Art Libraries Society of North America | Mountain West Chapter Newsletter




Vol.1, No.2
Fall/Winter 2002-03



Dear ARLIS/Mountain West Members,

A year ago I attended your wonderful meeting in Las Vegas. I was impressed with the strength and ambition of one of our smaller chapters, and still remember the lively sessions (who could forget the showgirl?), fascinating tours, and chance to meet new colleagues. I know you had hoped you could show all this off to the Society as a whole in 2005, and I wish this could have happened. You've known for a while that your invitation to host the 2005 conference was not accepted at the Mid-Year Executive Board Meeting. I just want to express my personal regrets that the very special physical requirements for hosting one of our conferences could not be met in Las Vegas at this time. I hope you do not let this disappointment prevent you from offering to hold the conference in the future. I know that with your abilities we could have a marvelous time.

Sorry I missed your last meeting. I wish I could have been there.

Looking forward to seeing you in Baltimore.

Yours truly,

Daniel Starr
President, ARLIS/NA



Well, my term as chair ends Dec. 31 so I guess this will be my last column before becoming past chair. Soon after, at the Baltimore conference, I will start my term as vice-president president elect of "big" ARLIS. I will take what I have learned of the chapter's workings, along with a keen awareness of the skills and enthusiasm of its members, with me! We touched on many chapter needs and potential initiatives at the business meeting in Cody. I will not repeat what Peggy Keeran so ably reported [ see the Business Meeting Minutes ]. I would however, like to report on the latest developments.

Member survey . We had talked about possibly using a survey the Northern California chapter sent to their membership to get a better idea of what members and potential members might find of value. However, it did not really line up with what we want to know, such as, what kind of conference programming has or might serve our members. So the Membership Committee -- Eumie, Peggy, Polly -- with some input from the Executive Committee -- Frances, Chris and I [and Peggy who is on both!] -- will be working on drafting a survey instead.

2003 chapter conference . We will hold our annual conference in conjunction with three other chapters, to form a Western Regional Conference. Mountain West chapter, along with the Northwest chapter [who is the instigator!], the Northern California chapter and the Southern California chapter will all meet in Portland July 31 - Aug. 3. The theme is "ArtWorks/BookWorks: Craft and Documentation in the Digital Age," with supplemental activities already being discussed. Our new vice chair chair-elect will serve as the Mountain West rep on the conference planning group.

Chapter history. This is underway! Genni has gone through boxes of files to pin down officers for the period when the chapter was ARLIS/Arizona. Peggy is working on the Mountain West period, 1996/1997 onward. [Amazingly, even though it is a short period and recent, we already have information gaps!] Eventually material on officers, award winners, conference sites and programs, and whatever else is deemed of interest,
will go onto the chapter web pages.

Bylaws. Several forces have converged to spark an interest in revising the bylaws, including the flurry of activity and voting since Cody, and a recognition that the distribution of responsibilities amongst the officers has shifted. The Executive Committee is working on this and will have draft changes ready for discussion in the next couple of months.

Conference Handbook . Although there is some conference planning guidance in the bylaws in terms of timing, Chris, Frances and I -- as the three most recent chapter conference planners -- have decided to see if we can expand upon it and get what we worked through into a more permanent format than memory! This seems like a good time to document the practices we have been following, since next year we will not have a standard Mountain West conference. No promises on the timing on this! As you can see there is lots going on!! And this doesn't even begin to talk about the web site, the Mountain West arts resources project, the membership committee activities, and the newsletter [all of which are in the minutes for the business meeting, and possibly in the newsletter itself!].

If anyone would be interested in playing a more active role, let's talk! And thanks to all those contributing their time and energy to ARLIS Mountain West!

Jeanne Brown
Head, Architecture Studies Library
University of Nevada-Las Vegas



The ARLIS/NA Executive Board welcomes its incumbent members. Special congratulations to ARLIS/Mountain West Chapter Chair Jeanne Brown, incoming ARLIS/NA Vice President/President-Elect! The other new members are: Judith Herschman (Secretary), Suzy Frechette (Midwest Regional Representative), Carol H. Graney (Northeast Regional Representative), and Laura M. Schwartz (South Regional Representative). I look forward to working with all the new members next year and into 2004.

