Art Libraries Society of North America | Mountain West Chapter Newsletter




Vol.10, No.1
Summer 2011

Chair's Column
Mountain West Virtual Conference: Fall 2011
Chapter Meeting Minutes: Minneapolis | April 2011
Chapter Liaison Report
Spotlight on Institutions & Collections
Member Highlights
2012 ARLIS/NA Conference: Toronto

Chair's Column
Contributed by Meredith Kahn

Greetings, fellow Mountain West members! It was a pleasure to see many of you in Minneapolis this spring during our second joint conference with the Visual Resources Association (VRA). Our time in Minneapolis gave us a unique opportunity to connect with colleagues across both geographic and professional boundaries. The positive energy generated by our collaborative event has already begun to bear fruit, as both ARLIS/NA and VRA continue robust discussions about future opportunities for joint conferences. Minutes from our chapter meeting in Minneapolis are available at: [PDF].

While in Minneapolis, I hope many of you had the opportunity to congratulate Heather Kline, the 2011 recipient of our Winberta Yao Travel Award. Heather earned her MLIS in 2007 from the University of Alabama, and is currently enrolled in the graduate art history program at the University of New Mexico, where she also works as a research assistant in the Bunting Visual Resources Library. Heather’s report on her experience in Minneapolis is available in this newsletter. Congratulations, Heather!

Our chapter’s recent experience with virtual business meetings and chapter conferences was a hot topic of conversation in Minneapolis, and our efforts were cited as an example of innovation and creative problem solving. Though we might be (numerically) small, our reputation precedes us. I am happy to announce that Peggy Keeran, our Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect, will be coordinating the planning and implementation of our second virtual chapter conference, which will be held Thursday, November 3, 2011. Save the date!

In the coming months, you’ll hear more from Peggy about soliciting programming and ironing out details. As a chapter, we learned a lot from our first virtual conference, and chapter officers look forward to creating an even more engaging and valuable experience for our members. While virtual conferences will likely become a routine event for many ARLIS/NA chapters going forward, the officers of Mountain West continue to understand the importance of in-person meetings. In fact, tentative plans for an in-person chapter conference are already emerging for 2012.

This fall our Past Chair, Marly Helm, will be heading the Nominating Committee and seeking candidates for two officer positions: Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect and Secretary/Treasurer. The election will be held in December. If you have not held an officer position, please consider stepping forward to serve. Service as a chapter officer is an excellent way to contribute to the work of our organization. If you have questions about either position, please feel free to contact current chapter officers.

I look forward to another successful virtual chapter conference in November. Until then, best wishes for a pleasant and productive summer!

Meredith Kahn
ARLIS/NA Mountain West Chapter Chair
Art & Architecture Librarian
University of Colorado, Boulder



the date

Mountain West Virtual Conference

November 3

Deadline for submissions: August 15, 2011

Mountain West Virtual Conference: Fall 2011

Thursday, November 3, is your opportunity to learn, engage, contribute, connect and attend a conference without leaving the comforts of your home or office. The 2011 Mountain West Virtual Conference will be virtual, real-time, and web-based using the GoToWebinar software.

Though sponsored and organized by the ARLIS/NA Mountain West Chapter, our virtual conference will be open to the larger community of art information professionals, including librarians and visual resources curators in academic, museum, corporate, and other environments. You do not need to be a member of the Mountain West Chapter to submit proposals or participate in the conference as an attendee. Registration fees will be $30 for ARLIS/NA Mountain West members, and $40 for all other participants.

Conference programming should address one or more of the following themes:

  • Discovery: how new tools such as next generation OPACs, federated searching, discovery services, document delivery, and more are changing the way our users find and interact with information resources
  • Literacy: information professionals’ response to a changing information environment through outreach, education, marketing, and promotion
  • Practice: innovative new tools for productivity and collaboration

The conference themes presented above are not meant to be exhaustive or literal. Feel free to interpret them creatively and to include viewpoints we have not anticipated. Proposals that allow for significant discussion and dialogue between presenters and attendees are strongly encouraged. We hope to make this virtual chapter conference a lively, engaging, and valuable experience for participants.

