Category Archives: Public Libraries

Arts in the Public Library

Art librarianship generally seems to be thought of as a practice within the context of the academic library or museum. However, there is definitely a place for the arts in the public library! Public libraries provide community space for performances, exhibitions, and creative workshops. A 2017 article in the Huffington Post highlighted some ways in which public libraries across the country support the arts. I wanted to learn more about this intersection (as someone unexperienced in public librarianship) by looking closer at my own public library, the Ann Arbor District Library (AADL). I interviewed Mariah Cherem, a Librarian at AADL, a personal friend, and a longtime supporter of arts in the Ann Arbor community!

Photograph of family playing a Moog synth at the 2018 Ann Arbor Synth Expo

Photo from the 2018 Ann Arbor Synth Expo

Can you describe your position and the work you do at AADL, in general?

My title at AADL is Production Librarian. I work 8-16 hours on-desk/reference each week and the rest of my time is spent on projects and events. Some of those projects involve selection and collection maintenance (CD & LP collections), some of them involve programs (big events like A2 Synth Expo & Record Store Day), and working on smaller programs like staffing Letterpress Lab or coordinating the team who works on music-making related events year-round. During the summer, I work on the Summer Game and/or outreach initiatives (the pop-up “Library on the Lawn” we did with the University of Michigan at Summer Fest a few years ago is one example).

What do you see as the role of the arts in the public library?

I think that the arts (visual, musical, performing, literary) are naturally linked with our work as a public library. Obviously literary works are what first come to mind when folks think about us, but libraries have provided both a home for recorded versions of all of the above, inspiration for creating new work, and occasionally the opportunity to serve as a presenter and offer more space for both performance and facilitation of folks learning new creative skills. From displaying K-12 Ann Arbor Public Schools students’ artwork every year to hosting crochet groups to providing the equipment for folks to learn about letterpress, I see it as encouraging people to be active creators as well as consumers/readers/watchers of art/culture. I want to get people engaged in different ways!

Flyer for the inaugural Ann Arbor Wayzgoose Printing Festival at the Ann Arbor District Library

Can you highlight some of the arts-related programming that happens at the AADL?

There’s so much! It’s hard to pick! Some of the biggest annual events that represent different types of art are:

Wayzgoose  (printing/book arts)

Ann Arbor Comic Arts Fest (A2CAF)

Ann Arbor Synth Expo (AASE) (music)

Tiny Expo (art/craft fair)

…and we have related year-round programming that ties in with each of these big events/interest areas.

For a different sampling, here’s everything coming up that falls under art

…and here are the “art tools” we offer:

How did you get into doing this sort of work at AADL?

When I went back to grad school I thought I was going to do health informatics or work with online communities, but towards the end of my first year, I started having SO many great conversations with LIS students, and realized that my arts administration background (working at a theater, an art museum, MA in AAdmin, doing DIY stuff) actually tied in really well to a lot of the programs and initiatives that were happening at forward-thinking libraries.

I started diving deep into Library as Incubator and how artists of all stripes were using their libraries, in ways we knew and ways we didn’t (making collages for zines, etc). With this wider understanding, I added an LIS specialization to my degree, and got super super lucky that a few months after graduating, a position opened up at AADL. I was interviewing at all sort of jobs at all sorts of places, but really won the lottery. I’m lucky in that since the beginning, creativity and connecting the library to folks in new ways has been a key part of my position! I’ve been here 6.5 years now and there’s still lots more to do! Currently starting work on licensing films from the Ann Arbor Film Festival and building this local music collection.

Do you have any suggestions or advice for public librarians/staff who may want to work on incorporating arts programming into their own libraries?

