A Success Story: An Interview with Molly Schoen

Molly Schoen works as a Visual Resources Curator at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. She was kind enough to answer a few questions and tell us more about her work and experience!

Can you tell us a little bit about your background, your current position, and how you got into the field of art librarianship?

It all started in my undergrad years (at Michigan State University), when I got a part-time job working in the Government Documents library. I found that I really enjoyed getting things in order, like cleaning up messy catalog records. And I loved the tactile nature of the work, too: bone folders, label makers, tattle tape and date stamps! I was getting a Bachelor’s in English but didn’t know what to do with it, so I decided to go to library school. I ended up getting accepted in to Wayne State University’s Fine & Performing Arts Librarian program, which was great because I’ve always been interested in art and music.

After getting my MLIS, I worked part-time at a collection of modern and contemporary black art in Flint, MI. Three years later, I got a full-time position at the University of Michigan, in their Visual Resources Collections. The experience from that job helped me land my current position of Visual Resources Curator at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, NY. I’ve been working here for a year and a half now, and I love it!

What does a typical day at work look like for you?
A typical day for me depends on what time of year it is. Right now, in the middle of the summer semester, there’s hardly anyone around. So I use this time to really get in the zone and catch up on image orders, where our History of Art faculty request images they need for teaching. I also assist faculty on their projects, such as building databases and other online resources.

Things are busier during the academic year. Along with our department technician, we will make sure our HA classrooms are up-to-date and advocate for upgrades. I also present one-shot sessions on visual literacy to various classes throughout the university, showing students how to find and use visual media ethically and efficiently. Because FIT is full of artistic students, I’ll demonstrate strategies to safeguard their own work and answer copyright questions. I’ve also worked on securing publishing rights for images a professor wanted to include in a book she was writing.

Do you have any advice for current students and/or those on the job market?
Volunteer and get a wide variety of experience under your belt. I finished grad school in 2009, which was not exactly the best time to be looking for a job. I was worried I wouldn’t find anything in the art libraries field, so I volunteered at the reference desk of a public library to get additional experience. I had volunteered at the Visual Resources Collections at U of M before I was hired there, and that really helped me land the full-time gig.

I would also say not to discount service industry jobs. I used to be really shy, and waiting tables and working in retail helped me get over that. These kinds of jobs may seem unrelated to library work, but they demonstrate to employers that you can handle conflict and think on your feet.

What were/are some challenges for you as a new art librarian? Are these related to larger challenges in art librarianship?
I think staying on top of technology is always a challenge. As a librarian, I want to be able to recommend the best products and resources for our faculty and students to use. That also ties into a larger challenge faced by our profession: justifying our work to administrators looking to slash budgets. People have asked me, why do we need libraries now when there’s Google? That’s like saying why do we need doctors when there’s WebMD? Google will bring you a million results; a librarian will find you the right one.

Tell us something fun about yourself! What do you do in your spare time?
In my spare time I like to oil paint and play guitar!

A peek inside the art inventory project at the Boston Public Library

At the Boston Public Library, we’re undertaking an item-level inventory of over 320,000 original art works. That’s a lot of art:

Item by item, we are developing descriptive metadata for each object in the Print Collection using content and vocabulary standards defined by the project. One of the ways we help to preserve the materials is to (carefully!) remove prints from old mats. Here’s a quick look at how we un-mat:

1. Observe the print trapped in its sad old mat.IMG_2152

 

2. Open the window mat and tell the print that you love it and it’s going to be okay.IMG_2153

 

3. With a very sharp knife, carefully cut along the adhesive hinges.IMG_2155

 

4. Set the print free! Well, actually, put it in an acid-free folder and label it. Include any ephemera that may have been lurking beneath.IMG_2157

Assistant Archivist at Glenstone

TITLE

Assistant Archivist

ABOUT THE ORGANIZATION Glenstone is an art museum located on more than 200 acres of rolling hills and unspoiled woodland in Potomac, Maryland. Conceived by founders Mitchell and Emily Rales on their deeply held belief that art is essential to life, it has already become one of the finest collections of modern and contemporary art in the world. In addition to the current museum, when its new museum building opens to the public in 2018, Glenstone will become the largest private museum in America welcoming 100,000 visitors every year free of charge. By thoughtfully integrating the power of art, the energy of architecture and the serenity of landscape, Glenstone is both a distinctive idea and a unique place.

