The ArLiSNAP (Art Library Students and New ARLIS Professionals) and VREPS (Visual Resources Emerging Professionals and Students) 2019 Fall Virtual Conference: Accessing the Arts: Trends, Innovations, and Challenges for the Information Professional is just around the corner and we could not be more excited to introduce our presenters for this year’s event.
As a quick refresher, this year’s theme is access because as information professionals, we are charged not only with stewarding our collections, but with fostering meaningful connections for our constituents, providing access in physical and virtual spaces as diverse as our collections and our roles within them.
You do not need to be a member of ARLIS/NA or VREPS to register.
Without further ado, let’s meet our presenters!
Anna Boutin-Cooper (she/her/hers) is the Research & Visual Arts Librarian at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, PA. She is the liaison to Art & Art History, Theatre & Dance, and Film & Media Studies, and is the curator of both the zine and artists’ book collection at the College. When not at work, she can be found fulfilling some well-known librarian stereotypes – knitting and hanging out with her cats, Beatrice & Louis.
E Marcovitz (they/them/theirs) is a senior Sociology and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies double major at Franklin & Marshall College. This summer they worked on the zine cataloging project on campus, in addition to their jobs in Lancaster nannying and gardening. When not completing coursework, they can be found going for walks, doing jigsaw puzzles, and making zines.
Anna and E’s presentation is entitled One Summer, Two People, & a Zine Backlog: a How-To for New Catalogers.
Jackie Fleming (she/her/hers) graduated from Bradley University in 2017 with her BA in English with a Creative Writing concentration and a minor in Women and Gender Studies. She then attended graduate school at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. While attending the iSchool program, she worked as a Graduate Assistant at the Ricker Library of Architecture and Art. She graduated in 2019 with an MSLIS in Library and Information Science and a Graduate Minor in Art History. Jackie now works as the Visual Literacy and Resources Library in the Scholars’ Commons of the Herman B. Wells Library at Indiana University-Bloomington. Her research interests include: visual literacy instruction, visual communication, art history, and studio art.
Jackie’s presentation is entitled Education Before Access: Why Every Art Librarian Should Have Basic Knowledge of Copyright Law and Legal Issues Related to Their Collections.
Ann McShane (she/they) is the Digital Collections Archivist at the Library Company of Philadelphia and the Digital Resources Coordinator for the Redrawing History project. Ann holds a B.A. in History from Earlham College, a Masters in Archival Studies from Clayton State University, and is a Certified Archivist through the Academy of Certified Archivists.
Will Fenton (he/him/his) is the Director of Scholarly Innovation at the Library Company of Philadelphia and the Creative Director of Redrawing History: Indigenous Perspectives on Colonial America (funded by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage). He earned his Ph.D. from Fordham University in August 2018 (Department of English).
Ann and Will’s presentation is entitled Redrawing History: Innovation through Artistic Reinterpretation. Ann will be presenting on behalf of herself and Will.
ArLiSNAP (Art Library Students and New ARLIS Professionals) and VREPS (Visual Resources Emerging Professionals and Students) are pleased to announce our 2019 Fall Virtual Conference.
The conference will take place at 1-3PM CST October 26, 2019.
Accessing the Arts: Trends, Innovations, and Challenges for the Information Professional
As information professionals, we are charged not only with stewarding our collections, but with fostering meaningful connections for our constituents. As such, providing access in physical and virtual spaces as diverse as our collections and our roles within them.
Our webinar will include three presentations which will be followed by a time for Q&A between our presenters and conference attendees.
Our presenters will be:
Anna Boutin-Cooper and E Marcovitz, Franklin & Marshall College
One Summer, Two People, & a Zine Backlog: a How-To for New Catalogers
Jackie Fleming, Indiana University
Education Before Access: Why Every Art Librarian Should Have Basic Knowledge of Copyright Law and Legal Issues Related to Their Collections
Will Fenton and Ann McShane, The Library Company of Philadelphia
Redrawing History: Innovation through Artistic Reinterpretation
Hilary Wang and Lauren Haperstock, ArLiSNAP Conference Planning Liaisons and Masters of Library and Information Science students at Pratt Institute and University of Arizona respectively, will moderate the discussion
Hey there, ArLiSNAP blog readers! It’s been a minute since we had a feature blog post so I thought I’d drum something up for you. Today I wanted to talk about my first experience publishing an article (which is forthcoming). I wrote this a few weeks ago, but put off posting it so as not to jinx anything with my own publication. However, I recently saw the proof (!!!), which means it’s really happening! So I decided to go ahead and post. Additionally, this very timely essay by Kathryn Rudy was recently published on The True Costs of Researching and Publishing for art historians, so I hope that in coordination with that piece, this post can offer some information that might be helpful. Publishing is intimidating, and, as it turns out, can be highly expensive. It’s good to be in the know regarding the components that go into it.
As a new professional, I’ve wanted to do research for awhile. I worked in a public library and then a community college library, both while teaching art history as an adjunct. In the latter position, I also started/completed library school, worked as a graduate teaching assistant, and had a baby. Needless to say, I wasn’t given time in my community college position explicitly to do research, and it wasn’t in my job description either. I was BUSY, and research was something I missed from graduate school, but something that seemed, well, out of reach for the moment. When I was hired into my first tenure track (TT) position, I was excited that research would be part of my job requirements; however, the type of job I had didn’t really line up with my actual research interests, nor did I receive release time in which to do research. If I wanted to research in my subject area of expertise, I was definitely gonna have to do it in my personal time. I’m getting to the point, I swear!