I had a great time at the ARLIS/Mountain West chapter business meeting in Cody, Wyoming. It was a truly memorable and enjoyable experience. Many thanks to Frances Clymer and the Buffalo Bill Historical Center for hosting the meeting.

The ARLIS/Southern California chapter held its business meeting in Culver City, California, on November 1, 2002. Unfortunately I was unable to attend this meeting due to illness.

On November 15, I attended the ARLIS/Northern California chapter business meeting. This was a combined meeting with the Northern California chapter of VRA and the California chapter of the Museum Computer Network (MCN) held at Stanford University. After informal welcome refreshments, ARLIS and VRA members held their business meetings. The primary concerns of ARLIS/NC this year are recruiting and retaining chapter members and finding members willing to serve as chapter officers.

The session program of the meeting was a demonstration of Luna Insight software presented by David Rumsey, President of Cartography Associates, San Francisco, and Director of Luna Imaging, Los Angeles. Glen Worthey, Computing Information Systems Analyst of the Humanities Digital Information Services at Stanford University, gave an overview of the implementation of Luna Insight at Stanford. After lunch, members toured Stanford's Art Library, heard a brief update on ArtSTOR, and toured the art collections on the Stanford campus, including the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts.

ARLIS/Northwest will hold its business meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia, on December 6-7. The program will include tours of the Vancouver Public Library digital photo collection and special collections, the Tom Thomson exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery, and a demonstration of a virtual reference desk.

Kay Teel
West Regional Representative



At the Chapter Business Meeting in Cody, I reported on the Membership Committee. Most of the state coordinators for the Membership Committee compiled and submitted their potential membership lists. These lists were given to Peggy Keeran who will compile an overall list. This extended list will include people who had been involved in the chapter in the past. The membership application form will be sent out, and all contacts will be made before the end of December.

It was decided that Peggy, Polly Trump, and I will compile a survey to send out to both members and potential members. This survey will help determine what members want to get out of the ARLIS/MW chapter. It was suggested that current members reach out to potential and lapsed members within each state to encourage them to join the chapter. We encourage this outreach on a personal level -- give lapsed or potential members a telephone call, invite them to a luncheon meeting, or have a small state meeting for members who can't attend the regional or national conferences.

Chapter functions and expectations of members were discussed at length. Because the MW Chapter is geographically spread out, we especially appreciate the Regional Conference because it provides us with an opportunity to learn about regional collections and to get together with our colleagues. The MW Chapter also offers us with professional opportunities to serve as an officer or as a conference speaker, which can lead to more opportunities at the national level in ARLIS/NA.

Submitted by
Eumie Imm-Stroukoff
Librarian and Archives Manager
Georgia O'Keeffe Museum


The Artist Biography as Film

Our first session on Friday was presented by Peggy Keeran, Art & Humanities Reference Librarian at Penrose Library (University of Denver). Peggy offered a fascinating talk about how artist biographies have been portrayed by Hollywood. Peggy viewed a number of films and discussed how each represented artists, their craft, and their work. Films discussed included:

Rembrandt (1936) with Charles Laughton
Lust for Life (1956) with Kirk Douglas
The Agony and the Ecstasy (1965) with Charlton Heston and Rex Harrison
Camille Claudel (1988) with Isabella Adjani and Gerard Depardieu
Carrington (1995) with Emma Thompson and Jonathan Pryce
Artemisia (1997) with Valentina Cervi and Miki Manojlovic
Basquiat (1996) with Jeffrey Wright

All enjoyed Peggy's presentation immensely and several attendees encouraged her to continue to develop this topic for presentation at "big" ARLIS.