Glenstone is proud to foster a professional environment in which people can do interesting, fulfilling and enjoyable work. Not only do its founders develop and oversee all acquisitions and exhibitions, but Emily Rales also serves as director of the Museum and curator of the collection. This provides all associates an unusually high degree of access and interaction with the spirit and vision of Glenstone. To work at Glenstone is to be a part of something bigger, something more meaningful, and something truly special. It is a chance to do a job to the highest standard, with the resources and support available to a founder-led and endowed organization. It is an invitation to be engaged, challenged and stimulated, to help fulfill a powerful mission, and to contribute to a noble purpose.

We are incredibly proud of what Glenstone offers to those who create, appreciate, study, and otherwise participate in the world of art; and we are equally proud of what Glenstone offers to those who choose to join us in doing so. There is no better time than now to become a part of Glenstone.

DESCRIPTION Position Overview

Reporting to the Chief Archivist/Librarian, the Assistant Archivist will serve as part of a dynamic team in managing and preserving Glenstone’s archival assets. The Assistant Archivist will work in collaboration with the Library and Archives team to ensure long-term access to the institutional records.

Desired Attributes & Characteristics

The ideal candidate will possess flexibility, excellent communication skills, will be a problem solver, and be personally and professionally motivated by collaborating with a variety of associates. Desired characteristics also include a strong work ethic, as well as an attention to detail, and focus on deadlines. In addition, we are looking for someone that can embrace Glenstone’s core value of ‘continuous improvement’ through an interest in professional development to advance their knowledge and expertise to surpass our previous best efforts.

POSITION REQUIREMENTS Key Responsibilities

  • Assist in the establishment, implementation, and regular evaluation of policies regarding the accessioning, processing, and preservation of archival content in accordance with best professional practices
  • Manage the ingestion, storage, and access of digital assets, including professional video and high-resolution photography
  • Coordinate the use of archival content through a variety of mission-critical workflows, such as rights and reproduction, video production, staff research, and communications
  • Maintain statistics on outreach activities, reference requests, project work, storage conditions, and the overall growth of the archives
  • Assist in the formulation and administration of an institution-wide records management program to encompass both physical and digital records
  • Supervise interns and project workers
  • Respond to reference requests from Glenstone associates

Required Skills & Experience

  • ALA-accredited master’s degree in Library and Information Science with a concentration in archives and Records Management, Digital Curation, or related discipline.
  • Familiarity with professional metadata schema and content standards concerning the management of archival collections and digital assets, such as DACS, Dublin Core, PBCore, VRA Core, EXIF, IPTC, XMP, and PREMIS
  • Demonstrated experience writing, implementing, and assessing policies and workflows concerning the management of physical and digital collections
  • Strong technical ability to learn new software, evaluate information systems, and implement innovative strategies for preserving and cataloging archival content
  • Strong interpersonal and proactive ability to advocate archival policies, ensure compliance with best practices, and liaise with diverse stakeholders

Preferred Qualifications

  • Knowledge of modern art and architecture and/or background in museum archives
  • Experience with CollectiveAccess, or similar collections management system, for the management of archival collections and digital assets
  • Experience processing and cataloging specialized formats, including architectural records, audiovisual tapes, and ephemera
  • Experience supervising interns and/or student workers
  • Knowledge of professional video production and photography practices
  • Experience with the Adobe Creative Cloud, particularly Adobe Premiere, Adobe Bridge, and Adobe Photoshop

Salary & Benefits

Associates are crucial to achieving Glenstone’s mission and we offer a competitive salary commensurate with experience. We also provide a total benefits package that helps you manage your health, protect your income, and prepare for your future. To promote collaboration and show appreciation to associates, Glenstone provides a weekly staff lunch, on-site health and wellness classes and volunteer opportunities.

Benefits include medical, dental, and vision insurance; life, long-term and short-term disability and AD&D insurance, a Flexible Spending Account (FSA); a 401(k) retirement account with a matching contribution; an Employee Assistance Program (EAP); and tuition reimbursement.