A paper is a proposal for a 15-20 minute presentation on a topic of your choice.

A session is a proposal for a presentation of up to 3 papers on related topics.

Deadline for submissions: August 15, 2011

Guidelines for Submission:

Please send the following to Peggy Keeran, ARLIS/NA Mountain West Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect at

  • type of proposal (paper or session)
  • 250-word abstract
  • list of participant(s)
  • institutional affiliation and contact information for presenter(s) and organizer(s)
  • anticipated length of time needed for paper or session proposed

Chapter Meeting Minutes: Minneapolis: March 26, 2011

Minutes of the ARLIS-NA Mountain West Chapter Business Meeting held on March 26, 2011 are available online at:



Chapter Liaison
Contributed by Laurel Bliss

Hello Mountain West chapter members! I'm settling in to my position as Chapters Liaison, and I wanted to fill you in on some of the topics that the Executive Board has been discussing in our monthly conference calls. One major area we're focusing on is improving communication and making Board activities more transparent to our members. This effort ties in with the draft strategic plan, which seeks to "provide measures to improve communication across the organization, enhancing relations among and between the Executive Board, committees, divisions, special interest groups, chapters and liaisons." We're considering having someone in charge of managing content on an ARLIS/NA blog, which would push information to other social media sites. Updating our administrative documents is another step in ensuring that the information on our website is current and useful to our members.

On the horizon is implementing a listserv for chapter leaders, using the lsoft software. This was Vanessa Kam's idea, and I believe that it's a useful way for chapters to communicate with each other and share ideas on a more regular basis than just once a year at conference.

Another important avenue of communication is through chapter meetings. Of course it's handy when a board member belongs to a chapter (such as treasurer Tom Riedel being a Mountain West member), because it allows that person to bring back concerns directly to the board as well as answer questions. I've started posting chapter meetings on the board's calendar, so we can see at a glance what's going on and where. Personally, I'm hoping that other chapters will follow your lead and host virtual meetings and conferences, so that more people can attend and collaborate.

That's all for now! Feel free to contact me at if you have any questions. Happy Summer,

Laurel Bliss
ARLIS/NA Chapters Liaison
Fine Arts Librarian
San Diego State University


Report by the Recipient of the 2011 Winberta Yao Travel Award
Contributed by Heather Kline

I was honored to be awarded this year’s Winberta Yao travel award to attend the joint ARLIS/VRA conference in Minneapolis. As a full time student completing my MA in art history at the University of New Mexico, this was a wonderful opportunity for me to see art librarians in action, brainstorming, collaborating, and doing what I have been preparing to do through my education and experience. Not only was the conference a rich source of information on innovative trends and projects in art librarianship and visual resources management, it was also a rewarding experience of collegiality and new connections.

Perhaps the most rewarding experience of all was my involvement in the Career Mentoring Workshop. On the first day of the conference I met my mentor Barbara Rominski, who is the art librarian at San Francisco MOMA. Along with breaking out into brainstorming groups and learning some key concepts about the mentoring relationship, the workshop gave us an opportunity to get to know each other and talk about our career experiences. Throughout the conference, Barbara introduced me to colleagues, advised me on events to attend, and was overall an invaluable resource and sounding board. Our mentoring relationship continues through the year, and her advice has already been extremely useful.

Another conference experience that was very valuable was the chance to meet people I had known only as names on an electronic discussion board. On Friday I attended the New Members and First Time Attendees Breakfast, where I mingled with my peers and got to know many people in the organization. It was a good opportunity to connect up with familiar faces through the course of the conference. The Mountain West chapter meeting was another great way for me to put names with faces and truly feel part of the organization. Other highlights include attending the Saturday luncheon and ARLIS business meeting, along with the more casual events and coffee breaks. These times were especially useful networking opportunities.

I also took the opportunity to attend as many sessions as possible. There were many memorable presentations, but here are some of the highlights: “Case Studies I,” a panel discussion where I learned about the creative projects underway at a variety of institutions; “Engaging New Technologies,” which was another panel presenting innovative ways to integrate social media applications and other technologies into library workflow; and “Images Unleashed,” where the speakers proposed various ways in which images can be integrated into curricula and research tools within disciplines not traditionally associated with (but perfectly suited for) visual image utilization .

