Published 1/5/15

Valmestad

Art Librarian (Full), Architecture/Fine Arts Library, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada

I first became aware of ARLIS/NA way back in 1991/92 when I was a library science student at the University of Western Ontario, now known as Western University. A professor there told me about ARLIS/NA, as she knew I had a M.A. in art history and had worked in an art library. Whenever I could, I related my assignments to art librarianship and my bibles soon became Art Information: Research Methods and Resources by Lois Swan Jones and Facilities Standards for Art Libraries and Visual Resources Collections, by B.J. Irvine. Imagine my thrill when I finally met these incredible art librarians in person in my ARLIS/NA future, then still unbeknownst to me! In fact, the ARLIS/NA listserv deserves 100% credit for where I am today because it is where I saw my present position advertised!

I became a member of ARLIS/NA when I began working as an Art Librarian at the University of Manitoba in 1997 and two months later attended my first ARLIS conference in the wonderful city of San Antonio. Dancing under the stars to a mariachi band at our outdoor welcome party (while Winnipeg was enjoying a spring blizzard), I felt that I had found my people and felt at home and made new friendships which I still value today!

Fresh blood was soon smelled and I was asked to be Prairie regional representative and secretary treasurer, ARLIS/NA Canada Chapter, and co-moderator for the Reference and Information Services Section (RISS). The following year I became RISS moderator and webmaster and later served on the Professional Award Committee, the Gerd Muesham Award Committee for 5 years, the Core Web Site Task Force, the Nominating Committee twice and the Canadian representative for ARTBibliographies Modern. From 2008-10, I got a view of the inside-workings of ARLIS/NA when I became the president of the ARLIS/NA Canada Chapter, chair of the Melva Dwyer Award and Canadian representative on the executive board. In this capacity I was also executive board liaison to the Public Policy Committee and the International Relations Committee. Highlights include mid-year board meetings held at the Metropolitan Museum two years in a row, (bonus!), vetting and hiring TEI Enterprises our conference and management team, and realizing the concerns of my constituents by establishing free membership registration for the French translator of the ARLIS/Canada documents. A personal highlight was the publication of my article on QR codes and public art, which to my delight is still the most downloaded article in Art Documentation. Furthermore, all of these ARLIS/NA endeavours, some with an international profile, have helped me to fulfill the "Service" requirements for my promotion to full librarian.

Besides invaluable professional development, the conferences have been a fantastic opportunity for going on unique tours and visiting libraries, galleries and museums in cities across Canada and the United States. Also, the last couple of years I have been able to go on a couple of amazing study trips organized by the International Relations Committee. These include visits to Berlin, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Budapest, Brno and Vienna. In addition to very successful symposiums and networking with our international colleagues, we visited many state museums, galleries, and libraries, and while there are too many to list, some highlights include the Puskin, Hermitage, St. Basil's Cathedral, the Catherine Palace, the Mies van der Rohe designed Tugenhat House in Brno, the Zaha Hadid Library at the Vienna School of Business and Economics, the behind the scenes automated vault system at the Albertine Museum, and the opulent and fantastic architecture and Art Nouveau Villas of Budapest. These trips have informed me both as an art historian and art librarian and I frequently draw on them for my research lectures for the School of Art and the Faculty of Architecture.

For me, ARLIS/NA means, friendship, collegiality, support, and mentorship. It is definitely my professional home and I am so lucky to be part of such a great organization.

[Editor's note: Go to the "What Our Members Are Saying" page to hear from other ARLIS/NA members.]