FULL-TIME/PART-TIME Full-Time
SEASONAL
EXEMPT/NON-EXEMPT Non-Exempt
EOE STATEMENT We are an equal employment opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status or any other characteristic protected by law.

Full Description (PDF): Assistant Archivist Postion Posting

To Apply: https://recruiting.myapps.paychex.com/appone/MainInfoReq.asp?R_ID=1576081

Art + Feminism + Wikipedia

In March I was invited to three different Art + Feminism Wikipedia Edit-A-Thons! I had a basic idea of what these were about, but I was eager to get involved and find out more. One was held at MIT Libraries, and one at the Institute of Contemporary Art, but I decided to attend the one held at my beloved alma mater, the Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt). It was hosted by librarians at MassArt, the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts and the Tufts School of Arts and Sciences.

As the invitation promised, we were led through basic Wikipedia editing skills by accomplished Wikipedia editor Amanda Rust, the Digital Humanities Librarian and Assistant Director of the Digital Scholarship Group at Northeastern University.

Publish!
Wikipedia editor Eve Kahn on the left, Digital Humanities Librarian Amanda Rust on the right.

After teaching us the basics of Wikipedia editing, Amanda and MassArt librarian Gabrielle Reed talked about the purpose of the project. Gabrielle’s event invitation sums it up well:

Wikimedia’s gender trouble is well-documented. While the reasons for the gender gap are up for debate, the practical effect of this disparity, however, is not. Content is skewed by the lack of female participation. This represents an alarming absence in an increasingly important repository of shared knowledge.

5pillars.jpg
Choosing female artists to represent on Wikipedia.

We were given a list of female artists associated with MassArt who did not yet have a page on Wikipedia, but of course we could also choose any female artist who was not represented. I choose from the list and began doing research on Frances Euphemia Thompson. MassArt librarians helped me find primary research materials on Ms. Thompson. She was an artist and educator, and one of the first African American women to graduate from Massachusetts Normal Art School (the precursor to MassArt).

              

I found some good biographical information on Thompson in this book by Mary Ann Stankiewicz.

          

MassArt librarian Katie Riel at the left, ready to help and/or display our efforts on social media. On the right, MassArt librarian Danielle Sangalang helps me find more information on Ms. Thompson for my very first Wikipedia article, which you can see below and find at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frances_Euphemia_Thompson!

Screen Shot 2017-04-19 at 12.10.20 PM.png

Talking with MassArt librarian Gabrielle Reed, I was happy to find out that this series of edit-a-thons started at ARLIS! It grow out of the ARLIS/NA Women’s SIG, and was led by Sîan Evans together with Michael Mandiberg, Jacqueline Mabey and Laurel Ptak. From small beginnings, it has grown into an international movement, complete with an online guide to help anyone start an event: http://www.artandfeminism.org/organizing-kit/.  As Gabrielle told me, “They make it so easy for us, there’s not excuse not to do it.”  She added, 

“It’s a concrete way to contribute something – the world is so crazy right now, I feel like it’s important to do things that make a difference.” 

I think we all felt the same way, and we had a great time working together, using our voices to add more diversity to Wikipedia.

happyeditors
Happy Wikipedians!

Conference travel: Gerd Muehsam Award

The Gerd Muehsam Award recognizes excellence in a graduate student paper or project on a topic relevant to art librarianship. The deadline for submission isn’t until mid-November. Next year’s winning paper, however, will most likely be written this spring or summer, which means now is the time to think about the award. By gearing your graduate student project toward a topic in art librarianship, you will have a submission ready to go in the fall, and gain experience and insight into issues critical to our profession.

In addition to a cash award and assistance with conference travel, the winner of the GMA is invited to present at the New Voices panel, and if accepted by the editorial staff, often publishes their paper in Art Documentation. I have served on the GMA sub-committee for several years and have learned so much from the submissions. Not only do you benefit from the exposure, but the Society and the profession benefit from your intelligent and creative contributions.

To learn more about the GMA and see past recipients visit https://www.arlisna.org/about/awards-honors/69-gerd-muehsam-award.