In all ways, this conference was a great experience. It allowed me new ways to collaborate and new perspectives on the field of art librarianship. Thank you again, Mountain West Chapter!

Heather Kline MLIS/MA Candidate
University of New Mexico


Spotlight on Institutions & Collections

Craft and Folk Art Museum (CAFAM) Institutional Archives Soon Available Online
Contributed by Joan Benedetti

Processing of 32 Years of CAFAM Records Including Photos, Video, Memorabilia, Completed by Retired Mountain West Chapter Member Joan Benedetti

A 13-year project is coming to a close for new MW chapter member Joan Benedetti now that the finding aid for the institutional records (1975 – 1997) of the Craft and Folk Art Museum (CAFAM) in Los Angeles and its predecessor, The Egg and The Eye Gallery (1965 – 1975), has been completed. Since moving to Santa Fe 19 months ago from Santa Monica, California, Benedetti, a long-time ARLIS/NA member (and CAFAM’s Museum Librarian from 1976 – 1997), has been working to complete the editing of the finding aid. It will be going online within the next few weeks on the website of the Online Archive of California. (After August 1, go to: and search for “Craft and Folk Art Museum.”)

The collection had been given to UCLA’s Arts Special Collections in 1998 when CAFAM closed--temporarily, as it turned out. Working at UCLA just a few days each week, by the end of 2008 Benedetti had organized the 270 cartons discovered when the museum was preparing to close, and she had completed the processing of about half of the archives. Up to that point, the processing had been done entirely by Benedetti. In 2009 the collection was taken under the wing of a special unit of UCLA Special Collections called the Center for Primary Research and Training (CFPRT), which hires graduate students to work on archival collections that would otherwise languish. Kelley Bachli (a former ARLIS/Southern California Chapter Chair) was the CFPRT Coordinator at the time. She and two other UCLA Graduate School of Library and Information Science students helped Benedetti to complete the processing and convert the finding aid from a Word document to an Access database.

The archival collection documents 32 years of CAFAM history and may be of interest to scholars of museology; collecting, especially folk art and contemporary craft collecting; ethnic and cultural studies; Los Angeles history; and women’s studies, among other areas. The collection, which includes board, staff, and exhibition papers, publications, slides, photographs, audio- and videotapes, films, posters, and memorabilia is 246.5 linear feet plus 56 oversize boxes in extent, and is one of the largest archives in UCLA Special Collections and may be the largest museum archive in the Online Archive of California.

CAFAM was an important influence on folk art, contemporary craft, and design collecting, having exhibited these items as art objects for 22 years (1975 - 1997). It's predecessor, the commercial gallery, The Egg and The Eye (1965 - 1975), was a well-loved social and arts center that promoted folk art and contemporary crafts from around the world at a time when handmade objects and what were called "ethnic cultures" were attracting interest from curators and collectors as well as from scholars. It's restaurant, which took over the name of the gallery when the gallery became a museum, specialized in over 50 different kinds of omelettes, and was a popular gathering place.

Some of the activities that showed CAFAM to be different from other museums of the time were: fieldwork done to discover and document 27 Los Angeles folk artists; a Slide Registry of Contemporary Craftspeople that was a marketing tool for craft artists; and an annual citywide multi-cultural event, the Festival of Masks, co-sponsored by the City and County of L.A., that attracted hundreds of performers and vendors and thousands of Festival-goers. A "think tank," the Center for the Study of Art and Culture, funded by the James Irvine Foundation, was intended to attract "alternative scholars"; the Center (an adjunct of the Research Library) sponsored a series of workshops for museum workers in 1993 called "Diversity and Inclusion: Making It Happen in Your Museum" whose participants included staff and board members from 19 area museums. All of these activities, as well as 185 Egg and The Eye exhibitions and 142 CAFAM exhibitions are documented in the CAFAM archives at UCLA.

An article in last summer’s MW Newsletter (Vol. 9, No. 1) introduced Benedetti as a new chapter member and described several of her post-retirement projects.

