Interview with an Art Librarian: Kim Collins, Emory University

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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.

Job Posting – Library Assistant (P/T) – Brooklyn Museum

Library Assistant (P/T)—Libraries and Archives

(Part-time, temporary, non-union position)

Requirements: The ideal candidate must have experience working in a museum library setting; excellent and accurate communication and computer skills; the ability to perform detailed work such as creating, entering, and searching bibliographic data; and knowledge of library automated systems, such as OCLC and MARC formats. M.L.S. student preferred.

Responsibilities: The Library Assistant’s main responsibilities include ordering acquisitions and recording them into a shared Library Online Catalog; maintaining financial records and processing invoices; maintaining the stacks, including labeling, shelving, and shifting the collections; packaging and mailing interlibrary loans and other library projects; circulating materials to Museum staff; assisting both the Museum staff and the public onsite and via phone, letter, fax, and email; and photocopying, scanning, and other general office work.

Work schedule: 20 hours a week, Wednesday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., first Saturdays of the month from October to June, and possible late hours on Thursdays

To apply: Please send a résumé and cover letter via email to job.library.assistant@brooklynmuseum.org.

Job link here.

Our Virtual Conference Recordings Are Now Available!

webinar_400x250The recordings from our virtual conference are now available via the ARLIS/NA Learning Portal! These recordings are freely available to all.

Click here for all recordings!

Part One: Keynote Address and Student & New Professional Presentations

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Keynote Speaker, Elizabeth Lane
Student and New Professional Speakers: Kathryn Thornhill, Morgan McKeehan, Abigail Sadler, and Hannah Marshall
Student and New Professional Speakers: Kathryn Thornhill, Morgan McKeehan, Abigail Sadler, and Hannah Marshall

Part Two: New Initiatives in Art Archives

Panel Discussion featuring: Kristie MacDonald, founder of Archiving Art Imogen Smith, Project Manager at the Dance Heritage Coalition Caitlin Harrington and Seth Persons, students at Pratt Institute and NYARC Project members
Panel Discussion featuring:
Kristie MacDonald, founder of Archiving Art
Imogen Smith, Project Manager at the Dance Heritage Coalition
Caitlin Harrington and Seth Persons, students at Pratt Institute and NYARC Project members

Part Three: Student & New Professional Presentations

Nicole Lovenjak, Country Baron, Alexandra Kadlec, and Amber Welch
Nicole Lovenjak, Country Baron, Alexandra Kadlec, and Amber Welch

Part Four: Advice Roundtable

Suzanne Rackover, Managing Librarian, Paul D. Fleck Library & Archives, The Banff Centre Ashley Peterson, Librarian, School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston Molly Schoen, Information Resources/Technical Specialist, Visual Resources Collection, University of Michigan Amanda Meeks, Reference and Instruction Librarian, Savannah College of Art and Design ACA Library, Atlanta
Suzanne Rackover, Managing Librarian, Paul D. Fleck Library & Archives, The Banff Centre
Ashley Peterson, Librarian, School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Molly Schoen, Information Resources/Technical Specialist, Visual Resources Collection, University of Michigan
Amanda Meeks, Reference and Instruction Librarian, Savannah College of Art and Design ACA Library, Atlanta

Conversation with Erinn Paige and Laura Damon-Moore of The Library as Incubator Project (Part 1)

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Erinn Paige (left) and Laura Damon-Moore (right) are at the helm of The Library as Incubator Project. I recently talked with them about LAIP and their other endeavors.

What is Library As Incubator Project and what motivated you to embark on this adventure?

Laura: At this point, the Library as Incubator Project is a multifaceted information sharing machine. We continue to exist online, through our primary website and in social media neighborhoods. We’ve been lucky enough to publish a book based on and extending the work we do online. We also exist in “real life” through public presentations, professional development workshops, and in-person programs that we do for libraries and other cultural institutions.

At the most basic level, the LAIP began as a way to explore the connection between libraries and creative people. Erinn and I came to Library and Information services with backgrounds in the humanities and creative arts. So the LAIP started as a way to explore the connection of creativity, information, and community, to see how it happens formally and informally in the library setting, and then, because we were hearing so many great stories, we knew we had to share them with a wider audience.

What were/are some challenges and rewards in running Library As Incubator Project?

Erinn: It is a constant challenge to juggle a full time job and the LAIP, which could easily be a full time job in and of itself.  We’re both also artists in our own right (hence our interest in the library-arts connection), and supporting a creative life while sharing stories of other people’s creative lives can be a challenge too!