Call for Proposals: ArLiSNAP/VREPS Virtual Conference

ARLISNAP Conference 2016

Proposal deadline has been extended, please submit via this link by Friday, April 8th

ArLiSNAP (Art Library Students and New ARLIS Professionals) and VREPS (Visual Resources Emerging Professionals and Students) are joining forces to host a virtual conference this May! The conference, Future Perspectives in Art Librarianship: Digital Projects and Initiatives, will take place at 12pm CST May 21, 2016. The conference will consist of a keynote speaker followed by 1.5 to 2 hours of presentations by students and new professionals. This is an excellent opportunity for those who cannot be physically present at our annual conferences to share projects and ideas.

 

Our keynote speaker will be Sara Rubinow. Sara is a Metadata Specialist in the Metadata Services Unit of NYPL Labs, The New York Public Library’s digital innovation unit. Prior to NYPL, Sara worked on projects involving the collections database, digital initiatives, and printed matter at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. Sara will discuss her role at NYPL Labs and showcase initiatives intended to engage developers, scholars, artists, and the general public in exploring—and transforming—NYPL’s digital resources and open data sets.

 

We are looking for students and new professionals with an interest in art librarianship or visual resources management to present their work. The theme for this year’s conference is focused on digital projects and initiatives. Have you been working on a project using technology in a new way? Do you have thoughts to share on topics such as metadata and visual resources, copyright and the arts, digital collections, or visual literacy? Would you like to share your work with the ARLIS and VRA communities? Submit your proposal, and add your voice to our discussion on the future of the field!

 

Requirements:

  1. Presenters must be MLIS students or new professionals with fewer than five years of experience in the field.
  2. Presentations will be between ten and fifteen minutes in length.
  3. Presenters need to be available for a live presentation and brief Q&A session on the afternoon of Saturday, May 21, 2016. Presenters need to be available for a practice session the week before to test equipment. A date and time for the practice session will be determined at a later date.

 

Submit your proposal via this link by Friday, April 1st.

 

If you have any questions about this event, please don’t hesitate to contact Breanne Crumpton, ArLiSNAP Conference Planning Liaison, at becrumpton [at] gmail [dot] com.

The Artist/Librarian: An interview with Kylie Schmitt

Kylie Schmitt, Digital Technician at the Frick Art Reference Library, at her computer workstation.

As art librarians we obviously have an affinity for the visual and creative arts.  In fact many of us found our field by starting originally as artists.  Kylie Schmitt, an early professional at the Frick Art Reference Library, is both librarian and artist.  She shares more information about her work as an information professional and as a practicing artist.

What is your current position? 

Digital Technician

What are your day-to-day responsibilities?

On a day-to-day basis I perform quality assurance (QA) on our digitization projects’ TIF and PDF files; I create workflows for our digitization and QA processes; manage our digitization and QA team; maintain, organize, & backup files within our DAMS and local drives; officiate digitization requests; and report on progress of digitization projects numerically.

Tell us about what a typical work day looks like for you.

On a typical day I’ll start with some QA. Throughout the day I’ll manage others doing QA, answer questions, and troubleshoot issues that we have come across. I also will monitor if we have any digitization requests and by the end of the day I’ll have probably done some organization of files either on our DAMS or on a local drive.

What does quality assurance mean in your field?

Quality assurance is a process that all digital materials go through before they can be approved to go public. The process entails putting another set of eyes on digitized items to make sure all of our digital file standards are met. Our standards range from file size/resolution standards based on Federal Agencies Digitization Guidelines Initiative (FADGI), to making sure nothing foreign accidentally made it into the frame.

Can you describe one of your favorite digitization projects that you have worked on?

Each project takes quite a while to complete, however, I think I like our American School Digitization project best because as someone working on it you get to look at American art all day.

What is your educational background? How did you come into librarianship as a field?

I received my Bachelor’s in Studio art, concentrating in photography. After working in the fine art and advertising worlds, I realized it wasn’t for me, but I still wanted to stay in the arts. I worked at the Marymount Manhattan library while attended as an undergrad student and thought I should combine my enjoyment of the library with my passion for the arts so I went back to school and received my Master’s in Library Science.

What type of artwork do you primarily do?

Photography and ceramics.

How did you get into photography and ceramics?

