New Mexico Members Meet

On Friday, November 13, MW Chapter members from Santa Fe and Albuquerque, New Mexico, visited Santa Fe’s Museum Hill to tour two special libraries. First stop was the Bartlett Library and Archives at the Museum of International Folk Art, followed by lunch at the Museum Hill Cafe, and a tour of the Laboratory of Anthropology Library. There might have been a few stops at gift shops along the way… We talked artists files, special subject cataloguing, replacing offensive subject headings with inclusive ones, creating article analytics, and describing books in such detail the records become too large for MARC. If only we could do this every Friday!

Many thanks to Joan Benedetti for the pictures.

MW 2014 Virtual Conference Now on ARLIS/NA Learning Portal


The 2014 ARLIS/NA-MW Chapter Virtual Conference

Testing the Waters: Professional Experimentation in the Arts and Art Librarianship

 Is now available on the ARLIS/NA Learning Portal for all to view.

“Experimentation in the way we offer services, teach or communicate is often part of a librarian’s job. The ARLIS Mountain West Chapter’s 2014 virtual conference focused on showcasing some of the innovative experiments conducted as a part of professional practice. Included are the video presentations of eight librarians discussing various experiences with professional experimentation. All of the presentations were individually pre-recorded before the conference.”

Access to the ARLIS/NA Learning Portal is open to anyone interested in current issues in art librarianship and is available by simply registering online at Click on the ‘Sign Up’ or ‘Sign In’ link in the top right corner to view all available content. Some fees may apply to receive access to certain content. Please visit the ARLIS/NA Learning Portal for more information!

Questions? Contact today!

**Please feel free to share with any interested colleagues or lists**

News from New Mexico

moifaextfall   New Mexico ARLIS/NA-MW members are planning to meet November 13 to tour two museum libraries, The Bartlett Library at the Museum of International Folk Art and the Laboratory of Anthropology Library, now attached to the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture. Both libraries are on Museum Hill in Santa Fe, also home to the Museum Hill Cafe where we will enjoy lunch between libraries.

Many thanks to Heather Kline for getting us organized.

Any other Mountain West members have news to share, or meetings in the works?

Update on the Mackintosh Library

This morning I was curious to see what progress is being made on restoration and rebuilding of the Mackintosh Library at the Glasgow School of Art, damaged by fire last year. There were several articles posted in March on the subject, including this one from The Guardian covering the work of forensic archaeologists. There have been some valuable finds that will assist in reconstruction. I was also fascinated to see that some books survived in states that will allow conservation. The losses are still enormous.

The real reason I am sharing information here today, though, is another article from the Guardian, an article that explores some very interesting questions. It seems that before the fire the Mackintosh had become something closer to a museum than a working library, with students allowed only very limited access. Questions are now being raised as to what a restored Mackintosh Library should be:

Muriel Gray, chair of the board of governors (who has vowed that her first act will be to re-carve the naughty graffiti she engraved into the library woodwork as a student) has stated that the school of art “will die if it becomes a museum”. And Liz Davidson is frank. “We’re going to rebuild it all with extreme care,” she says, “then hand it over to the students to treat with extreme irreverence.”

Most of us (especially those of us with special collections) probably deal with this delicate balance to some degree: how to preserve, and still use? Where is the proper place to draw the line?

Another issue from the article also got me thinking. My undergraduate degree was in Comparative Literature and Literary Translation, and some of the issues faced by the Mackintosh restoration team reminded me of questions literary translators face. What is a faithful reproduction or translation?

The Kauri pine, from which the columns were built, was a cheap ballast material, he says, brought back in boats from New Zealand and readily available at the Glasgow shipyards. It has since become a protected species, so there are now questions over what to use instead.

Is the most faithful reproduction one that uses something that looks and feels closest to Kauri pine, or something that is closest to cheap material that can be repurposed? Is the aim to recreate, as closely as possible, what Charles Rennie Mackintosh created, or to follow as closely as possible his methods, translated into today’s materials?

These are the opportunities hidden in disaster, to question what we have done and are doing, and what our decisions mean. For my part, I hope to take this as a reminder to ask those questions while, hopefully and with good preparation, avoiding the disaster (and just as I write this, the fire alarm sounds… we are having some work done to improve our patchwork of fire alarm and suppression systems).

The conference that keeps on giving

peas  My personal award for best conference swag of all time goes to the 2015 ARLIS/NA Conference and the little pack of seeds for snap peas. This shot was taken in my garden about a week ago. The first peas are ready to harvest now.

Meanwhile, back at the Library, we are busy working on a possible digital asset collaboration grant (which explains why I’d rather rest my eyes on peas in our time).

Regular, useful news will return next week.

ARSC Guide to Audio Preservation


Those whose collections include sound recordings should not miss this new publication. Quoted from the CLIR website:

Commissioned for and sponsored by the National Recording Preservation Board of the Library of Congress. Copublished by the Association for Recorded Sound Collections, the Council on Library and Information Resources, and The Library of Congress… The ARSC Guide to Audio Preservation is a practical introduction to caring for and preserving audio collections.

The guide, which includes sections on preservation, conservation, formats, appraisal, disaster preparedness, copyright and fair use, and digitization, is available as a free download. Print copies will be available later this month.

News from the Bartlett Library and Archives


Apologies for the long silence on this blog.

Here at the Museum of International Folk Art many of us wear multiple hats. I am both the Librarian and Archivist, and sometimes a one-woman moving crew. This May marked a wonderful transition, as our Archives finally graduated into its very own space. The process of finding space in an overcrowded facility, then finding funding for the compact shelving that would make the space useful, took a long while, but we got there in the end. The shelving selected is a Quadra Mobile system, a modular, moveable form of compact storage that is perfect for us, as there’s a chance the Archives will move again in a few years. Shelving was installed in early May, and for the past two weeks I’ve been moving in.

I’m very grateful to our security staff who moved the large flat files and filing cabinet. The records themselves I had to move, in large part because they were coming from three different temporary storage areas, and collections had gotten split up over the years. It was necessary to go bit by bit, checking carefully against an inventory done this winter, to ensure collections went in place in an organized way.

One of the spaces now emptied of archival material is the back room of our Library. It is well on its way to becoming a workroom and processing area, something we have not had at all.


Processing has been done either in my office, or in the public space of the Library. Working in the public area meant our intrepid volunteers had to haul out all their supplies from my office, do their work, and then squirrel everything away again. Now we’ll be able to leave longer term projects staged and ready for work whenever a volunteer can come in. This arrangement also gave us a space for our “study collections,” collections of materials (images, postcards, recordings, books, and more) that are not archival in nature, but don’t really fit in a classic library arrangement either.

When not in use by library volunteers, the workroom will be a quiet space for our curators to do reading and research. They are looking forward to it. Their offices are downstairs, without windows or light, so this will be a welcome change. With a bit of new furniture, this room can also double – or wait, it’s triple by now, isn’t it? – as a small meeting room. The only meeting spaces we have are the break table downstairs, the main Library research tables, and a small table in the Director’s office. It’s not just the people here who wear many hats. The spaces have to multi-task as well.

More regular blogging will resume now that I’ve hung up my mover’s cap and resumed librarianship. Thanks for your patience.