Hello, ARLIS Members. I’m Deborah Kempe, and it was my honor to become President during the Toronto conference in March.
Speaking of Toronto, the post-conference surveys from our 40th anniversary conference are in, and they confirm the buzz: it was a great conference in a great city—jam-packed with programs, tours, and events that met our highest expectations. I was encouraged to see so many new faces in the mix, and to meet many of you who were attending for the first time.
Now a West Coast team is off and running to plan next year’s conference in Pasadena. It’s not too early to put in a plug for it, which I’ll do right now by showing off this custom designed water bottle which features the logo for next year’s theme, “Crafting our Future.” As you know, of course, Pasadena is a center of the American Arts & Crafts movement.. You can also see some Gilded Age architecture, some palm trees, and roses that represent the famous parade. Pasadena has it all and you won’t want to miss it. Put it on your calendars for next April 25 through 29. By the way, the bottle and other nifty logoed merchandise will be for sale later this year—you’ll soon be able to have your very own Pasadena fashion accessory.
Although the annual conference is a key event for bringing members together on a regular basis, programs and services to all of our members are ongoing throughout the year. The Board is paying a lot of attention these days to strengthening communication among the membership. We intend to leverage inexpensive and free communication tools that are available in the marketplace so that members of ARLIS/NA may more fully engage and connect with each other. We’re making progress on this front, with plans in formation for offering virtual conferences, more webinars, and meeting software for use by committees and other groups.
The Virtual Mentoring program, recently announced on ARLIS-L by Rachel Resnik and her subcommittee is off to a great start. Rachel tells me that there were 24 applicants on the first day alone. I urge all of you to participate in this new program that will be so important to the future of our profession.
Another bit of exciting news is the appearance of the inaugural issue of Art Documentation under the new publishing arrangement with the University of Chicago. The print copy should be arriving on your desks within the next two weeks. Here’s a preview of the cover of the spring issue. Each cover will be distinctive but eminently recognizable as Art Doc. Its new e-journal format, supported by JSTOR and Portico, will be welcomed by many and insures long-term preservation of our scholarly publishing record. A newly formed Editorial Board, together with our long-standing editor Judi Dyki, will guide this leading journal into a broader dissemination of current issues and trends . The first royalty check was received with delight last week; royalties will provide a welcome new stream of income to ARLIS/NA.
In yet another inaugural development that occurred just last week, our members on the East Coast hosted the first U.S. Study Tour for a group of 11 art librarians from Germany. Here’s a picture of them!
While the International Relations Committee has organized four Study Tours abroad for our own members, this was the first time we hosted a group coming over here. The outgoing chair of the IRC, Katie Keller, and the current chair Holly Hatheway, did a great job of scheduling an outstanding itinerary. The group visited libraries, archives, and museums in New York, New Haven, and Washington DC., and I can report firsthand that it was a great success, from the perspective of both guests and hosts, with lots of good discussion and discoveries all around. The ARLIS/NY and the DC/ Maryland/ Virginia chapters, local institutions, and local members provided great hospitality throughout the visit. I join our German visitors in thanking everyone who was involved in planning and hosting this successful tour.
On a few occasions, members have asked me what the platform of my presidency will be, or if I have a theme or special goals in mind. While thankfully, no campaigning was required for my role, there are areas, aside from the ongoing stewardship roles of leading a board, where I would like to make notable progress.
If I were to choose one goal, I would say it is to help make ARLIS/NA a more outward facing organization. Fortunately this aligns with the recently released strategic plan. Words like “outside, outreach, beyond, frontiers, reaching out, expand, and collaborate” flow like a current through the document. While we all value the special bonds facilitated by membership in a society that brings together colleagues with similar backgrounds, interests, and professional situations, we must acknowledge and respond to forces that are changing perceptions and realities of libraries and librarianship in a larger realm. Our continued existence demands that we do so, and I look forward to addressing some of these external issues in future messages.
The final point I want to share is that negotiations are well underway for a new contract with our Headquarters management company, Technical Enterprises Inc. The Executive Board will be addressing the agreement at its conference call on May 3. Meanwhile, an active search for a new conference and association manager is underway. Over the past month, TEI staff have stepped up and made a commendable effort to provide uninterrupted customer care services to our members.
I want to thank outgoing Board members Marilyn Russell, Tom Riedel, Sandy Brooke, and James Rout, for their exemplary service over the past two years—three years in Mari’s case for her presidential role. Jon Evans, Alan Michelson, Laurel Bliss, Sarah Carter, and Rina Vecchiola continue on the board this year, and are now joined by four new members: Gregg Most as Vice President; Daniel Payne as Canadian member at large; Deborah Barlow Smedstad as Treasurer; and Melanie Emerson as Communications and Publications Liaison. I assure you that our society remains in capable hands with this dedicated group of representatives.
The Executive Board and I look forward to keeping you regularly informed of the Society’s progress in further video messages. We invite your comments and suggestions as to how ARLIS/NA can continue to meet your professional needs. You can find our smiling faces, along with our email addresses, on the ARLIS website.

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