When I was 10 years old my dad gave me my first camera. It was his manual film camera and he taught me how to use the aperture and shutter settings. I’ve been taking pictures ever since then but didn’t develop and print my own work until I went to Maine Media Workshops after high school. I took ceramics in grade school and was in pottery club, but then it wasn’t available in high school so I didn’t go back to it until I was in college where I fell in love with it again.

Does the your library work influence your artwork? What about vice-versa?

I don’t use a digital camera in my artwork which probably has to do with the fact that I work on a computer all day at the library. I do gain inspiration from seeing so many pieces of art at work on a daily basis.

So can you describe the medium of the image you are sharing?

This piece is a cyanotype, a form of photographic process. No camera, or negative was used; instead I used organic materials directly on paper, coated with a light sensitive cyan medium, as a contact print.

Photograph of a plant negative
Meristem, 2015
Cyanotype
Kylie Schmitt

Who are your artistic influences?

The f/64 group for sure, and Georgia O’Keeffe

Tell us more about the f/64 group?

The f/64 group was formed in the 1930s. They are a group of San Francisco photographers including Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, and Imogen Cunningham, to name a few. At the time the popular photographic style was pictorial, so this group of photographers formed based on their modern aesthetic. The term f/64 is a small aperture size that allows for a clearer focus throughout the image and greater depth of field. The aperture setting f/64 is used in the straight photography that the group was known for.

Who is your favorite artist?

Edward Weston

Do you have art on your walls? What kind?

I do. Mostly photographs – old prints found at thrift stores, and some nature photography (one being an Ansel Adams of course), but no original pieces by artists themselves. I hope to one day invest in some original works after I save up.

As a new professional in the field what is one thing you wish you had known before you graduated?

I wish I knew how digital and technical the library world is becoming.

What advice can you give to someone in library school who wants to do the kind of work you are doing?

I think for my work, experience is everything. I would say my best advice would be to do as many internships as you can, to build up experience and to network.

Interview with an Art Librarian: Kim Collins, Emory University

KimCollins72dpi

Can you tell us a little bit about your background and your current position?

I went from pre-med to Art History in college because that is what I liked – life is short. My dad told me most people change careers seven times in their life, but I have stuck with Art History this whole time – though in three different capacities (as museum educator, art museum librarian, and now academic art librarian). My current position is as a subject librarian that serves the Art History and Classics department at Emory University.

What drew you to this position and art librarianship in general?

When getting my Masters degree in Art History at George Washington University, I got a paid internship at the National Gallery of Art’s modern prints and drawing dept. I loved classifying and researching artworks. I worked additional jobs in the photo archive and then in the 20th century department (now known as Modern & Contemporary). It wasn’t until I was working in the High Museum of Art education department during the Atlanta Olympic RINGS exhibit that a library position to presented itself. The High Museum of Art part-time librarian left and they began looking for her replacement. With a friend’s advice – don’t hide your lamp under a bushel – in my ear, I marched into the head curator’s office and said, “Give me the job; I’ll get the MLA.” And I got the degree and the job.

What are your main roles/duties at your current position?

The more typical roles are collection development and management (which is my favorite part of my job) instruction, and research consultation. The more recent developments in my duties include Digital Humanities, Scholarly Communications, data management (ex. Digital Images), special collections, and marketing.

What is a typical day like for you?

My favorite part of my job is collections development, purchasing materials for the library, and collections management, figuring out how to fit all of our materials in the stacks. It’s the beginning of the semester, so I am also creating web guides and trying to work with faculty to set-up library instruction for classes that need it. I have taken to making a weekly To Do list that includes all my Subject Librarian stuff balanced with Humanities Team leader stuff and Service to the Library (task force on events/exhibitions, Comm for LSC, Blog Oversight Group, O&E) and professional development (ARLIS/SE is planning NOLA 2017, getting ready for Ft. Worth). There is never northing to do in this field. I also spend a lot of time mentoring other subject librarians on my team, as well as graduate student fellows.

What were/are some challenges for you as a new art librarian? Are these related to larger challenges in art librarianship?

It used to bother me (when I was a one-man show at HMA) that we do much behind-the-scenes work, and yet patrons only appreciate the tip of the iceberg. But it’s great when patrons appreciate the library in any capacity, so I learned not to mind too much.