Now, in my current position, I’m not only required as part of my tenure requirements to publish and present on research topics, as well as perform service for the profession, I’m given time to do so. As I write this now, I’m taking time from my daily librarian duties to serve my art librarian community. This is part of my job. I am given time to do this. I am one of the lucky ones. Many of those who are in TT positions don’t have this kind of dedicated research and service time. That being said, deciding WHAT and HOW and WHERE to publish is super daunting to the new professional. So where to start?
In my case, I decided to start with something relatively finished. A few years ago, I adapted one of the chapters of my master’s thesis to give a talk an art conference. I decided that I could take some time to adapt what was already a written article into a more polished version and submit it somewhere. I found a journal that aligned exactly with my research focus. I edited my paper, had some folks take a look at it, read the guidelines on the journal website, took a deep breath, and hit send on the sucker.
One hour later…
I received an email telling me that in the UPCOMING ISSUE, there was an article coming out on the EXACT ARTIST and related subject area, so that they would read mine, but likely wouldn’t publish it in their next run, since it was so similar.
Full disclosure, I cried. Like ugly cried.
Listen. Being hired into a TT position at a Research 1 (R1) university as a subject area expert (aka my dream job) was exhilarating! And a big confidence boost. That doesn’t mean that I’m not new at this stuff and that I don’t feel vulnerable and scared sometimes. There is a lot of pressure on all of us to do what we do well. Honestly, I’ve been told that publishing an article in a peer-reviewed journal your first year on the job is really not that usual, and that it’s ok if I don’t. But here I was, holding on to a COMPLETELY WRITTEN article…how could I not find someone to publish this? More importantly, why hadn’t I acted faster, so this journal would have read mine first instead of the other author’s? (Sidenote: I’ve since read the other article, which is quite different than mine, but offered some great insights. I actually used some of it in my revised article later on so…silver linings).
So, I pulled down the shades in my office, had a good cry, tried to pull them back up again, couldn’t, had to ask for help from a student worker, and then went to a meeting, where I promptly spoke of my woes and received a lot of encouragement from my colleagues. I am nothing if not a verbal processor.
The next day, I looked at other journal options. I emailed the person who had given me a no and asked to withdraw my article. I found a journal published by an association I’m familiar with and resubmitted it there. In order to do this I had to: edit it again, reformat to meet the requirements for that particular journal, and move my images from within the article to a separate document.
Much to my overwhelming surprise, the editor got back to me quickly and let me know that they thought it would be a good fit, and that they would send it on to the peer-reviewers, which could be a lengthy process (in the humanities especially, they have to find reviewers that are not only subject area experts, but also specialists in the particular era you’re researching). Within about a month, which I’m told is MUCH faster than usual, the reviewers sent back my article with the recommendation to publish contingent on pretty substantial revisions. I was given about a month and a half to complete the revisions (should I choose to at that point…sometimes writers will look at reviewer comments and decide to withdraw their article if they feel they just need to redo and resubmit or think perhaps it’s just a better fit elsewhere). I accepted the charge though and decided to revise.
OK. I was elated. I am elated. Imposter syndrome is such a real thing, right? And not only am I super new at this: my job, professional research, publishing, all of it, but I also only have a master’s degree. Therefore, to me, publishing in my subject of interest felt out of reach, even as I was trying to do it. But in the words of one of my art history colleagues, I had to “just put it out there. See what happens.”
When I finally had time, I sat down and looked over the reviewers’ comments in even more detail. Panic ensued. Imposter syndrome struck again. How the hell was I going to address all of these things in a month and a half?? After verbally processing my feelings with probably ten people (I’m not kidding, I do this when I’m making a big purchase, too, which in my world is anything over $50), I printed out the comments and made a list. I made a list of the comments I could look into and/or change quickly, and the feedback that would take more thinking to approach. I tackled the ones I could do quickly. Got them done, patted myself on the back, and then got to work on the big stuff. I sent it back in.
The article was returned from the editor with heavy edits (I wrote the bulk of this as a grad student, I totally expected heavy editing), some comments to respond to, and the charge of obtaining permissions and high quality reproductions for all the works I planned to include with the article.
Enter panic again.
I had never gotten rights to images. I have no money. I thought we were good, people! This artist’s work is all in the public domain! Buttttt, to publish in print, images need to be 300 dpi. There are some images in the public domain that are high resolution and can be sized up, but high res images for the works owned by museums, well, you have to go to the museum to get those. And they all have different ways of handling their visual resources. Thankfully, a number of museums, like the National Gallery of Art (D.C.), have made reproductions of public domain works in their collection open access. For at least one painting, I was able to download a print quality high res image with language regarding attribution and rights, straight from their website. Others are often handled through reproduction requests, which, for public domain works, are sometimes free. I did have to pay out of pocket for a few, but those were reproductions handled by a private French agency and their U.S. counterpart. To be totally transparent, I paid around $200 for the rights to publish four images. Some journals, such as The Metropolitan Museum Journal, have begun to pay this cost for authors; however, I don’t think this is common, and in the case of smaller journals, they simply don’t have the budget for it.