Each library is really different in terms of resources and support from colleagues. I’d say that before even floating any ideas, it’s super important to sit back for a few months (maybe even more) and take a big view, not just of your own organization, but what other organizations in your community are already doing. Sometimes it works best to partner with other organizations to try something new, and use something smaller with a partner as a proof of concept. You don’t need to start with anything splashy. Even just new ways for people to interact with the collection (new styles of displays that connect to programs, etc) can be the seed to get things growing. Programming Librarian is a good resource, as is/was The Artist’s Library, but it’s also important to look outside libraryland at things like Nina K. Simon’s work. Look for unmet needs/wants or gaps in the community. Find fellow staff who are also excited about possibilities!

Flyer for Telephon9 concert Friday February 8th at 7pm at the Ann Arbor Downtown Library

Poster for an upcoming music concert at the AADL.


CAVRACON at UCSB June 16-17th, 2011

THE NORTHERN AND SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA CHAPTERS OF THE VISUAL RESOURCES ASSOCIATION cordially invite you to the California Visual Resources Association Conference, also known as CAVRACON, which will be held Thursday, June 16th and Friday, June 17th, 2011 at the University of California, Santa Barbara.


CaVraCon will provide workshops, presentations and demos dealing with the many aspects of creating, managing and maintaining digital image collections, as well as the opportunity to network with both emerging professionals and veterans of the field.

The conference will be open to any interested parties regardless of organizational or institutional affiliation.  Check the above site for registration information.


Patricia Harpring (Managing Editor Getty Vocabulary Program)
Developing local authority files for the CCO/CDWA categories and a discussion of CONA

Megan Marler (ArtSTOR, Senior Analyst for Strategic Initiatives)
ArtSTOR?s Shared Shelf

George Helfand (Luna Imaging, Inc., Account Manager)
Expanding Your Scope: A Workflow for Adding Books to a Digital Image Collection

Greg Reser (UCSD, Metadata Specialist) and Sheryl Frisch (CalPoly, San Luis Obispo, Visual Resource Specialist)
The VRA Custom XMP Info Panel: How do I use it?

Jan Eklund (UC Berkeley, Business Systems Analyst, IST Data Services) and Chris Hoffman (UC Berkeley, Manager of Informatics Services, IST Data Services)
Deploying CollectionSpace for a VR Collection

Tom Moon (UCSB Library, Digitization Unit Manager)
Structuring Workflows: implementing new procedures without disruption

Lois McLean and Rick Tessman (McLean Media, Content Clips)
Content Clips, An Online Tool for Teaching with Digital Images

Dr. James Bartholomay Kiracofe (Director, Inter-American Institute for Advanced Studies in Cultural History)
Images for Education, On the road with an academic photographer

As well as a Plenary by the Visual Resources Association President, Maureen Burns (IMAGinED Consulting), Case Studies, tours and more!

Things to bring: flip-flops, laptops and business cards.
Please send questions to John Trendler <>
We look forward to seeing you!


Are you doing research in the arts that you would like to share with fellow librarians? Is there something you’re doing at your library dealing with the arts that you think others should know about? Do you have a presentation you’d like to float by a group of friendly colleagues for some benevolent critique?

If so, the ACRL Arts section invites you to submit a presentation proposal for our Discussion Forum held on Saturday, June 25th from 10:30-12noon during the ACRL Annual Conference in New Orleans, LA.


–Proposals can be about any topic dealing with the visual or performing arts and design (see list of possible topics below).
–Everyone is welcome to submit a proposal. Students are also encouraged to make a submission.
–Each presentation will have 15-20 minutes with a 5 minute Q&A. We anticipate being able to accept 4-5 proposals for presentation.
–Proposals will be reviewed by a committee drawn from the Arts Section Executive Board and Publications & Research Committee.

Deadline: Please submit your proposals to Yen Tran (, chair of the Arts Section’s Publications & Research Committee no later than May 27th. Those submitting proposals will be notified by June 3rd, as to whether or not your proposal was accepted for presentation.

Possible topics:

–Research of any topic related to the arts
–Developments in the display and/or preservation of arts materials
 –Innovative information literacy or visual literacy techniques with arts students
–Emerging technologies in arts libraries
–Inventive collection management and development in the arts
–Strategies for reaching out to arts users (students and faculty)
–Copyright and fair use in the arts environment
–Evaluating the needs of arts users
–Use of images in information literacy instruction
–Creative physical or online/virtual exhibits

The possibilities are endless; please consider submitting a proposal.