Craft and Folk Art Museum, Los Angeles, CA

New Exhibit Space in University of Wyoming’s Coe Library
Contributed by Jennifer Mayer

Exhibit space — Afghan women portraits and text by Peggy Kelsey

The University of Wyoming Libraries have a new exhibit space in the long hallway outside of the Special Collections Department. An Arakawa hanging rail system was installed on both sides of the hall to support rotating exhibits. (I highly recommend Arakawa, it is a fantastic product.) This new exhibit space is open to the UW campus for exhibits sponsored by various departments and programs across campus. Our first exhibit (pictured) was sponsored by the Gender and Women’s Studies Program and featured the portraits and stories of Afghan women through the eyes of photographer Peggy Kelsey. Ms. Kelsey gave a talk at the library on her work, and later various GWMST classes visited to get a closer look at the portraits and text.

Our next scheduled exhibit is "Laramie: A Gem City Atlas," sponsored by the University of Wyoming MFA Program in Creative Writing, the University of Wyoming Art Museum, the Haub School of Environmental and Natural Resources & the Social Justice Research Center.


Art in the Library Website
Contributed by Jennifer Mayer


In other news, Jennifer Mayer created a University of Wyoming Art in the Library website, which is a work in progress, to provide images, background and location information for the various artwork that appears in the UW Libraries:

Native Artists Files at IAIA Opened to Public Research
Contributed by Ryan S. Flahive

Researching contemporary Native artists can be frustrating for seasoned scholars and casual researchers alike; few databases exist, records are strewn from coast to coast, and the available data is difficult to locate. However, the recently opened Native Artists Files at the Archives of the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) in Santa Fe may help alleviate some of the frustration.

The compilation of IAIA-MS014, Native Artists Files began at the IAIA Museum in the early 1970s. Over the years, files on IAIA associated artists, as well as Native artists who did not attend IAIA and non-Native artists who work with Native themes were developed. Essentially biographical vertical files, the files contain newspaper articles, magazine articles, exhibit catalogs, and other common secondary materials. Important primary materials such as artists’ statements and 35mm slides of their work are also included. Oversight and management of the files was transferred from the Museum to the Archives in early 2011.

Nearly 4,200 Native Artists Files are currently open for research at the IAIA Archives and a detailed file level finding aid has been published. Future work on the files includes the development of file bibliographies, a system to update and add to the files, and an online database. Please visit the IAIA Archives website and the Rocky Mountain Online Archive for more information on our repository or contact Ryan S. Flahive, Archivist—

Tucson Museum of Art’s Historic Block Homes: A Window on Bygone Days Online
Contributed by C. Alexandria Caster

Southern Southern Pacific Railroad Band, circa 1910

As the recent happy recipient of a Masters degree, I have found myself reflecting back on the journey of learning I undertook during my graduate studies at the School of Information Resources and Library Science University of Arizona. In addition to the great value of becoming a member of ARLIS/NA-MW and attending the annual meeting in Boston in April 2010, one of the most valuable experiences I had as a student was the opportunity to work as an intern at the Tucson Museum of Art Research Library. My internship last fall allowed me to undertake an engaging and multi-faceted project—the creation of a digital collection for the Arizona Memory Project ( from materials selected from TMA’s Historic Block Archives.

The varied materials in the Historic Block archive were assembled in the 1970s by Bettina O’Neil Lyons, former Curator of Historic Sites for the Tucson Museum of Art. She conducted extensive research as part of the restoration of the Historic Block, comprised of the five houses built between the mid-1850s to 1907 surrounding the modern museum building that houses most of the galleries. This research included many interviews with surviving relatives of earlier inhabitants of these homes who provided invaluable materials such as copies of photographs and family anecdotes reflecting life in Tucson in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Ms. Lyons created and published informative booklets about each of the historic homes. These booklets, however, were not widely available until now and were not able to include photographs and documents due to the technological limitations of the early 1980’s. After meeting with Ms. Lyons to discuss the collection, we determined that these booklets should be scanned in their entirety for the digital collection. In addition, a selection of twenty historic photographs from the families of former residents of the Historic Block homes was selected for the exhibit. This small digital collection was conceived as a first phase of a project upon which library staff can continue to build as additional materials are gathered and additional copyright permissions are obtained.