Basically I’m here to tell you: if you are writing an article that requires reproductions of specific works of art, in the public domain or not, AS SOON as your article is recommended for publication, start figuring out what your options are. It takes time and I had to do some scrambling, which didn’t help my first-time author nerves.
After all of that, my final revised article, along with the images and required attribution information, has been submitted to the journal’s editor. It went through copy editing, and then to the designer, and then I was shown a proof of the way the pages will be laid out with the image reproductions to look over. I had one last chance to note any typos or mistakes and then give my approval, which I have now done. Woohoo!
It’s important to me that I record how I feel as I navigate these types of transactions. And as a new academic, who is also a socialized (and identified cis-gendered white) woman, it is important to me that as I learn, others do too. There is no reason for the process through which we research and publish to be opaque, but it often is. Each journal will have a different set of requirements and timeline. For instance, another colleague of mine submitted an article several months ago that was sent to readers, and they haven’t heard back at all. An experience like that is within the range of typical. Like anything else, once you’re doing it, it will begin to feel normal. That hasn’t quite happened for me yet, but going through the process has helped me understand that publishing is an attainable goal in my life.
I hope this blog post provides some needed encouragement or empathy with whatever you’re going through. I seriously cannot wait until I get to see an article that I wrote (even though I still want to change things about it) in print and in my hands. It just feels like a pipe dream. BUT! It’s really happening and it will for you too. Godspeed, friends!
ArLiSNAP and the Visual Resource Association’s Emerging Professionals and Students group (VREPS) welcome proposals from students and new professionals with an interest in art librarianship or visual resources management to present their work at our 2019 Virtual Conference.
Accessing the Arts: Trends, Innovations, and Challenges for the Information Professional
As information professionals, we are charged not only with stewarding our collections, but with fostering meaningful connections for our constituents. As such, we provide access in physical and virtual spaces as diverse as our collections and our roles within them. Whether we are creating metadata, altering policy, working with our communities and/or underserved populations, or evaluating a content management system, we are tasked with pushing against systemic barriers to access or protecting sensitive materials from inappropriate access. In arts contexts, how do we consider access within the paradigms of copyright, privacy, cultural protocols, and other issues?
We invite presentation proposals that share research and projects highlighting access in art libraries and visual resource collections for our annual virtual conference, which is an opportunity for emerging professionals to present in a supportive and engaging space while connecting with other students and early career information professionals across North America. Proposals are open to individual presenters and co-presenters. Presentations are expected to last approximately 20 to 30 minutes.
The virtual conference will take place on Saturday, October 26th at 1:00 PM CST.
Caitlin poses next to a display case in “Koyama and Friends,” an exhibition curated by her at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum in 2018. Photo provided by Caitlin McGurk.
Hey Caitlin!!! So excited to have you on the ArLiSNAP Blog this week. What you do is a little different than your general art librarian position at an academic institution. Could you tell us a little bit about your background and how you got to where you are now?
Absolutely! The full answer is a really, really long story, but I’ll do my best to summarize. I’ve had a passion for pop-culture and comics for most of my life, and started making my own mini-comics and zines in my late teens/early 20s as an undergraduate student at CW Post (Long Island University). I was getting my degree in English with a focus on Creative Writing, and had no idea what I wanted to do with my life after that. At the time, one of the many part-time jobs I was juggling was at a nostalgia auction house/record store called Just Kids (located at the time in Huntington Village, NY), and one of my duties while working there was to essentially document items/list them for auction (sort of like digitizing and cataloging them!) WELL, one of the first auctions I worked on was a major Underground Comix auction, and I was in my glory. I saw the light! I distinctly remember thinking to myself, “Damn, if only there was a way I could spend the rest of my life researching/organizing/cataloging comics…” After that, and while participating in the small press/zines community as a maker, I sought out to make myself an expert on comics. Especially comics outside of the mainstream. It became my whole life! Somewhere along the way, someone suggested library science to me as a career option. I knew I didn’t want to become a teacher and didn’t want to write for a living either (and wasn’t sure what else I qualified for as an English major!) so I started investigating the option of an MLIS, despite having never worked in a library.
When I decided to go for it, I went in hoping that I could find a way to bring comics into whatever kind of library job I could get, assuming that, at best, it might be a public librarian gig where I could cultivate a graphic novels section. Never in my life did I think I’d end up where I am, in my dream position at the largest collection of comics and cartoon art in the world! While getting my MLIS, I focused every school project possible on comics, and secured as many volunteer opportunities and internships related to comics and librarianship as I could (including at Marvel comics, Columbia University’s Bulliet Comics Collection, and the Center for Cartoon Studies). In 2009 just before finishing my degree, I was honored with The New York Library Club for efforts in helping to make comic books and graphic novels more widely available at libraries and universities. Throughout all of this I was working full time, usually at frame shops. So nearly all my comics related work was through internships and volunteer opportunities. And I did a LOT of them! I continued this hustle after graduating, and eventually was hired as the first full-time librarian at the Center for Cartoon Studies in White River Junction, VT. Seven years ago I started at OSU as a “Visiting Curator” at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum, and 4 years ago my role became a faculty position. My career trajectory has been very focused but also a bit of a gamble – I feel exceptionally fortunate that it all worked out, and that I was able to turn my passion into an extremely rewarding career.