What do you think are the most important issues facing art librarians today?

Permissions/Copyright – our IP Librarians likes to say, “Copyright kills dreams.” Students who are writing theses or dissertations cannot use images without permissions, but the cost of permissions is prohibitive.

Data Management – digital image metadata, etc.

Digital Art History – how does it become just another tool art historians use? How to guide students in this endeavor? It will become more mainstream so we need to teach people the skills and how to utilize new tools in their research and teaching.

Marketing – tell your story, the age of assessment and data.

What are the most important things emerging art librarians should know?

Relationships are HUGE – across your library, across your campus, across your field. Art Librarianship is a pretty small world. It helps to know colleagues (as well as faculty and students) who you can ask questions of or collect data from.

 

Just for fun – what is your favorite library? Work of art or artist?

I like IM Pei’s National Gallery of Art library reference library, mainly because of fond memories of the people who worked there when I was a library user. I also have fond memories of the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art Library when it used to be housed in the Old Patent Building. But, if I have to pick just ONE library – I’ll say the Library at Villa I Tatti, The Harvard Center for Italian Renaissance Studies, outside of Florence. Its founder, Bernard Berenson (1865–1959), described I Tatti as a library with a house attached, which I love.

As far as artists, I like conceptual artists who employ word-play and irreverence – Ed Ruscha, Bruce Nauman, and Jenny Holzer.

A Success Story: Interview with new art librarian Ashley Peterson

Our awesome Student Liaison, Ashley Peterson, has been in her position at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston for a little over a year and has offered to share some her job seeking/post-MLIS survival advice!

APheadshot

Can you tell us a little bit about your background and your current position?

I have a BA in Art History, and focused on art librarianship and visual resources-related courses in my MLS program. Upon graduation, I had designs on a job in reference in some sort of academic or museum art library, but it being 2008 I was grateful to land even a non-reference, non-art related full-time professional position. After five years of working in access services at a teeny-tiny women’s liberal arts college and a slightly less tiny college focused on early childhood education and social work, last October I finally snagged my dream job: instruction, research, and visual resources librarian at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

 

How did you get your current job? Do you have any job-hunting advice?

Do I ever! During my grad program, in addition to seeking out courses that would prepare me for art librarianship/VR, I was a member and then co-chair of an art library student interest group. We had a close relationship with the local ARLIS/NA chapter, which provided lots of great networking opportunities. When I didn’t find an art library job immediately after graduation, I used a few strategies to stay current with the field and the local professional community: incorporating elements of art librarianship into my non-art-related job, and volunteering. I was fortunate to work for institutions with small staffs, as this afforded me the opportunity to take on some reference and instruction responsibilities in addition to my day-to-day in access services. In both of my post-graduation professional jobs I positioned myself as the art history and studio art subject specialist (never mind that there were only about two or three such classes taught during any given semester!), which entailed creating subject guides, teaching library instruction sessions, meeting with students working on art/art history-related assignments, and selecting resources for the library’s collection.

Drawing on contacts I made during my graduate program, I also volunteered with the library at the SMFA Boston. I mostly worked remotely, helping to create and maintain subject guides, and had lots of great conversations with the librarians there about their work. After a few years a new position was created, I applied, and here I am today!

This is, of course, eliding all of the times I unsuccessfully applied and interviewed for art librarian jobs over the five years between graduation and landing my current position. For most job seekers this is a part of the landscape, and I think it’s important to see each position you don’t get as a learning opportunity (difficult to do when you’re in the trenches, I know). On some occasions when I was not a successful candidate, I even contacted search committee members to ask what sort of qualifications or skill sets would better-prepare me for future job opportunities. I got some excellent feedback!

So in sum, my advice is: maintain and grow your professional contacts, try to incorporate elements of art librarianship into whatever work you’re currently doing, be willing to work for free if necessary, and keep applying!

 

What are your main roles/duties at your current position? What is a typical day like for you?