Working with Richard Prouty, director of the Arizona Memory Project, on this digital collection was a privilege and a pleasure—his careful instruction on metadata standards, CONTENTdm software and collection design were truly invaluable. This digital exhibit was also greatly enhanced by my supervisor, TMA Librarian Lisa Waite Bunker, whose enthusiasm, guidance and mentorship were invaluable throughout the entire process. This experience helped me gain an expanded understanding of the special role and needs of art and museum libraries, as well as a real passion for the potential of historic, artistic and photographic digitization projects to help connect cultural institutions and their communities in new ways. In addition, as a result of completing this project I have gained a greater knowledge about the architectural, historical and cultural legacy of the Old Pueblo and my contextual understanding of the region and my cultural competence has been greatly enhanced. This has served me well in my new role as Collections Librarian at the Arizona Historical Society where I have enthusiastically embarked on the creation of new digital collections about Arizona history which will also serve to highlight the importance of archival photographs, historic documents and museum collections while making them more accessible to researchers around the world.

You can visit my digital collection at:

Tucson Museum of Art Historic Block Homes: A Window on Bygone Days

Tucson Museum of Art Research Library website

Innovative Program on Book Arts at the University of Colorado, Boulder
Contributed by Meredith Kahn

This summer the University Libraries at CU-Boulder hosted a number of events related to book arts, including exhibits, artists’ talks, and workshops. The series, “Book Craft: Deconstructing, Unhinging, Decomposing,” explores the materiality of the book as both art and object. Dozens of artists’ books by members of the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the Guild of Book Workers (GBW) will be on display in both the east and west lobbies of Norlin Library on the Boulder campus through September 2011. Videos associated with the series are also available online, including “What is a book? What is an artist’s book” by book artist Peter Thomas, and “Papermaking and the History of Paper” by Denver-based papermaker and artist Ray Tomasso. The “Book Craft” series is sponsored by ScriptaLab, an initiative of the University Libraries to explore the material and cultural importance of both print and electronic media. For more information, contact James P. Ascher, Assistant Professor and Rare Book Cataloger at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Arizona State Museum Library and Archives Merge
Contributed by Marly Helm

The Arizona State Museum and Archives is located on
the second floor of the historic UA building.
The Arizona State Museum Library and Archives have merged their departments. With the retirement of ASM Archivist Alan Ferg in January, the Library assumed responsibilities for the Archives. Mary Graham, Head Librarian, describes the merger as “necessary, due to budget cuts, and fantastic, as the Archives will remain open for research”. In July, Amy Rule, recently retired from the University of Arizona’s Center for Creative Photography will begin a part-time, temporary position in the Archives.

Pál Kelemen Papers Online
Contributed by Marly Helm

Hans Bart, past ASM Librarian, (left)
and Pál Kelemen
The ASM Archives added the Pál Kelemen Papers finding aid to Arizona Archives Online. This collection consists of Kelemen’s professional and personal correspondence, lecture tour notes and correspondence, personal journals, book project notes, published and unpublished articles, newspaper clippings, art gallery programs, exhibition booklets, historical city guides and maps and other items related to Latin American artwork, as well as, Medieval Spanish Colonial artwork. Kelemen (1894-1993) was an archaeologist, art historian, and international art lecturer who helped bring a new perspective to Pre-Columbian artwork. He was one of the first to recognize the importance of Medieval Spanish Colonial artwork of the Americas.

Brigham Young University: Art in the Library Program
Contributed by Christiane Erbolato-Ramsey

"Art in the Library" Program Celebrates 10 Years

The Harold B. Lee Library celebrated 10 years of hosting its "Art in the Library" program. The mission of the program has been to create a dynamic cultural center in the Lee Library, to foster intellectual and creative activities in the visual and media arts, and to act as liaison with other academic departments on campus. The Art in the Library Committee has been installing simultaneous exhibits in four different areas of the library, rotating very 2-3 months.  We have hosted a total of 96 student and 52 visiting artist exhibitions to date. These have included the work of undergraduate and graduate Visual Arts, Communications, and Media Arts students through a variety of media such as paintings, prints, sculptures, glass, photography, ceramics, artist books, quilts, car and furniture designs, illustration, graphic design, advertising competitions, mixed media, and various mixed media works including a live garden and a fantasy metal puppet show.