How do feel your day to day differs from say, my job (Art & Design Librarian in The Fine Arts Library)? Do you feel more like a museum librarian or does curator really sum up more of what you do?
My position is pretty unique in special collections and academic libraries in general. I suppose I feel like curator sums up my position more than librarian does (I spend little to no time answering reference questions or doing any collection processing or acquisition), but even the curator title is a bit vague/inaccurate. The bulk of my day-to-day is spent working on outreach initiatives for our special collection (events, student programs, etc), curating exhibits, teaching classes, and engaging with collection donors. It’s not a job description that is particularly easy to pin down, but overall my role is to elevate the visibility of the Billy Ireland and the credibility of comics overall on a local, national, and international level. This ends up including everything from coordinating with media and public relations, to teaching Ohio State classes, to running comics making workshops for the Girl Scouts of America, to traveling to give talks about comics at other intuitions, to giving tours of our exhibitions to retirement communities, to conducting studio-visits with cartoonists who are considering donating their work to us. It’s all part of the broader outreach vision.
Do you have any advice for current students and/or those on the job market?
Yes – build on your strengths! I had no idea that a position in outreach (let alone in comics outreach) could even be possible in librarianship, but I am proud that I was able to make it so by nurturing my abilities as an event planner, people-person, and overall strong promoter of comics. I feel like one of the wonderful things about librarianship, and special collections/archives in particular, is that if there is a subject area you are particularly passionate about (like comics for me) you can totally find a way to bring it into the work that you do. There are archives for just about everything, and those places need people who have that added subject-expertise/passion. I also always stress with students that networking really is essential – I know it can be anxiety-inducing, but you truly have to push yourself and put yourself out there. Utilize your mentors and connections, and don’t be afraid to take chances and ask for what you want. I also think librarians can often be humble and quiet, and I think it’s important to learn how to promote yourself and your passions. Especially when you’re in the start of your career.
What do you feel are particularly difficult challenges in the field of art or specifically museum librarianship right now?
While this has ramifications way beyond art librarianship, I think born-digital material is still one of the biggest issues facing librarians, and one that we haven’t truly found a great solution for yet. In our library, what used to be a semi truck of material that showed up at our doors when an artist donated their life’s work to us, now it’s a hard drive. Great for space-saving, but really unnerving from a preservation and access standpoint. Something we’re trying to figure out is how to make born-digital work (like many webcomics) displayable in an appealing way in our museum.
What is your favorite part of your current position? What do you hope to do next?
It’s tough for me to pick one favorite part — I really love what I do in all ways. One of my favorite parts is working with a team of extremely skilled, hardworking, kind and inspiring women. The Billy Ireland crew is like family to me. Most of all though I love that I’ve been able to marry my passion to my career, and that there’s always new discoveries and more to learn. With a collection of over 3 million items, I don’t think I’ll ever see it all!
What do I hope to do next? I hope to get tenure and live happily ever after among the comics. Maybe write a book or two.
Do you have any other reflections you’d like to share for the newbies out there? Things you wish you had known or done differently?
Hmm. Some general thoughts, some of which I’ve mentioned but will reiterate:
Never be afraid to ask for what you want
Work on your public speaking and networking skills. If you can manage yourself confidently and let go of your shyness or anxiety for a bit, it will put you leagues above others on the job market. I know this is can be a real struggle for some people.
Even is you think there must be more qualified people out there than yourself, apply anyway. Don’t underestimate your abilities.
Always be on time and professional
Never burn bridges
Find as many varied volunteer opportunities and internships as you can handle. This is where/how you will meet the people you need to meet, and figure out what you want and what you don’t.
Don’t settle for a job that makes you miserable. Stay confident and driven.
Greetings ArLiSNAP-ers! Many of us volunteers are back at work after attending the ARLIS/NA Annual Conference in Salt Lake City, UT. A few of us were first-timers, and Courtney and Autumn got to thinking that some reflections might be useful or interesting to those students or new professionals who haven’t had the chance to attend yet.
Courtney Hunt is Art & Design Librarian and Assistant Professor at The Ohio State University. An early career librarian, Courtney graduated with her M.S.I.S from University of Tennessee at Knoxville in 2017 and an M.A. in History of Art & Architecture from Hunter College-CUNY in 2013. She is a feature post writer for ArLiSNAP.
Autumn Wetli is Consultation Coordinator at the University of Michigan Libraries. She is newly graduated (2018) with her M.L.I.S. from Wayne State University and is a feature post writer for ArLiSNAP.
Photo by Courtney Hunt. View from one of the meeting room terraces at The Grand America Hotel, Salt Lake City, UT.
First up, Autumn asks Courtney a few questions about her time at ARLIS/NA 2019:
This question is pretty generic, but I’m curious! What was your favorite part of ARLIS/NA?
