions will be detrimental to the free and open exchange of information that lies at the heart of librarianship, scholarship and education and “stifles creative and intellectual work in addition to its very real impact on peoples’ daily lives” (link). The ARLIS/NA Executive Board opposes the immigration ban and “any actions that limit free access to information, undermine privacy, or discriminate on any basis” (link).

About the Art Libraries Society of North America

Founded in 1972, the Art Libraries Society of North America is a dynamic, international organization of more than 1,000 individuals devoted to fostering excellence in art and design librarianship and image management in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. The membership includes architecture and art librarians, visual resources professionals, artists, curators, educators, publishers, students, and others interested in visual arts information. To serve this diverse constituency, the Society provides a wide range of programs and services within an organizational structure that encourages participation at all levels.

Lyndsay Bratton, ARLIS/NA Media Editor
Telephone: (860) 439-2729
For more information visit

Press Release