It was while working as a library assistant at the National Gallery of Canada in the early 1990s when I first heard of ARLIS. My supervisor at the time, Peter Trepanier, recommended I join ARLIS to have a better understanding of the art library community at large. I became a member of the local chapter of the association (now ARLIS/NA MOQ) after I enrolled in library school at McGill University in the mid-1990s. It was also while I was a student that I attended my first ARLIS annual conference, as a volunteer, when it was held in Montreal in 1995--thanks in large part to Marilyn Berger, who was co-chair of the conference and my immediate supervisor at McGill University’s Blackader-Lauterman Library of Architecture and Art.
I have been active on ARLIS committees on the local level over the years, and became a member of ARLIS/NA when I joined the MOQ executive committee in the 2000s. I enjoy memberships with several professional associations including the Corporation des bibliothécaires professionnels du Québec, the Regroupement des artistes en arts visuels and the International Society of Appraisers, but my memberships to ARLIS at the local and international levels have been among the most rewarding.
As someone who manages an independent, contemporary art library focusing on Canadian art, I have benefitted greatly from the knowledge and experience-sharing network that ARLIS offers to its members. Despite the differences in mandate, size and resources that distinguish one organization from the next, we are all likely asking ourselves the same questions. How do we enhance our clients’ library experience? How can we improve access while continuing to preserve our collections for the future? How can we best adapt to the ever-changing environments in which we find ourselves?