My favorite part of ARLIS/NA this year was meeting like-minded people who empathize with the challenges of my particular job. I work as a solo librarian at the Fine Arts Library at The Ohio State University, which is a branch library. In addition to me, the librarian, there is a full-time staff member who has been with the institution for 25 years (who is great), as well as student workers, but I don’t always get to chat with others doing liaison or collection work during my day-to-day. And even when I do, many of my colleagues have a very different focus in their position, even though much of our work overlaps. It was really really really great to connect with people whose jobs and subject expertise parallel what I do. I also really enjoyed the reception at the Natural History Museum of Utah (wine, hello). I also liked your poster on DIY publishing and Riot Grrrl ;) .
What inspired you at conference? Is there anything you’re excited bring back to your own library or work?
I was really inspired by the last session of the conference I went to, which was the SIG meeting for the Critical Librarianship Special Interest Group. Jenny Ferretti and Andrew Wang did an amazing job facilitating crucial conversations we all should be having. I was in a breakout group about crit lib and library spaces, and we had a really wonderful conversation about being “space ambassadors” and what that could mean. It inspired me to take a close look at the space I steward and come up with ideas to make it welcoming, inclusive, and safe for everyone.
I was also really inspired by the session on teaching with artist(‘s, s?-inside joke from the session…which is it??) books. We have a small collection of artists books at my library, as well as a pretty big one across the oval in our Rare Books and Manuscripts Library, and instructors are really eager to share those with students–to let them know they’re there. I wanted ideas for how to teach with them, and I got them! So I’m really excited to bring that back to my own library.
Photo by Courtney Hunt. A Slide from Natural History Museum of History Executive Director Sarah George’s lecture on the architecture of the museum.
How did you get involved, interact, collaborate with your colleagues at this conference?
Well, I volunteer for ArLiSNAP, first off, so I had a built-in community of people that I was regularly meeting up with semi-spontaneously. That was cool. The way I got involved with ArLiSNAP was to email the group when there was an open position (which we have several of RIGHT NOW). Breanne got back to me really quickly, and I was in! I want to plug ArLiSNAP as a pretty low-stakes way to get involved with ARLIS/NA, especially for new professionals who might be working at a library but not an art library yet (I was doing general collection development when I started volunteering).
I’m also serving on the Professional Development Committee for ARLIS/NA, a term that began at the conference this year. I got involved with that by applying when the call went out on the listserv. There’s an open spot on the committee still so if you’re interested email me (hunt.877 at osu.edu), and I can put you in touch with the chair!
I also interacted with my colleagues by getting social! This is not always an available option for everyone. People have different levels of social anxiety or a pretty set capacity for networking in one day. But I find it really beneficial to get to know other art librarians “off the clock” so going out for drinks and talking in a more casual way about our jobs was super beneficial and enriching to me.
Get on the listserv! It’s active but not overwhelming and really helps to stay plugged in to what’s going on in the association.
Photo by Courtney Hunt. View outside the Natural History Museum of Utah.
Pitch attending the conference next year! What makes you want to go again?
Yay! Yes! I do want to go again! There are many reasons. I think now that I’ve been once, I know what to expect, and I also know that art librarians are the BEST. It’s honestly the people and the sharing more than anything else that makes me want to attend again. Of course my committee work and the fact that I’m a tenure-track librarian also make me want to go again, but even if I wasn’t TT I’d want to be involved. Next year though I’ve got to step up my wardrobe game, cause y’all are some stylish librarians!
Now it’s Autumn’s turn!
Hey Autumn! You were awarded a travel grant for the conference! That’s awesome, congratulations! For our readers…what was the process for applying for that? Any requirements? Were you happy you applied?
Thank you so much! I applied for this award when I was still a student and it is intended for current students or individuals who have recently graduated. I was shocked to receive it! I applied really not expecting anything to come of it, as I expected there to be a lot of applicants and I’m not currently working directly in an art librarian/art library position (though it is my passion!) The application process was extremely manageable. Applicants needed to answer 3 questions:
Please describe why you are eligible for the selected award.
Please describe your specific interests and expectations of the conference.
Please provide a brief list of your employment history, education, and professional activities.
I’m pretty sure you needed to submit a resume/CV and references, too. I can’t remember the exact application deadlines, but I believe it was sometime in November or December, so keep an eye out next year, y’all!
I know that you recently graduated with your MLIS and you are a current staff member at University of Michigan — do you think that anyone who works in a library might find value at ARLIS/NA? What was most worth it to you?
Honestly, the conference refocused me and that was probably what was most worthwhile about it. I’ve been feeling a little bit lost since graduating and unsure what to do with my future, career, etc. Going to ARLIS/NA just solidified the thoughts spinning around in my head, that a career in the arts and libraries is really what I want to keep pursuing in my future, no matter the obstacles or difficulties. Even if I don’t specifically end up as an “official” art librarian in a future job, I want to keep incorporating my passion for the arts into my work a much as I can and pursue my own research in the field.
Photo by Courtney Hunt. View from the highway of the mountains.
How did you get involved, interact, collaborate with your colleagues at this conference?
It was really great to meet so many ArLiSNAP volunteers in-person! I’ve been volunteering on and off since 2017, so it was really nice to talk in real life. I enjoyed the ArLiSNAP meeting, which gave us a chance to talk a little bit about what we do and connect with attendees who may be interested in joining the org. I said it at the meeting and I’ll say it again, ArLiSNAP is a good way to get involved. Everyone is really supportive and friendly! I also presented a poster at the conference and I got to chat with a lot of different people about my work. Through my poster presentation I even made connection with someone who I actually ended up having a lot in common with! It was cool. I also made this trip with a couple of my University of Michigan colleagues who I’ve always been friendly with, but it was really nice to get to connect and know them better.