But the place that the whole project sprang from is an elegant support– it’s that egalitarian, helpful library space, AND it’s that hands-on creative space that you find in a studio environment.  We’re very project oriented, and so Laura and I and our team will take on individual LAIP projects that interest us, and when we hit obstacles, we have a whole team who can offer critique, just like you get in a studio:  what’s working, what isn’t, techniques that could help, skills and resources to apply. By the same token, we also really support one another in our creative pursuits.

Laura: I wish we had more time and more resources to do more, more, more! It was definitely a challenge to settle into a routine as we all graduated and juggled job stuff plus the LAIP. For a while it felt like there were a lot of balls up in the air and we were sort of scrambling to sort out who would catch which one as they fell.

Rewards have got to be the community that has developed around the LAIP. This ranges from our teammates, Katie and Holly, to our awesome site post contributors (cough cough, Rebecca, cough) to the people that we connect with on social media and in person at programs and conferences. When we go visit institutions and talk with people, people are generally excited to talk with us, but WE get so much MORE excited hearing about the amazing programs and partnerships people have going on. It’s the best and absolutely why I keep working on this.

What are your “day jobs” and how do they integrate with managing Library As Incubator Project?

Erinn: I’m the Programing Librarian at New Canaan Library in New Canaan Connecticut, which is a relatively new position for me– I just started in 2014.

Although the actual work of running the Library as Incubator Project ( web building, editing, writing, social media, presentations and conferences, etc etc) all happens on my own time, the philosophical underpinnings that guide our work on the LAIP transfer directly to programming librarianship– namely, that information isn’t always something that you can collect and slap a barcode on in order to provide access.  There’s a very real body of “creative information” (for lack of a better term) that can only be accessed in real-world connections: conversations with experts, hands-on learning opportunities, etc. Learning by doing.  Apprenticeship.

Working on the Library as Incubator Project has proven, again and again, that Libraries are central to not just an information exchange (resource –> person), but an information life cycle— people learn, people use what they learn to make something new; that new thing sparks conversation and more learning and more making and more sharing.  Through the Incubator, I’ve seen proof that we can be the alpha and omega of that life cycle, and I bring that ideal to work every day.  That’s what I want my library to be.

Laura: I am the Assistant Director at a small public library in Evansville, Wisconsin, just outside of Madison. My position focuses on Programming and Outreach, mainly with families and youth. I do everything from facilitating early literacy programs to running after school activities to planning and hosting special community programs on weekends, inside and outside of the library.

From a practical standpoint, I am able to integrate LAIP work into my routine pretty easily – I am 80% in my position at the library, so I have one weekday off where I can focus on other things, and luckily, at this point, the LAIP has become a natural part of my weekly rhythm and routine.

Like Erinn, the LAIP has done a lot in terms of directing the way that I approach my job philosophically. It’s about making a space where people feel welcome to explore, learn something new, experiment, fail, try it again, share their work, help others. From another practical standpoint, the LAIP means that we hear about a lot of awesome new initiatives and program ideas. It’s like a smorgasboard of creative arts programming that I get to pick and choose from, depending on what will work best for my community.

Be sure to catch part two of our conversation here tomorrow!

A Success Story: An Interview with Lindsey Reynolds

Lindsey Reynolds is the new(ish) Art Librarian at the Birmingham Museum of Art, in Birmingham, Alabama (http://www.artsbma.org). She’s graciously agreed to answer some questions for us here at ArLiSNAP.

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

I got my MLIS degree from the University of Alabama in December 2011. I was fortunate to receive the ARLIS/NA internship award that year, so I went to New York in the Spring of 2012 to intern with the New York Art Resources Consortium (MoMA, the Frick, and the Brooklyn Museum libraries). After that, I took an archiving job at an architecture firm in Atlanta. In mid-2013 I went back to New York to work at the Whitney as the Library Assistant. And last September I started as the Librarian at the Birmingham Museum of Art.

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

I had frequented the BMA as a student and really respected their permanent collection. I enjoy being at a smaller institution – I’ve gotten to know all of my colleagues and get to work on more museum-wide projects. The museum has recently challenged itself to grow from a regional clearing house for travelling exhibitions to a nationally-recognized and locally relevant museum, producing our own exhibitions and providing a socially-engaged, creative platform for our community. I’m excited to be a part of that change.