Cataloging by Yourself in the 21st Century: Hints for the One-person Shop

The second presentation of the day was by Sherman Clarke, Head of Original Cataloging at New York University. Sherman discussed using Library of Congress authority records and other library catalogs to find the information needed. As there were a number of solo librarians, after a brief discussion, it was agreed that the discussion might continue over dinner.

Submitted by Polly Trump
Architecture Librarian, University of Arizona

Simpson Gallagher Gallery

On Friday evening, we were greeted by Susan Simpson Gallagher, our host for the welcome reception at the Simpson Gallagher Gallery. Just inside the entrance to the gallery, Susan set up a tantalizing spread of refreshments and food for us to enjoy. As we mingled and admired artwork by such regional artists as William Reese, William Matthews, Kathy Wipfler, and Joel Ostlind, Susan was on hand and available to talk about each of the artists' works.

Book artist Jill Timm of Mystical Places Press also attended the reception. Jill's miniature and tunnel books were displayed in the gallery. It provided us with the wonderful opportunity to handle the books and admire the skill and craftsmanship in creating these works. Jill was also available to answer any questions that we had.

The chapter and its invited guests thoroughly enjoyed the evening. A special thanks goes to Susan for generously hosting the reception and donating the refreshments for the welcome party.

Submitted by
Eumie Imm-Stroukoff

The Making of Yellowstone Winter -- An Artist Book

Saturday morning began with an informative and inspiring presentation by Jill Timm, graphic designer, photographer, artist, and now full-time book artist. She discussed the development of her miniature book Yellowstone Winter. Through visual documentation, she presented both her creative and application processes. As a lover of outdoors environments and habitats, Jill gains her inspiration by experiencing places. This book developed from a winter trip through Yellowstone. Eventually, a series of artist books on Yellowstone would develop from this initial experience. Jill found not only the setting of mountains and valleys an influence on her artistic senses but also the presence of the snow and thermal activities contributed a mystical element which she appreciates. The presence of buffalo and other wildlife, waterfalls, geysers, patterns in water, shadows on snow and ice also had a distinct influence on her experience in the area and ultimately on the conceptualization of this book.

As with other forms, the book's development went through several stages. The conceptual process began while Jill was still in the Park and continued many days thereafter. Sketches and drawing helped develop ideas as did reviewing the photographs of her visit. The photographs would play a major role in the book; however, there were other elements to consider. These included determining the size, the paper, the format, and other features Jill identified as necessary to the project. Several rough mock-ups were experienced, as well as changes in the selection and layout of the images.

Ultimately, Jill identified the images to use and their order in the book, then went into production using a slide scanner, computer, photoshop software and a six color printer. Additional dummy books followed to test the flow of the work and alterations were made. Eventually, the pages were printed, covers made, end sheets, title page and colophon prepared, and the books were assembled. For some of the copies, Jill also made cases.

The final product was an edition of 35 and was entitled Yellowstone Winter. As mentioned the book is a miniature and is an accordion format on acid free paper. Ribbon and a very small pewter buffalo are used to secure the book. Jill has many other ideas for artists books so watch for her work! Visit her web site at to view Yellowstone Winter and other of her exciting books.

Submitted by
Nancy Pistorius, University of New Mexico

Seth Eastman: Illustrating the Indian Condition

Sarah E. Boehme, John S. Bugas Curator of the Whitney Gallery of Western Art, followed next with an interesting presentation titled "Seth Eastman: Illustrating the Indian Condition." She compared Eastman's way of painting Native Americans with the styles and subject matters of other artists known for like work, George Catlin and Karl Bodmer. Boehme discussed the influence Mary Eastman had on her husband's work. She reminded us that Eastman was an illustrator who saw "painting the Indian as a way of knowing the Indian." He focused on ceremony and every day life, producing works that were more sociological than individual portraits.

Submitted by Polly Trump
Architecture Librarian, University of Arizona

Spirit, Symbols and Stories: As Seen in Contemporary Native American Art

Marilyn Russell-Bogle, Fine Arts Librarian, University of Minnesota-Duluth, spoke next. Her presentation was followed by a tour of the Arthur Amiotte Retrospective on display just outside our meeting room. Marilyn discussed the importance of myth, legend and history to Native Americans, and showed us some samples of her own paintings as well as those of other Native American artists including George Morrison and Frank Big Bear.