Pitch attending the conference next year! What makes you want to go again?
I agree with you that it’s really the people and sharing that made the conference so great and what makes me want to go next year and every year after! As someone not working as an art librarian or in an art library, the conference allowed me to connect with others who share similar passions and interests to my own. This isn’t something that always happens so easily in your own job/institution/etc., ya know? Attending the conference sparked so many different ideas in my head and made me realize that I need to pursue the projects that I am passionate about when I can, even if this means initiating them/taking charge/going solo. I’m lucky in that I have quite a bit of flexibility in my institution to turn my passions into projects at work. Before going to ARLIS/NA, I was feeling pretty burnt out. It really revitalized me to be surrounded by such a great community!
Also, I want to add that visiting Spiral Jetty was an amazing start to my conference trip! It was a lot of fun and very relaxing and meditative.
We hope that was useful for you readers! For those of you who haven’t attended the annual conference before, is there anything you’d like to know other than what our feature writers mentioned? Hit us up!
Hello, ArLiSNAP blog readers! It has been a really interesting year in my personal career life, and I thought some of you may appreciate reflections on my journey to art librarianship.
Just about two weeks ago, I began working as the Art & Design Librarian at The Ohio State University Libraries. My family and I relocated to Columbus, OH after a short stint in Charleston, SC. As I mentioned in the interview fellow Feature Post Writer Sarah Bilotta and I conducted a few months ago, I’ve worked in libraries for about five years, as a staff member and then as a librarian. I also mentioned that I felt relocation is a privilege that many do not have access to. I have now relocated for academic library positions twice in basically the same calendar year, and I still feel that way, but I do feel it has been worth it (FOR ME). However, relocating for a job requires some knowledge of the way things work. I’m going to outline some of those in this post.
Many institutions will pay for travel expenses if you are offered an on-campus interview. This is not a rule, and smaller universities, colleges, and community colleges often just do not have the money to offer this. This obviously limits diversity in applicant pools who are actually interviewing and presenting at on-campus interviews, which is a big problem and harms the chances of real racial and socio-economic inclusion in our profession. Hopefully, when you get your on-campus interview, it will be somewhere that can (and will) pay for the costs of travel associated with it. I have had to turn down an on-campus interview because the school couldn’t pay for any expenses. And it is a huge bummer–you go through the Skype interview and get really excited for the opportunity, but then can’t make it on-campus because a) you don’t have much money in your bank account or b) you don’t have a credit card or c) you simply don’t want to put a ton of money on your credit card for a position you don’t know you’ll be offered.
Once you’re there, really use your time during the on-campus interview to ask questions about where you may relocate. Try to get to know your potential-new-place-of-work and what the city/town might be like to live in. This is your chance to take LESS of a gamble by digging into how people feel about the institution and locale. It can be difficult to read between the lines because people generally do not say bad things about their employer bluntly, but you can generally get a feeling about whether a place is going to be toxic or supportive. Basically, try to figure out IS the stress of relocation WORTH IT?
I also used this cost of living calculator to research what my current salary would feel like in the new city, which helped me understand how a bump or decrease would feel based on my constant costs (rent, phone bill, car payment, student loans, etc.). To get a feel for what might be an appropriate amount to ask for in terms of salary, I looked into public records (many state institutions publish at least some of their faculty salaries) for similar librarian positions to make sure I was being offered enough and that if I asked for more, I wasn’t asking for an undue amount more. The Library Salaries Inequity Resource List is a good source for anonymized information regarding librarian salaries across the country. It is a living document, and changes as people add their salaries to it, and it is a great resource for comparison.
The first time I relocated, I was offered a small sum for relocation. About $1,000. This was fine with me, because I had never relocated for a job, and I thought that $1,000 was better than $0. This is true; however, that $1,000 is taxed, which makes it look closer to $800 or less. Thanks to the new tax plan passed last year by Congress, that cost is no longer deductible when you file your taxes. Therefore, instead of using that money to actually pay off the debt on my credit card, I had to use it to get by, because, well, moving is expensive.
When it came time to negotiate for my next position, I was better informed. I did actual research into moving costs (see above). For instance, I knew I would need a moving company, because we were moving for the second time in a year, with a toddler, and uHaul just wasn’t gonna cut it this time. When I received my offer, I was able to negotiate based on my research findings, and we settled on an amount that was not exorbitant but actually covered the costs I needed it to. Don’t be afraid to hold off on accepting a position you really want so that you can do the research on the costs of moving to a new place. They expect that. It is ok.
All of this hinges on the idea that your potential-new-place-of-work is able to offer relocation. You may not receive an offer for relocation, but you should always ask. You never know, and if they want you badly enough they will find out what they can do.
So…when do I get paid?
The answer to this question, unfortunately, is that it depends. Reimbursement culture in academic jobs is a real pain. Especially as a newbie starting out, it can be difficult to front costs for things like conferences and travel, not to mention relocating for the actual job, when there’s a good chance you won’t get paid right away. Depending on where you are going and how quickly things operate there, it can take a LONG TIME to be reimbursed. If you can avoid putting things on a credit card that will accrue a lot of interest, it will be better in the end. Again, this reflects financial privilege, no matter which way you slice it.
