Art Libraries Society of North America | Mountain West Chapter Newsletter




Vol.8, No.1
Summer 2009

From the Editor
Chair's Column
Chapter Meeting Minutes
& 2008 Annual Report
Spotlight on Collections & Exhibitions
Adapting to Economic Times
Winberta Yao
Travel Award Changes
Chapter Bylaws Revision
New Listserv Address
2009 State Coordinators
ARLIS/NA 2009 Conference News
2009 Chapter Fall Conference
2010 ARLIS/NA Conference, Boston

From the Editor
Contributed by Marly Helm

This issue of the Mountain Ledger is devoted to highlighting some of our members’ collections and well as news about how several chapter institutions are adapting to the economic crisis. The economy has hit some institutions harder than others, but the effects could be seen as early as last spring in reduced travel to the ARLIS-NA annual conference. Since many members missed this opportunity to get acquainted with other chapter members and to share your stories about your institutions, we are taking this issue to bring the news to you. I hope you enjoy reading their contributions. The newsletter is also covering some chapter business, so please review the recommendations about the pending Bylaw revisions as a vote is planned for this Fall.

Marly Helm, Assistant Librarian, Arizona State Museum
Mountain Ledger Editor

Chair's Column
Contributed by Jennifer Mayer

Happy summer!

Thanks to all members for your interest in the Mountain West chapter. Special thanks go to those who have chosen to serve on chapter committees or help with projects.

For the MW chapter meeting minutes from the ARLIS/NA Annual conference, click here:

Also at ARLIS/NA annual, the chapter leaders met with the new chapters’ coordinator, Vanessa Kam. We heard about the new management firm for ARLIS/NA--TEI, Inc.--and services they will offer chapters in the future, which include hosting chapter websites (but no content/update work) and managing dues payments for chapters. Chapter leaders indicated an interest for members to have the option to participate in ARLIS/NA annual conferences virtually due to budget constraints. V. Heidi Hass, a member of the executive board, sat in on this meeting and said this issue is on the radar.

Which leads me to the next topic…according to the MW chapter survey I conducted in spring 2009, very few members indicated they could attend an onsite chapter meeting in fall 2009 due to budgetary reasons. However, MW chapter members did indicate interest in a virtual chapter meeting for this fall, so the Mountain West executive committee is currently pursuing that project. We’ll provide information as it develops.

Other current Mountain West projects include a bylaws review committee whose work will be shared with chapter members for a vote, and the renewal of the state coordinators program to increase MW membership and retain current members.

I want to send out congratulations to Liz Ehrnst (Georgia O’Keeffe Museum Library), winner of the Winberta Yao travel award, who used the award to attend the ARLIS/NA conference this past April in Indianapolis.

Best wishes to everyone, and please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.

Jennifer Mayer
ARLIS/NA-Mountain West Chair
Fine Arts and Women’s Studies Librarian
University of Wyoming Libraries
Laramie, Wyoming

Chapter Meeting Minutes

ARLIS/NA-Mountain West Chapter Meeting
Friday, April 18, 2009 | 5:35-6:10PM
Indianapolis Marriott Downtown
Indianapolis, Indiana

Spotlight on Collections & Exhibitions

Regis University Santo Collection Online
Contributed by Tom Riedel

The Regis University Santo Gallery,
Dayton Memorial Library
Photograph by Tom Riedel
The Regis University Santo Collection numbers over 800 objects and is housed at the main library in Denver. Santo, translated literally from the Spanish, means saint, although these devotional objects include saints as well as other Roman Catholic holy persons. Santos are generally in the form of retablos, or paintings on wood panels, or bultos, which are sculptural carvings in the round.

Conceived as a “teaching collection” by Father Thomas J. Steele, S.J., who retired as a Regis College faculty member in 1997, access to the bulk of the collection has been increasingly limited as the collection has grown, making it a nearly hidden resource for students and other researchers. Only a fraction of the Regis collection is shown at any time in the library’s santo gallery, with the remainder in storage or on display at one of three extended campuses. Since the mid-1960s, Fr. Steele has compiled a print collection catalog that provides records for individual works, but even this information is available only in-house.

San Ignacio de Loyola
(St. Ignatius Loyola)
José Rafael Aragon (ca. 1796-1862)
Photograph by Andrew Dorfman


In an effort to make the full collection accessible to researchers, I have led a project that began with my sabbatical in 2006, to photograph works in the collection and convert Fr. Steele’s catalog commentary into useful web pages and ultimately, into a searchable database. I started by targeting important works in the collection to photograph, and then prioritizing others based on subject coverage. To date, Regis Media Services Librarian, Andy Dorfman, has made high-quality digital photographs of nearly 300 of the santos.