Submitted by Polly Trump
Architecture Librarian, University of Arizona

Reference Services in the Architecture Library at the University of Arizona - or - When is a Circulation Desk just a circulation desk?

After lunch, Polly Trump, Architecture Librarian at the University of Arizona, spoke about the current state of reference services in branch libraries in that institution's team environment. She discussed how the library approached reinstating reference services through its Reference Availability Project and Branches Action Planning Team.

Future Trends in Information Access: RLG and the Cultural Materials Initiative

Lorna Corbetta-Noyes, a Technical Writer with RLG, demonstrated a new database created by the Cultural Materials Alliance, currently consisting of 51 contributing libraries. For more information on this specific database or RLG, see:

General information 

Electronic newsletters
RLG DigiNews
RLG Focus
RLG News

Web sites
Cultural Materials
Cultural Materials
Resource Sharing

Request a trial

Submitted by
Polly Trump and Lorna Corbetta-Noyes

Library Issues Panel

Jeanne Brown, Tom Riedel, Melisa Nicoud, led a discussion of management issues.

Tom (Distance Learning Librarian/Head of Access Services, Dayton Memorial Library (Regis University) spoke about project management and implementing technology for access services. He provided an overview of his experiences learning how to implement technology. Tom believes the most important elements to good project management are: communication, assigning responsibility, and acknowledging accomplishment.

Communication : listen to concerns of individuals affected by changes and who don't have the time to learn new technology. Ask for time frame in which the staff can make things work. Communicate with the staff and communicate/coordinate with the technical department to make sure each understands what is going on and what needs to be done. Always keep the boss informed. And, finally, communicate with the patrons, the ones who will be affected by the change, so that they know what is going on.

Assigning responsibility : give staff the autonomy to determine how they will make the technology work. Give them the responsibility so that they can learn to troubleshoot and learn to ask for help when needed,

Acknowledge accomplishment : give kudos to the people who are doing the work during the process. This is very important, regardless of whether additional salary can be given for additional responsibilities.

Managing on a shoestring in a small, underfunded museum library was the subject of Melisa's portion. Melisa is the Librarian at the National Museum of Wildlife Art Library and Archives in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. She provided an overview of her experiences. The library is 15-years old and grew out a grass roots movement to create a library. She works 20 hours a week and does everything with the help of her very wonderful library volunteers. In this non-profit environment, she needs to come up with the funds for acquisition, conservation, and preservation. To be able to participate in the state wide union catalog, remote access to the catalog was most important, and the purchase of EOSI helped accomplish this. She was charged, based upon the mission statement, with identifying and building the collection.

Finally, Jeanne spoke about managing patrons needs. Jeanne discussed some methods for interpreting statistics and some methods for querying students for input.

Although statistics may not give definitive answers, they can help focus attention on issues look for causes or results. Examples included: the increase in reference questions once a knowledgeable staff member, rather than a student worker, was hired; maintaining number of staff during times of fewer patrons because of high percentage of patrons asking for help; reasons for an increase in faculty paging.

Students suggested using the blank space on the library web page to make announcements rather than putting signs on the door. That seems to be effective in communicating with students. In fact, they use this method to ask for ideas how to improve services, and have received 40 responses which they will examine.

How to train staff to increase empathy with patrons? One suggestion was to visit another library no one knows to help remember how it felt when first visiting an unknown place.

Submitted by
Peggy Keeran, Art & Humanities Reference Librarian
Penrose Library, University of Denver

Drawn to Yellowstone: Artists in America's First National Park

Late on Saturday afternoon, we were in for a real treat. Peter H. Hassrick, former Director of the Buffalo Bill Historical Center and founding Director Emeritus of the Charles M. Russell Center for the Study of the Art of the American West, delivered the keynote address. Hassrick gave us a wonderful understanding of the competition between artists Albert Bierstadt and Thomas Moran to bring about recognition of the park through imagery, and the attendant tension between German and English aesthetics. The exhibition Drawn to Yellowstone opens at the Autry Museum of Western Heritage in Los Angeles in the spring of 2004. The accompanying publication, Drawn to Yellowstone: Artists in America's first National Park, was published by the University of Washington Press in September.

