Published 2/12/15

Beth MorrisAssistant Librarian, Yale Center for British Art Reference Library and Archives

When I first discovered ARLIS/NA as a graduate student in the School of Information and Library Science at UNC-Chapel Hill, I felt somewhere between disbelief and elation: an entire society dedicated to art librarianship?!? How incredible! I first participated locally within my school’s division and then quickly joined ARLIS/NA before graduating my program in 2010. I found the list-serv to be of exponential help and importance as I navigated through a new career, and I even found the listing for my current position posted there!

In the fall of 2011 I began my position as the assistant librarian at the Yale Center for British Art Reference Library and Archives, and due to the activity and involvement of ARLIS/NA members at Yale, I quickly became involved with the New York Chapter. I attended the chapter’s annual Holiday Party with a group of Yale colleagues and ended up meeting another UNC-Chapel Hill alum, Sarah Falls. Serendipitously, Sarah was chairing an advisory group to investigate virtual conferencing initiatives for the society and asked if I was interested in serving. I was so thrilled and honored! Sarah has since become a great role model, mentor, colleague, and friend to me, and I cannot express my gratitude for the opportunity to meet and work with such an incredible person in a variety of roles within ARLIS/NA.

The work we performed on the Virtual Conferencing Advisory Group in 2012 resulted in the creation of the Professional Development Committee’s Educational Technology Subcommittee, for which I have served as chair since its inception in fall 2013. As the chair, I am extremely proud of the work we have accomplished in less than 1 ½ years. With guidance and assistance from the executive board, we were able to select a learning management system, work with Conference Planning Committee members, TEI staff, and our vendor to capture selected conference sessions, and migrate all older virtual content into the new system. The greatest achievement, however, was the preparation and launch of the society’s main platform for virtual content: the ARLIS/NA Learning Portal. Since our initial launch in August 2014, we have released conference sessions from the 2014 Annual Conference, in addition to the migration of all existing webinars and lunchtime chats. This opportunity has also provided the group with the ability to work closely with TEI, mainly Robert Kopchinski, ARLIS/NA executive director, who is a complete superstar and takes care of ARLIS/NA in countless ways. His assistance in the launch of the ARLIS/NA Learning Portal was essential and I cannot thank him enough!

We continue to grow and expand the opportunities for learning, collaboration and content creation. We are extremely eager to share the 43rd Annual Conference sessions following this year’s conference in Fort Worth, Texas, later this spring, and I hope that each of you will take advantage of the content we have available for members, non-members and affiliates. To date, it is by far my greatest contribution to ARLIS/NA and I hope that the ARLIS/NA Learning Portal will continue to magnify in content with more conference sessions, course offerings, and collaborative endeavors.

Since becoming a member of ARLIS/NA in 2010, I have been able to attend each annual conference, serve on the Professional Development Committee, serve as chair of the Professional Development Committee’s Educational Technology Subcommittee, participate in the year-long Mentoring Program, write reviews for ARLIS/NA Reviews, and serve on the New York Chapter’s executive board as the Development Coordinator, Member-At-Large. It has been through each of these experiences that I have been able to develop a network of incredible, smart, kind and funny colleagues who always have interesting thoughts, ideas, and questions. Although attending the annual conference each year is a definite highlight for me, I find that being involved both locally and nationally at various levels provides me with opportunities for professional exchanges and development year-round. What more could an art librarian ask for?

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