I am one of three full-time staff members at my library, and as you’d imagine our positions overlap a great deal. My primary areas of responsibility are information/visual literacy instruction, research assistance, and visual resources collection development. Over the summer and into this fall semester, I have mostly been focused on building a website for the library using LibGuides, developing foundational information literacy sessions for the first-year English program, and populating our library’s instance of Artstor Shared Shelf with images from our print holdings in contemporary art. A typical day doesn’t really exist, but I can always count on stumbling across some piece of treasure from our artist book, rare book, or even circulating collections and having some great conversations with students and colleagues.

 

What were/are some challenges for you as a new art librarian? Are these related to larger challenges in art librarianship?

This is not at all unique to art librarianship, and is true of all library jobs I’ve had: communicating a library’s value to stakeholders is incredibly essential. Speaking from an academic setting, it’s fantastic to have the support of the students and faculty whose work is directly impacted by library services, but it can be challenging to convey this to the people who control the budgets. I am incredibly fortunate to work with some very passionate, talented, and dedicated people and for a director who is a tireless advocate for our library, and yet we still run into the occasional “Why do we even HAVE a library? It’s all online!” I think fighting the good fight entails doing excellent work and then communicating the heck out of it, in whatever way suits your institutional and personal style.

 

What are the most important things emerging art librarians should know?

Bits & books! Tech skills are of course important, though I do think the recent “Every librarian should learn to code!” mantra is a bit overstated. Instead I am an absolute believer in technological literacy: be fluent in the technologies you use day to day, and be aware of technologies that may help you in the future, or are useful elsewhere in the field. This is where keeping up-to-date with library blogs and professional literature comes in handy!

One thing that surprised me about art librarianship is the vagaries of the art book market and the importance of buying print volumes before their value explodes (which doesn’t always happen, of course– but better to not take the chance!). Print is still important to an art library collection to an extent that is no longer the case in most general collections. The ebook issue is no less present, but at least for the time being print is still queen when it comes to lavishly illustrated monographs, exhibition catalogs, catalogues raisonnés, and other such essential components of a quality collection.

Finally, get out there and immerse yourself in the local arts scene! I’m always thrilled when something I’ve encountered or someone I’ve met at a show, performance, exhibition, etc. sparks my thinking about a project at work, or comes in handy when I least expect it.

 

What do you do in your spare time?

No one ever tells you this, but being a relatively settled adult in your early 30’s without kids, and especially when most of your friends also don’t have kids, is kind of like a second adolescence (uhh, in a good way). My husband and I love meeting friends for crafty cocktails & beers, going to shows, taking leisurely bike rides to places that serve hot dogs with ridiculous toppings, traveling, taking on overly ambitious cooking projects, and watching intense and/or goofy TV shows with our cat. I’m also an occasional knitter and a voracious reader, lest I lose my librarian cred.

 

Have questions for Ashley or want to hear more? Join us for our virtual conference, Visualizing the Future: New Perspectives in Art Librarianship, on January 17th when she will be featured on the roundtable session of new professionals!

This is a part of the “Success Story” series of interviews. If you would like to share your story, please contact the discussion team.

Paid digital archive intern

Artist seeks paid digital archive Intern, deadline Nov 30

Seeking PAID DIGITAL ARCHIVE INTERN to Begin January 2015

Whitney Biennial artist seeks paid digital archive Intern to assist with reorganizing and managing five (5) 2 TB external drives containing video, audio, image and text files. The reorganization of 20 years of digital data is intended for two different purposes: (1) as “active storage” in the artist’s studio, and (2) as the digital addition to her non-digital “Collected Papers” already archived at a major academic institution.

The successful candidate will have:

-knowledge of Information and Library Science management systems

-coursework in the management of born-digital records preferred

-high comfort level in learning new technologies

-discretion when dealing with confidential or sensitive information

-accuracy and attention to detail

Our studio is located in Lower Manhattan. We anticipate the paid intern chosen will work a total of 12-16 hours per week, with flexible afternoon and early evening hours to be arranged. The post will begin in January 2015.

Please email resume and cover letter highlighting any relevant work experience and coursework to: lorraineogradystudio@gmail.com  attn: Sur, Studio Manager.

We will accept applications until midnight, November 30. On December 9 will begin contacting suitable candidates to arrange in-person interviews.

Our goal is to reach a final decision no later than December 21.