ArLiSNAP needs to change.
While the organization’s current information stream about job postings and helpful hints is functional and useful, there is also a lot more we can be doing as an ARLIS significant interest group. In the past two years that I’ve served as a co-coordinator, we have received almost one hundred new ARLIS members who are interested in the group. This is a tremendous number.
And I think we all deserve to make our group more…activated and more representative of our education, backgrounds, locales, and personal histories. Young professionals and students are the very definition of the avant-garde–we are the next wave of understanding, implementation, discussion, and innovation for information professionals in the art library, museum, and academic spheres.
We are all busy. We are all probably all tired. But communities like ours function best with the input of a chorus. To that end, I feel we should not have just two coordinators, but a team of dedicated, focused individuals providing viewpoints, information, resources, and opportunities that address the fuller professional and academic spectrum represented by our membership.
Normally at this time of year, we request for candidates to step up and take on a two-year term of co-coordinatorship. I propose that instead, this year, we not only elect a new co-coordinator, but also establish positions like the following:
- a student liaison that interacts with representatives from different student library groups across the US and Canada, then reporting important resolutions, accomplishments, and developments
- a professional liaison that interacts with representatives from different regional ARLIS factions to highlight how students and young professionals can become involved on a more local level
- an opportunities coordinator that focuses on pushing job postings, educational information (webinars, symposia, etc.) to our different venues on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and the blog
- a small team of dedicated “issues” bloggers that contribute original content to our blog in the form of topical analysis relevant to the field of art librarianship
- an advisory council comprised of former coordinators and interested professionals/scholars that can mentor the group’s leadership and contribute their voices to discussions
These are but a few suggestions–nothing is decided and nor will it be without an open discussion with the group’s members. I feel that while we have made significant progress in the past year in terms of membership numbers and blog traffic, there are still gaps that I couldn’t bridge as coordinator. The lives of students and young professionals are often overwhelmingly full. I found myself frequently frustrated by the lack of time I had to devote to creating more dynamic content for our group. It seems to me that having a stronger community of producers all devoted to a common cause will ease the burden of the coordinators by diffusing the workload. More importantly though, a diversity of voices can only increase the vitality of discussion amongst our members.
Now, more than ever, we need to ask questions and look to each other for help. We need to take advantage of our strengths, our experiences, and our intelligence in order to make the important issues of our membership impossible to ignore.
Let’s start a conversation. Let’s talk about what we want ArLiSNAP to do for us as a community. Let’s talk about the future.
I hope you will all chime in with opinions and suggestions. I look forward to moving forward.
Rosemary K. J. Davis