POSITION AVAILABLE Gallery Librarian II, Art, Music and Media, Allen County Public Library


Jeffrey R. Krull Gallery Librarian II
Art, Music and Media
Allen County Public Library

Librarian Responsibilities: Provide reference assistance to patrons in locating materials and information. Instruct patrons on the usage of computers, copiers and audio-visual equipment. Represent the library and community in a leadership role for the arts. Participate in collection development of materials specific to the department. Supervise the department during scheduled evening or weekend hours when the manager and assistant manager are absent.

Gallery Coordinator Responsibilities:
Plan Exhibits: Coordinate gallery schedule and maintain ongoing working relationships with art organizations, universities and individual artists throughout the scheduling phase. Refine the exhibit scope, gallery layout and selection of artwork. Prepare gallery programming in conjunction with exhibition; these include workshops, artist visits, lectures and opening receptions. Complete paperwork including contracts, shipping documents, supply forms and purchase requests.
Direct Installation: Direct the activity of properties, security and housekeeping during installation and exhibition. Prepare and patch walls, pedestals and fixtures. Coordinate art drop-off and retrieval of artwork. Arrange artwork and lighting. Inventory items on display daily.
Coordinate Receptions with the events coordinator, housekeeping and security staff. Schedule caterers or prepare refreshments. Staff the event and oversee volunteers.
Create Publicity: Update staff, patrons and artists on gallery events through emails, newsletters and posters. Maintain the gallery blog. Maintain ongoing contact with other art organizations.

Minimum Qualifications: ALA/MLS degree. Undergraduate degree with major in art preferred. Gallery experience preferred. Ability to network with the art community; plan and install gallery exhibits. Excellent organizational skills are necessary. Strong interpersonal communication skills and a commitment to providing information in the context of pro-active library service. Ability to work cooperatively and positively with a wide variety of patrons and co-workers. Ability to work a variety of day, evening and weekend hours. Bilingual ability in Spanish or an Asian language is desirable but not required.

COMPENSATION: 2010 minimum salary $35,547. Health, dental, vision, life and long-term disability plans. Cumulative sick leave. Library-paid retirement fund. Personal business leave. Four weeks vacation. Deferred compensation plan (457). Federal credit union. Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Variety of voluntary insurance plans, including long term care. Flexible spending account. Free parking.

APPLICATION: Please send in letter of interest and qualifications, resume, and the names of three professional references to Human Resources, PO Box 2270, Fort Wayne, IN 46801-2270; e-mail to; or fax to (260) 421-1389. For further information see our home page at

libraries and e-books

Libraries and Readers Wade Into Digital Lending

A recent article in the New York Times highlights ways that libraries are providing access to e-books and digital audio books for their patrons. E-books are certainly gaining in popularity at my institution. Most students actually seemed relieved when a book is online because that means they won’t have to brave the stacks at a large university library!

British Architect to Redesign City Library

New York Times reports about plans to renovate the New York Public Library:

Some are bound to question whether the library can raise the necessary funds, given the current financial crisis. But library officials said they were determined to press on. “We are committed to this program,” Ms. Marron said. “We recognize the world is different than what it was, and it might take a longer time. We’re not going to be foolhardy.” “Libraries are needed in times like this,” she added. “More people need to borrow books, to get job information — it’s free. So I think everybody strongly believes the library is needed more than ever.”

Cleveland Public Library: Fine Arts and Special Collections Blog

Here’s a great announcement for those of you interested in public librarianship and/or special collections. This message recently came across ARLIS-L:

The Cleveland Public Library recently launched its new Fine Arts and Special Collections blog — check out some of the great items posted !!

Their overall website design is very nice as well. This is an excellent example of integrated library catalog links on a blog, as well as a drop-down menu for directional questions!