Some colleges and universities offer several types of relocation allocation. Direct pay, cash advance, and reimbursement were all options at my current institution, for example. Finding out information on each type of payment is crucial, since ALL of this income is taxable and could affect your first paycheck. For instance, if you hire movers that are directly paid from the university, the taxable portion of that paid amount will come out of your paycheck. That could be a major hit to many people. It is good to know your options and how they play out in reality.
These are only a few things related to relocating for a job, but I hope that they can offer some insight for you in your own job search. When I was getting my M.S.I.S., people said I would have less of a problem finding a job in an academic library as long as I was willing to move for it. I feel like this reality puts an undue strain on new professionals (and librarians from less privileged backgrounds in general) who may not be able or want to move to a new place. However, if you are willing to do so, you really should know what it is within your rights to negotiate for, and then what relocation reimbursement can look like. Feel free to leave questions in the comments! Since I am fresh off the relocation train, I’m sure I can help answer some. Good luck on your job hunt!
Nimisha Bhat is the Technical Services Librarian at the Columbus College of Art & Design in Columbus, Ohio. She is also an editor at The Librarian Parlor.
You’re the Technical Services Librarian at your institution, but it seems like you do a lot more than cataloging! Could you tell us a little bit about your background in libraries and how you got to where you are now?
I actually studied to be an Arabic translator in undergrad before realizing that a path that most likely led toward working for the government was definitely not something I wanted. Having volunteered at a few libraries and my college’s archive, I thought library school was the natural next step for me. I attended Pratt Institute and had the opportunity to work in some of New York’s major museum libraries including the Met, the Guggenheim, and the Frick. I made the shift into academic libraries and here at CCAD I’m able to pair my experience working with art collections alongside college librarianship. I am currently responsible for cataloging all materials at our library while also teaching and providing reference.
How do feel art librarianship differs from general academic librarianship?
The needs of art students and artists in general are unique – inspiration and visual culture are not restricted to texts but can come from a variety of different sources. It requires art librarians to have a wide breadth of knowledge in order to know how to find more information about, for example, pastoral themes in fashion or what city life looked like in Paris during the Belle Epoque. We have to have our own kind of creativity to know where we’ll be able to find the best sources for all of the unique requests we get, be it for an art history paper or to inspire someone’s future runway collection.
Do you have any advice for current students and/or those on the job market?
Advocate for yourself. I came out of library school feeling grateful anyone would want to hire me that I didn’t even think to ask for more when I could and should have. I thought getting a job offer doing something I got an advanced degree to do was all that I needed and negotiating came across like I wasn’t satisfied with what a future employer was offering me. Know your worth and your skill set, and use that to negotiate things like professional development budgets and job titles. You deserve a job that will listen to you and respect your needs.
What do you feel are particularly difficult challenges in the field of art librarianship right now?
I had the assumption when entering art librarianship that diverse voices would be plentiful across collection development, lesson plans, and staffing. But it’s one of the many fields that still has a lot of work to do. I’ve been actively working to survey our own collections for non-cis/het/white/male works by and about LGBTQ+ people of color and engaging with our diverse user communities to make sure they’re seeing themselves in our collections and spaces. From analyzing our catalog and the subject headings we use to describe these items to curating displays with diverse art books, graphic novels, and zines, I think what we do should be holistic no matter what your job title is.
What is your favorite part of your current position? What do you hope to do next?
I love that every day on the job is different. One day I could be cataloging, another day I could be helping a student hunt down information on an obscure medieval Guelph medallion, and another day I’ll be teaching a MFA class and discussing how they place themselves within the art world. I feel enriched by all of the amazing things my students are researching and creating. Whatever I do next, I hope to remove barriers and create opportunities for young women of color in the field.
Do you have any other reflections on art librarianship you’d like to share for the newbies out there? Things you wish you had known or done differently?
Wherever you find yourself working as an art librarian next, talk to everyone around you. Learn from students, go to faculty lectures, and immerse yourself in art and scholarship that you’re not familiar with. I’m not an artist myself, but I appreciate the curiosity, investigation, and creativity of the artists I work with. I never want to tell a student what the “right” and “wrong” type of information source is because that makes a lot of unfair assumptions about a person’s lived experience. Instead, I strive to work with a student’s way of learning and reasoning to find a way to research that makes sense to them. Libraries hold up hierarchical systems of power within their institutions, and we should be stewards for meeting our users where they are instead of repeating elitist frameworks back to them. Always be learning.
The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
Special Collections & Area Std
Summary of Duties:
The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (BICLM) holds the largest collection of cartoon and comics material in the world. Its facility on OSU’s campus, which opened in 2013, includes a free museum with three exhibition galleries open six days per week from 1:00 – 5:00 p.m. BICLM seeks a Museum Manager who will be responsible for organizing, managing, and promoting exhibitions and educational events for BICLM’s exhibition galleries. Programming consists of exhibits relating to cartoons and comics with special emphasis on exhibits that encourage engagement with our permanent collection materials and contribute to teaching and learning at OSU. This position will work with Ohio State University Library (OSUL) staff and faculty, external curators, collectors, cartoonists, lenders, and campus and community partners. The museum manager will coordinate all administrative aspects of the museum including museum operations, exhibits workflow, programming and communications. Hours vary including some weekends, evenings, and possible holidays.