The Art in the Library program has also contributed to mentoring students and strengthening their academic and professional experience. By exhibiting their work in the library, they have had the opportunity to write a formal proposal for the exhibition, design the presentation, work with the art in the Library Committee, and evaluate their success as they prepare for a professional career in visual arts.  The program has also supported the invitation of several prominent local visiting artists, who have not only enriched the space, but also provided inspiration to the students.

There are current plans to add a small space near the Humanities Reference area to host video installations and new media, a recent focus in the academic department programs.  Visit our website for current, past, and upcoming art exhibitions.


Panels illustrating 10-year anniversary of past exhibitions in the library.

Smart Space area.

"Smart Space" Installation in the Library

The Lee Library Humanities Department is now also home to a "Smart Space" display area, curated entirely by visual arts students.  This satellite art box was installed to help integrate curricular activities by visual arts students in other buildings on campus, including the library.  Every couple of months there is a new rotating installation in this space, which is entirely coordinated through students and the Fine Arts Dept. Gallery Director.

These small exhibitions provide students with an opportunity to curate a small satellite space outside of their building, as well as to work with the demands of the local area.  This project has also increased the traffic in the library, bringing more students to the reference area to see what the next installation will be. Students are currently planning on setting up five additional "Smart Space" displays in other libraries and campus buildings throughout the state of Utah.

Adam Bateman, The Fourth Thousand Years,
books, 2011

Books as Art: BYU Museum of Art Exhibition


The BYU Museum of Art is currently hosting The Matter of Words: Adam Bateman, Harrell Fletcher, and John Fraser until November 26, 2011. 

The exhibition features 46 works of art by these three contemporary artists, representing the medium of the printed word and "transcend the original contexts of their subjects, while giving expression to the powerful formal properties of their media."


Member Highlights
Contributed by Marly Helm

C. Alexandria Caster

C. Alexandria Caster graduated from the University of Arizona’s School of Information Resources and Library Science in May 2011. Alexandria was the Mountain West Chapter’s Winberta Yao Travel Award recipient in 2010. Alexandria was recently hired as a Librarian at the Arizona Historical Society, Tucson, Arizona.


Marly Helm

Marly Helm was awarded Continuing Status and promotion to Associate Librarian at the University of Arizona, Arizona State Museum in July 2010 and begins a year-long sabbatical on July 1, 2011. Her research efforts will focus on the self-publishing industry and the future of cataloging.


Jennifer Mayer

Jennifer Mayer was elected Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect of the ACRL Women and Gender Studies Section. She begins her term as Vice-Chair on July 1, 2011. She will remain active in ARLIS/NA and the Mountain West Chapter.


Nina Stephenson

After twenty years at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, Nina Stephenson retired from her Art Librarian position on May 1, 2011. She is negotiating the details of a .25 FTE return to work in the fall of 2011 to perform some of her previous duties. She is enjoying more time to pursue her own artwork and is taking a summer printmaking class at the University of New Mexico. Her email address will remain in effect and she will remain a member of ARLIS/NA and the Mountain West Chapter for the time being.


Emily Weirich

Emily Weirich joined the Mountain West Chapter as a new member. Emily earned her BS in Visual Communication from Ohio University, and is currently a student at the University of Arizona, where she is working on her MA in Art History. During the past academic year, she worked as a graduate assistant at the Center for Creative Photography's Research Center. She plans to finish her degree at UA this summer, is currently looking for work, and hopes to begin working on a MS in Library Science in the near future.



2012 ARLIS/NA Conference: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Conference Website


Conference Hotel:
Sheraton Centre



Newsletter Editor:
Marly Helm, Arizona State Museum Library, University of Arizona

Online Editor:
Christiane Erbolato-Ramsey, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University

22 July 2011