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

I have a few interns and volunteers, but I’m the only librarian at the museum which means I am responsible for both the library collection and the institutional archives. So far I’ve been getting familiar with the collection and doing some housekeeping. I’m planning a stacks shift for the summer, and am working on a records retention policy for the museum which will hopefully help to grow our institutional archive. I’m most excited to start acquiring artist’s books.

What is a typical day like for you?

My days vary tremendously, that’s one of my favorite parts of the job. Since I’m the only one, I can really tailor my day to suit my moods – some days I do a little bit of everything (policy writing, outreach, reference, acquisitions), other days I dedicate to one task (cataloging or processing usually), and other days I have so many meetings that I hardly get to sit down at my desk!

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

At first my biggest challenge felt like finding a job. Now that I’ve tried a few, I think one of the biggest challenges for me, and for museum libraries in general, is staying relevant and visible to my colleagues and to the public. It can be hard to push for more funding since libraries don’t typically generate income – I see it as an opportunity for creativity and collaboration.

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

There are so many opportunities out there! Look around and find a career path that suits you (see the “New Voices in the Profession” panel at the ARLIS/NA conference if you need ideas!)

When you’re applying for jobs pay attention to where the library falls in an institution’s hierarchy – it can tell you a lot about the institution’s priorities and their commitment to the library/archives department.

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

Oh geez – those are unanswerable questions. I’m pretty enamored with Etel Adnan’s work lately. I had never seen her artist’s books until the Whitney Biennial last year, and I think they’re great. I also really enjoy the things that the Office of Culture and Design are doing in the Philippines, especially the Manila Review. They are using publications as a platform for community engagement and are a great example of what social practitioners can achieve and keeping a sense of humor throughout it all.

Job Posting: Reference Librarian – SCAD, Savannah, GA

The Savannah School of Art and Design is seeking applicants for the position of Reference Librarian.

This position works with Reference Department staff and other library staff members to assist students, faculty and staff in their research and instruction needs. The Reference Librarian also assists in the promotion of library collections and services to the SCAD Community.
· ALA-accredited MLS or MLIS degree
· Ability to plan and provide library instruction that incorporates information literacy standards and current teaching practices
· Current knowledge in the library field to address general and subject-specific information resources and effective search strategies
· Up-to-date and knowledgeable about emerging technologies that support reference and instructional services
· Education or significant research experience in one or more subjects offered at SCAD
· Superior verbal, written and interpersonal communication skills
· Prior experience working collaboratively with faculty, students and staff in an academic library environment is preferred

Details and application instructions can be viewed at https://scadjobs.scad.edu/postings/9601.

Join Us for Visualizing the Future: New Perspectives in Art Librarianship!

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Our virtual conference is now open for registration! Check out our full line-up of spectacular speakers here.

This virtual conference will take place on Jan 17, 2015 at 12:00 PM CST.

Register now!

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/4374379886671502081

ArLiSNAP and VREPS are proud to present our virtual conference, Visualizing the Future: New Perspectives in Art Librarianship. This event will serve as a venue for students and new professionals to present, share advice, and discuss the future of our evolving profession. For a full schedule and list of presentations, please visit arlisnap.org.

This event is free and open to all; attendees do not need to be members of ARLIS/NA or VRA. Registration will close two hours before the start of the webinar. For assistance, please contact webinars@arlisna.org. Additional information about webinars is available on the ARLIS/NA Learning Portal.

This webinar will be recorded, and the video will be made available on the ARLIS/NA Learning Portal within two weeks after the webinar.

By registering, I understand and acknowledge that this Webinar will be recorded by ARLIS/NA and/or those designated by ARLIS/NA. ARLIS/NA may record my name and questions I ask during the course of the Webinar presentation. As a condition of my participation in the Webinar, I agree to irrevocably grant to ARLIS/NA, its assigns, licensees and successors the right to publish, record, broadcast, exhibit, display, reproduce, edit or otherwise use perpetually throughout the world, in all media now and hereafter known or devised, in whole or in part, my name, questions, quotes and material otherwise provided by me (collectively, the “Material”) during my participation in the Webinar. I also agree that ARLIS/NA shall be the sole owner in perpetuity of any and all rights in and to any and all works containing the Material, in whole or in part, for all purposes whatsoever and in any manner or media including, without limitation, printed works, compact discs, DVDs, MP3, and computer on line services.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

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