Submitted by Frances Clymer
Librarian, McCracken Research Library
Buffalo Bill Historical Center



UNM Fine Arts Library Checks Into New Home

After many years of coping with cramped quarters, the University of New Mexico is finally slated for a new Fine Arts Library. The library's new home will be within the new School of Architecture and Planning. The square footage of the new library, which has yet to be named, will be approximately twice that of the current space, expanding to around 26,000 square feet. The estimated time for completion is spring 2005. The site for the new building will be at Redondo and Cornell, east of the UNM bookstore (north of the famous Frontier restaurant, I might add), and south of a new parking structure that is currently under construction.

Antoine Predock's original design for the new School of Architecture and Planning building did not include plans for the library. The decision to include the library in the building came about when the Provost, University facility planners, and the deans of the General Library, the School of Architecture and Planning, and the College of Fine Arts, came to an "eleventh hour" agreement that this was the best solution for the Fine Arts Library's critical space needs. The original design of the building is being modified by Predock's office to accommodate the new library. Funding will come from a future system revenue bond issue; the debt will be paid by the facilities fee component of student fees.

Library staff and the construction project managers are busy planning for the new library with the creation of a detailed building program. The program includes collection growth rates, and space needs for staff offices, new technologies, public areas and collections. The staff is elated at the prospect of moving to a larger and more modern facility. Over the years, new shelving ranges have encroached on the already limited reader space. As the art and photography bibliographer, I must routinely make space for new acquisitions by transferring, withdrawing or storing older titles. Approximately 30,000 volumes are now stored off-site in three other library locations, and the film, theater and dance collections are shelved in another campus library. Staff offices and work areas are cramped and poorly arranged, and typically serve multiple functions. The "work room," for instance, serves as a lunch/break/party room, a media shelving area, a preservation and sound recording duplication lab, an e-reserve processing site, a passage way to two library offices (including mine) . . . and to the back door of a music department lecture and performance classroom!

As with all new beginnings, we may need to make some adjustments in our daily habits. The School of Architecture and Planning students and faculty will enjoy easier access to their library collections. Those in the College of Fine Arts, however, and especially the music faculty, will miss the "next door" convenience of slipping into the library between classes to track down a music score or check out a CD. Our current library houses the only restroom on this College of Fine Arts floor, and I will miss those chance meetings with students and faculty as they pass by the reference desk on the way to and from the "facilities" And the whole campus will have to suffer through another major construction project on an especially busy section of campus.

In my more nostalgic moments, I think we may even miss some of the coziness of our current space. A good part of our communication takes place as we squeeze past each other through shared work rooms, or meander through each other's work areas. Will we know how to confer when it is not possible to walk ten steps and be able to speak with several co-workers at once? Will we know how to relate to each other seated comfortably in a conference room? I can't speak for my colleagues, but I'm willing to give it a try.

Submitted by
Nina Stephenson
Fine Arts Library, University of New Mexico



Once again, I need to thank everyone who contributed to make this such a good issue of The Mountain Ledger. From the President of ARLIS/NA, through our Regional Representative, our Executive Committee and our Membership Committee, and into the the rank and file members, people volunteered to write, met their deadlines, and (best of all, for me) sent copy that needed little editing.

I would also like to thank Frances Clymer again publicly for the fabulous job she did putting together our annual meeting in Cody. The reports in this issue give you some idea of what we learned. What isn't covered are the great meals and conversations that we shared.

Finally, special thanks to Chris Ramsey for her continued help and good nature in getting The Mountain Ledger up on the Web.

Polly Trump
Editor, The Mountain Ledger