When the project was conceived a few years ago, I considered adding cataloged images to our OPAC, or licensing a digital collection management software such as ContentDM. In the meantime, an initiative of the Colorado Alliance of Research Libraries to develop the Alliance Digital Repository (ADR) has given a future home to the cataloged collection. A group of Regis librarians is currently consumed with questions of metadata and authorities, and is hammering out a template for uploading images and records.

A primary point of entry to records in the ADR will be through web pages that detail the different santo subjects. Taken from text written by Fr. Steele for the Regis santo catalog and also published in his book Santos and Saints: The Religious Folk Art of Hispanic New Mexico (Santa Fe: Ancient City Press, 1994), the web pages are broken down into six broad categories and are illustrated with thumbnail images from the collection.

(see; links to the subject categories are in the next-to-last paragraph of text).

When fully operational, clicking on any subject on the web pages will execute a search in the ADR to display all Regis holdings for that particular subject. Much remains to be done before the project is fully realized, but significant progress is being made.

I’m indebted to colleagues Andy Dorfman (photography), Erin McCaffrey (web development) and Diana Sweany (ADR) in making it all come together!

San José Patriarca (St. Joseph)
José de Gracia Gonzales (1835-1902)
Photograph by Andrew Dorfman


University of Wyoming Coe Library
Contributed by Jennifer Mayer

James Surls, In Circle, on Prexy's Pasture.
Photo courtesy of the UW Art Museum

The University of Wyoming’s Coe Library is getting a wooden flower James Surls sculpture this fall, it will hang on level 5 in the atrium space from the ceiling. The money to pay for this sculpture was allotted as part of the library building renovation and expansion project funds. During the fall semester, Surls will visit the UW Coe Library and campus to talk about his work.

James Surls recently participated in the UW Art Museum’s Sculpture: A Wyoming Invitational (see image below), in which over 17 major works by various artists were installed around the UW campus and Laramie community.

For more info:


Phoenix Art Museum
Contributed by Sandra Wiles

Upcoming Museum exhibitions at the Phoenix Art Museum include: "Phantom Sightings: Art After The Chicano Movement" from July 12th to September 21st, 2009 and a spectacular display of the work of in situ watercolor artist Tony Foster. "Searching for a Bigger Subject: Water Colour Diaries from Everest and The Grand Canyon" will open on July 11th and will run through October 18th, 2009. Of course, the 44th Annual Cowboy Artists of America sale and exhibition (October 18 – November 15, 2009) is always a huge draw. And we will carry over into the new year with "Geoffrey Beene: Trapeze" in the Ellman Fashion Design Gallery from November 7, 2009 – March 7, 2010.


Denver Art Museum
Contributed by Susan Ferrer-Vinent

The Masterworks of Charles M. Russell: A Retrospective of Painting and Sculpture

This exhibition will highlight more than 60 major works in oil and bronze by the renowned western artist (1864-1926). Revising conventional concepts about the artist, the exhibition will open at the Denver Art Museum October 17, 2009 and continue through January 10, 2010. This exhibition, the first-ever major retrospective of Russell’s painting and sculptural work, was co-organized by the Denver Art Museum’s Petrie Institute of Western American Art and Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa, Okla. In addition to revising the concept of Russell as a cowboy artist, the exhibition and accompanying catalogue will invite a close look at his development as an artist. With no formal artistic training, Russell relied on his powers of observation, discipline and commitment, drawing inspiration from magazine illustrations as well as the work of earlier western artists including George Catlin, Karl Bodmer, Carl Wimar and Russell’s contemporary, Frederic Remington.


Highlights from the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum Research Center: Georgia O'Keeffe and Asia
Contributed by Eumie Imm-Stroukoff

During the 1950s and 1960s, Georgia O'Keeffe traveled to exotic locations including Mexico, Peru, Egypt, Greece, and Asia. In 1959, she made an extensive trip via San Francisco and Honolulu to Southeast Asia, the Far East, the Middle East, and Italy for a four month period.

The mementos from these travels were gathered and kept in boxes by O'Keeffe. She labeled these individual travel boxes by the name of the country. Boxes labeled "Egypt," "Japan," "Mexico" and so forth are part of the Book Room that was maintained by O'Keeffe in her Abiquiu house. These materials, as well as other books and documents, from the Book Room are in the collection of the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum Research Center and offer a fascinating glimpse into the personal interests and influences on Georgia O'Keeffe's art and life.