Pre Employment Screening
Requires the successful completion of a background check.
Bachelor’s degree in art, history, or museum studies or related field or equivalent combination of education and experience; experience in a museum or gallery setting; experience in planning, coordinating, or curating exhibitions; experience with collections management software; knowledge of cartoon and comics history and art; experience with planning and executing public educational programs.
Master’s degree in Museum Studies, Museum Education, Museum Administration, or equivalent; experience collaborating with multiple organizations or partners; experience planning or coordinating significant exhibitions in recognized library or museum venues; experience with planning and executing comics or cartoon-related public programs.
The University of Louisville Libraries are looking for an energetic, creative and forward-thinking Director of the Margaret M. Bridwell Art Library. The successful candidate will be eager to engage students and faculty from an evolving Fine Arts program, and by crafting services, programs, and collections that support their learning, research and artistic endeavors. The Director has responsibility for all aspects of management and planning for the Art Library, reports to the Dean of Libraries and serves on the Dean’s senior library administrative team.
The Director will also have the opportunity to participate in significant projects impacting the entire University Libraries, such as developing digital scholarship services and engaging in assessment projects.
Leadership: Provide innovative approaches to the development of services to faculty, students, researchers, and the community; manage operations of the library including the supervision of two full-time staff and student assistants; contribute to the goals and initiatives of the University Libraries.
Engagement: Serve as liaison to the Hite Art Institute, Department of
Fine Arts which currently occupies three locations within the city; promote use of the extensive print and electronic collections; collaborate with other liaison librarians, especially to other arts and humanities disciplines; use social media and other emerging technologies to engage users.
Information Literacy: Design and implement instructional programs and materials including online research guides and tutorials; communicate with faculty about information literacy services and work with them to develop appropriate library assignments; collaborate with instruction librarians from the Research Assistance and Instruction Dept. on the development of new skills and approaches to teaching.
Reference: Provide information services in person and online to campus and community users.
Collection Management: Develop print and electronic collections in studio art, art and architecture history, design, artist’s books and curatorial studies; promote and build archival collections.
Outreach: Work with arts organizations in the community and seek opportunities for partnerships; cultivate and provide stewardship to donors.
Collaboration: Work with other Libraries faculty and departments on campus on new initiatives in areas such as digital scholarship and assessment.
Master’s degree from an ALA-accredited program or international equivalent in library or information science
Undergraduate or graduate degree in an arts field or work experience in a fine arts organization
Three years relevant professional experience in an academic/research library
Knowledge of digital technologies, web design and social media; demonstrated ability to learn and use emerging technologies in innovative ways
Excellent interpersonal and communication skills
Ability to work collaboratively and independently, and to handle multiple priorities
Potential for satisfying the University Libraries Faculty promotion and tenure requirements
Familiarity with digital humanities
Experience providing instruction to classes and individuals
Experience providing reference services and familiarity with methods
of scholarly research in art
Demonstrated commitment to public service
Experience providing services outside of the library setting
Demonstrated ability to work effectively and build strong relationships with colleagues, students, faculty, and researchers
Knowledge of collection development practices in art and architectural history, art, design, and curatorial studies
Reading or bibliographic knowledge of a second language
Membership in professional organizations such as ARLIS/NA
The initial rank and salary will depend upon experience and professional achievements. The University Libraries offer a comprehensive benefits package and annual vacation of 22 working days. Library faculty appointments are twelve-month, tenure-track positions.
The University Libraries, a member of the Association of Research Libraries, values its collaborative efforts both within the university and among other organizations. The University of Louisville is a Carnegie Research/High university and recipient of the Carnegie Community Engagement classification for Curricular Engagement & Outreach and Partnerships. The University has a national reputation for its high-quality undergraduate programs; over twenty nationally recognized research, graduate, and professional programs; 22,000 graduate and undergraduate students; and a strong commitment to the community in which it resides. UofL is located in the state’s largest urban area.
The city of Louisville offers hospitality, warmth and smaller city advantages like shorter commutes and lower cost of living alongside major city amenities like world-class performing arts, great sports, incredible dining and a nationally-acclaimed parks system. The city also has a vibrant arts scene with numerous museums, including the Speed Art Museum and the Kentucky Museum of Arts and Crafts, and several neighborhoods with contemporary galleries and distinctive shops.
34499) and attach AS A SINGLE, COMBINED PDF a CV, letter of interest detailing your familiarity, aptitude, and/or experience with the required and desired qualifications, and the name, address, phone number and e-mail address of three references.
The University Libraries are committed to creating a diverse, inclusive workplace and have recently joined the ACRL Diversity Alliance to work with other academic libraries toward this goal.
The University of Louisville is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer, and is committed to providing employment opportunities to all qualified applicants without regard to race, sex, age, color, national origin, ethnicity, creed, religion, disability, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity and expression, marital status, pregnancy, or veteran status. If you are unable to use our online application process due to an impairment or disability, please contact the Employment team at email@example.com or 502.852.6258.