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Monday, February 6 • 1:30pm - 3:00pm
Le Bibliothécaire Solo: Success in the Diverse World of Solo Art Librarianship

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The world of solo librarianship is perhaps the most diverse subset of librarianship yet at the same time often overlooked. In 2015, the Solo Art Librarians Special Interest Group was resurrected because ARLIS/NA members expressed a need for more professional support and conference content geared towards solo librarianship. In one short year the SIG has attracted close to 100 members. This 90-minute panel of lightening round presentations will scale-down topics for solo librarians. Topics range from job training to strategic planning and everything in between—totally encompassing the diversity of solo librarianship. Further, presenters represent many different types of institutions: academic, museums, public and private, but are inclusive to solo librarianship. These lightening talks will help any art librarian that wears many hats achieve success without adequate personnel support or bottomless budgets.


Barbara Opar, Librarian for Architecture, Syracuse University Libraries

The Embedded Librarian- Engagement is Key

The successful embedded librarian must be truly engaged in both the discipline and the department(s) served. But what does “embedded mean? It is different at different institutions. I will briefly address what embedded means in terms of my role as Architecture Librarian at Syracuse where I am a solo librarian overseeing a reserve book unit, providing reference help, and developing the collection for both the ARR and the Libraries in general. Events like the student book club and our Materials Focus sessions are key to showing engagement. So what are the benefits for all parties in terms of being embedded? Is there a down side? This brief overview of my role at Syracuse will include thoughts about the pluses- mostly- and a few negatives.  


Traci Timmons – Seattle Art Museum – TraciT@SeattleArtMuseum.org

Advocacy for the Solo Librarian

For most libraries, advocacy is important. Art libraries are typically not cost-centers or direct drivers of revenue for our institutions. Because of this, effective advocacy can be the thing that keeps us alive in times of trouble. Being a self-advocate or encouraging others to be advocates for our libraries and/or staff positions can be challenging and require some of us to act outside of personal comfort zones. This brief presentation will address several advocacy strategies that have had positive effects on a medium-sized museum library with a solo librarian.


Jasmine Burns – Indiana University Bloomington – burnsjas@indiana.edu

Advocating for Branch Libraries

This presentation approaches the topic of Advocating for Branch Libraries through a discussion of the ways in which a solo librarian can transform their patrons, departments, and communities into advocates for their library. Examples will be given of how these goals can ultimately be reached through the creation of a variety of outreach initiatives (in departments, through the larger library system, and campus-wide), their implementation, and the measurement of their impact.


Anna Elam – Seattle Art Museum – AnnaE@seattleartmuseum.org

Space Planning as a Solo Librarian

Anna Elam, Librarian/Educator for the Ann P. Wyckoff Teacher Resource Center at the Seattle Art Museum, will share tips and tricks for solo librarians to track their current space situations and plan for a move into a space that already exists. The session audience will walk away with real world examples and lessons from the trenches of a current library move.

Caroline Dechert – Librarian and Archivist, Museum of International Folk Art –  Caroline.Dechert@state.nm.us

Creative IT Partnerships for the Solo Librarian

IT solutions – library systems, digital asset management systems, and their kin - are typically built to be efficient and affordable at scale. How can a solo librarian with little or no dedicated IT support or budget keep up? This presentation takes a swift look at two cases where a combination of open source software and an open mind about unusual partnerships created opportunities. Case 1: Two solo librarians team up to form a mini-consortium, sharing a hosted open source Koha ILS. Case 2: By agreeing to act a test case, a solo librarian gets her own implementation of an open source software digital asset management system.


Lucy Campbell – NewSchool of Architecture and Design –  lcampbell@newschoolarch.edu

Solo Strategic Planning

How can you be sure you are making the best decisions for your institution? When there are no colleagues to discuss pros and cons with or bounce ideas off, making major strategic plans can be paralyzing. This presentation will outline some approaches to strategic planning solo, and offer methods to ensure you can have confidence in the success of your library.


Jessica Shaykett – American Craft Council – jshaykett@craftcouncil.org

Professional Development for Solo Professionals

Taking advantage of professional development opportunities can help alleviate the sense of isolation that accompanies working as a solo librarian. However, support and funding for conference and workshop attendance within a small organization can often be difficult to come by. Jessica Shaykett, librarian at the American Craft Council, will discuss the challenges solo staff face when it comes to professional development, as well as share tips for garnering institutional support.  


Cathryn Copper – Woodbury University School of Architecture – Cathryn.copper@woodbury.edu

Leadership for the Solo Librarian: How to Grow When there is Nowhere Up to Go

A scaled-down version of Harvard’s Leadership Institute for Academic Librarians that applies concepts for solo librarians. How does a solo librarian increase their leadership and management capacity when there is nowhere up to go? The expectations of library leaders are changing and solo librarians need to remain competitive. This lightening talk will provide tools to assess leadership strengths and weaknesses and highlight examples of implementation for librarians without the luxury of a support staff.


 Gabriella Karl-Johnson, Architecture Librarian, School of Architecture, Princeton University gjk@princeton.edu

Job Training for the Solo Librarian

As a librarian entering a solo position, it can be difficult to know where to begin. How do you learn to do what you do, when you’re the only one doing it? If documentation is minimal, as can be the case at many institutions, reliance on internal and external colleagues can be essential for success. This talk will present real-world examples of techniques for developing job knowledge, including strategies for knowledge gathering from supervisors, support staff, and colleagues in similar roles.

avatar for Lucy Campbell

Lucy Campbell

Librarian, NewSchool of Architecture and Design

Cathryn Copper

Woodbury University

avatar for Jasmine Burns

Jasmine Burns

Visual Resources Metadata Librarian, Cornell University
Through her work on an interdepartmental digital projects team, Jasmine consults with faculty, students, curators, and librarians on metadata modelling/production/preservation for both digital and physical image collections. She has worked previously as an image cataloger and visual... Read More →
avatar for Caroline Dechert

Caroline Dechert

Librarian and Archivist, Museum of International Folk Art
Librarian and Archivist, Bartlett Library, Museum of International Folk Art

Anna Elam

Associate Manager for Educator Resources, Seattle Art Museum
Seattle Art Museum
avatar for Gabriella Karl-Johnson

Gabriella Karl-Johnson

Architecture Librarian, Princeton University
Gabriella Karl-Johnson has directed the Architecture Library in the School of Architecture at Princeton University since 2015, following work in rare books cataloging, history research, choreography, and the architecture industry. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science... Read More →
avatar for Jessica Shaykett

Jessica Shaykett

American Craft Council
American Craft Council;
avatar for Traci Timmons

Traci Timmons

Senior Librarian, Seattle Art Museum
Seattle Art Museum

Monday February 6, 2017 1:30pm - 3:00pm CST
Commerce Hilton New Orleans Riverside, Two Poydras Street, New Orleans, LA 70130