The Research Center staff is currently making an inventory of these travel boxes from Georgia O'Keeffe's personal library and has discovered some fascinating documents from her excursions, including a calendar itinerary of her 1959 trip, tickets from Japan, and other beautifully decorative Japanese brochures. In addition, the staff has also discovered a brochure with O'Keeffe's sketch of a landmark in Greece.

As the project is completed, the materials will be made accessible to scholars to further research on Georgia O'Keeffe's artistic influences.


Brigham Young University Museum of Art Exhibitions
Contributed by Christiane Ramsey

Walter Wick : Games, Gizmos and Toys in the Attic
Explores the playful, inventive and interactive world of the Hartford-based photographer, through his large-scale works. His "I SPY and Can You See What I See" books for children are long-time best-sellers.
Dan Steinhilber
Sculptures and installations with familiar materials ranging from soda, Styrofoam peanuts, duck sauce packets, and drycleaner hangers to electric blowers, disposable containers, garage door openers, and plastic tubes.

The BYU Museum of Art will host the following exhibitions this coming Fall semester: Paintings from the Reign of Victoria: The Royal Holloway Collection, London (Aug 14-Oct 25, 2009); Types and Shadows: Intimations of Divinity (Sep 17, 2009–Mar 13, 2010); Mirror Mirror: Contemporary Portraits and the Fugitive Self (Oct 22, 2009–May 8, 2010); and The First 100 Years: Collecting Art at BYU (Dec 3, 2009–Sep 25, 2010) showcasing 100 paintings, works on paper, and sculpture representing some of the key works from the museum, celebrating the 100th anniversary of the university’s art collection.


Adapting to Economic Times

"Good-Bye to the Reference Desk" by Nancy Pistorius

In January of 2009, reference staff at The University of New Mexico’s Zimmerman Library bid a fond farewell to the Reference Desk. Even though the desk went away, the service did not. Instead it migrated to a new form at another, nearby location. When the Spring Semester began a few weeks later, Zimmerman clientele were served at a one stop service point known as the Combined Service Point (CSP). Reference and information services were now provided at the same location as circulation, print reserves, interlibrary loan pick-ups/delivery, and lap-top check-out.

This combination of services developed with the practice of not replacing library faculty and staff when vacancies occurred leaving were fewer individuals to staff separate service points. The University’s eventual “pause” (actually a freeze) in hiring was initiated before the economic down turn of 2008 and was reinforced when that event occurred.

In 2008, senior directors in the library were charged with the responsibility of developing plans to maintain the same levels of services while simultaneously adding new services with reduced numbers of employees. One of the plans resulted in the combined service point in Zimmerman Library. Zimmerman houses collections serving the humanities, social sciences, and education programs, the Center for Southwest Research (special collections), and the U.S. Government Depository collections. It is the largest of the University Libraries facilities. In preparation for the CSP, numerous training sessions were planned and implemented. These ranged from basic circulation procedures to handling reference questions of a general nature as well as in a variety of subject specialties. All staff and faculty working at the reference desk and in circulation/reserve areas were charged with attending sessions on topics new to them. As a result, librarians learned how to check-out books and lap-tops, handled electronic reserve requests and disperse requested ILL materials. Meanwhile, staff learned about conducting the reference interview, reference strategies and when to refer customers to a subject specialist. The result was considerable cross training with new and higher expectations becoming a part of everyone’s job goals for the new year (2009).

"Economic Challenges and the Arizona State Museum Library" by Mary Graham

The Arizona State Museum and its library (ASML), as part of the University of Arizona, has been hit hard by two factors: the economic downturn in the state and by a series of decisions from the Governor and the Arizona State Legislature.

Last September the Museum made the first of two state-mandated budget cuts and the second will become effective July 1, 2009. Between them, ASM will lose over $400,000 in state funding the equivalent of 8 1/2 state-funded positions. As part of the September cut, the ASML lost it’s only staff position. Marly Helm and I remain. The Museum is approaching the upcoming cuts in a multitude of ways. The cash return was met through a combination of layoffs, attrition, transfer of positions to non-state funds, 5-7 furlough days in FY 2009/10, and 5% reductions in salary for most staff. The Museum has reduced public hours, the galleries are not open on Sunday right now, and the library and archives have reduced public hours. The ASML is now open Monday-Thursday 10am to 3pm. We are closed to the public on Fridays to accommodate the Librarian’s needs to schedule meetings, research times and so on. We will take research appointments to accommodate those with needs during our “closed” times Monday-Thursdays.

In addition the Museum is scheduling fewer Saturday family programs this fall and we are not hosting Summer Solstice again until we can find underwriting for it. The Museum will be charging admission for the first time in its 116- year history to galleries starting this year.

ASM suffered another blow in February 2009, when the UA and City of Tucson agreed to suspend indefinitely ASM participation in Tucson’s downtown re-development project, Rio Nuevo. The project at Rio Nuevo included a new ASM facility linked to the UA Science Center, Arizona History Museum, Mission Gardens (a recreated Spanish Mission Garden along with the reconstructed Convento on its original site) and the S-chuk Son archaeological facility. The site of Rio Nuevo has witnessed (as proven through intensive archaeological excavations) over 13,000 continuous years of habitation in the Tucson Basin. ASM staff had put five years of planning into this project.

Yet, as our Director, Dr. Beth Grindell points out “Despite this depressing litany many good things have happened.” ASM has received several awards over the past year: The summer 2008 Tucson Guide named ASM as the “most impressive” museum, notable for our many superlatives: oldest and largest anthropology museum in the Southwest, largest collection of southwestern pottery, rarest examples of Navajo weavings are just a few. In November, ASM was awarded the 2008 National Preservation Award for Collections Care presented jointly by the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (AIC) and Heritage Preservation. This award is a high honor— the Oscar in the field of collection care and preservation.

The January 2009 issue of Tucson Lifestyle magazine voted Arizona State Museum a winner in the BEST OF CITY 2009 competition in the "League of Their Own" category. "League of Their Own" winners are those that make Tucson unique.

"Phoenix Art Museum" by Sandra Wiles

At press time, the Gene and Cathie Lemon Art Research Library at the Phoenix Art Museum continues to hold its own against the economic storm. Most of the library budget has been lost but time formerly devoted to collection development and acquisitions is now being spent on sorting through 'hidden' parts of the vast, international commercial gallery and museum files so that they will have more exposure and accessibility. Like so many others, I am a solo librarian; the pay cuts are better than the alternative. Rather, it is the directive to work fewer hours that cause the greatest hardship as the volume of work only increases in leaner times.

The Phoenix Art Museum is now closed on Tuesdays as well as Mondays and so the Art Research Library is open to the public on Fridays to make up for that change. Full hours are listed on the website at

Also of note, November 2009 marks the start of the 50th anniversary year of the Phoenix Art Museum!

Winberta Yao Travel Award Changes

Please review the suggested revisions to the Yao Award guidelines.  Nina Stephenson (Yao Travel Award Chair), Nancy Pistorius and Jennifer Mayer worked on these revisions.  These will also be voted on in November.  If you have any questions about the changes, please ask Jennifer Mayer


Chapter Bylaws Revision

Our last full chapter bylaws review was done in February, 2003.  Please read the suggested changes/additions in this document. There will be a chapter member vote on these proposed changes via email in November, during the week of our virtual chapter conference.

The committee who worked on the bylaws review included Eumie Imm-Stroukoff, Leslie Abrams and Jennifer Mayer.  Marly Helm (Vice-Chair) and Peggy Keeran (Secretary/Treasurer) also reviewed the proposed revisions.  
If you have any questions about the changes, please ask Jennifer Mayer


New Listserv Address

The Mountain West listserv has migrated to the University of Wyoming. To send a message to the list, email The updated chapter listserv info is here:

A big thanks to Lisa Blankenship and UNC for previously hosting the Mountain West listserv.


Mountain West 2009 State Coordinators

The ARLIS/NA Mountain West (MW) State Coordinators mission is to work to maintain and increase membership in the MW chapter. This year the group is compiling a list of art and cultural resources-related institutions located in each state in a Google Docs spreadsheet. If you would like to make sure that your institution is included on this list, please contact the coordinators below. The 2009 state coordinators are:

  • ArizonaMarly Helm
  • Colorado Tom Riedel
  • New Mexico Jenni James
  • Montana and Wyoming Jennifer Mayer
  • Utah Chris Ramsey


ARLIS/NA 2009 Conference News

Fall MW Chapter Conference

Save the dates November 16-20th, 2009 for the
Mountain West Chapter's first virtual chapter conference!

Watch the MW chapter listserv for more details.


2010 ARLIS/NA Conference, Boston

Mark your calendars for the 38th annual ARLIS/NA conference in Boston on April 23-26, 2010.

Photo courtesy of Boston Seaport Hotel

The Program Committee consists of Jennifer Friedman, MIT, Program Co-Chair; Ann Whiteside, MIT, Program Co-Chair; Susanne Javorski, Wesleyan University; Kathy Ritter; Deb Verhoff, Art Institute of Boston at Lesley College; and Whitney Vitale, Boston Architectural College.

If you have any questions, please contact the Program Co-Chairs: Jennifer Friedman, MIT ( and Ann Whiteside, MIT (


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

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

10 August 2009