HISTORY: ARLIS/NA Ohio Valley regional chapter

ARLIS/NA Ohio was founded in 1976 in order to promote better communication and cooperation among Ohio’s art libraries and to provide a forum for ideas, projects, and programs to benefit member librarians.

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The formation of an Ohio chapter of the Art Libraries Society of North America (ARLIS/NA) was first discussed at an Art Research Libraries of Ohio (ARLO) workshop held at the Cleveland Museum of Art on January 16, 1976. ARLO had been founded in 1968 as a cooperative network of twelve art and art-related libraries in ten institutions whose primary goal was to provide art + design  students and scholars with the best possible resources for in-depth research within the state of Ohio. Due to the strong ties built up by ARLO, those present at the meeting favored an all-state organization linked to ARLIS/NA.

The first official meeting of ARLIS/Ohio was held Saturday, October 9, 1976, in Cleveland, with twenty members attending. Judy Frost, Associate Librarian, Cleveland Museum of Art, was instrumental in establishing the ARLIS/Ohio chapter and was elected as the first chapter chair. The fall/spring meeting schedule was established and dues were set at $2.00 per member, per year. At the end of the first year ARLIS/Ohio had twenty-five paid members with a treasury balance of $58.00.

The first issue of Collage, the Chapter newsletter, appeared in February 1981 as a quarterly publication, edited by Mary Cleland and Dian Disantis. Over the years Collage evolved into the bi-annual newsletter which is now, this website.

In 1984 the boundaries of membership of ARLIS/Ohio began to expand. That year the Allegheny chapter of ARLIS was dissolved and the geographical boundaries of ARLIS/Ohio were expanded to include western Pennsylvania. In the spring of 1992 the Ohio chapter of the Visual Resources Association (VRA) merged with ARLIS/Ohio.

Another major event in 1984 was the 12th annual ARLIS/NA Conference hosted by ARLIS/Ohio and held in Cleveland. Jack Perry Brown, who was then head librarian at the Cleveland Museum of Art, chaired the conference.

In 1996 ARLIS/Ohio changed its name to ARLIS/Ohio Valley when the chapter boundaries were once again expanded, this time to include Kentucky and West Virginia. This merger took place after the KY/TN/WV chapter was dissolved in 1995. The Kentucky/Tennessee ARLIS chapter had been formed in 1976 and first met that year in Nashville, Tennessee, on May 22nd at the Joint University Libraries. Nancy Pistorius organized the first meeting and was elected as the first chapter chair. in 1992 West Virginia was added, and the name became ARLIS/Kentucky-Tennessee-West Virginia. The ARLIS/KY/TN/WV Chapter News began in the fall of 1991 and ended in the summer of 1994 with volume 3, issue number 2.

In 1997 ARLIS/Ohio Valley established a chapter travel award to assist members with expenses related to attending chapter meetings. And, in 1998 an Internet discussion list and website were established to improve communication among chapter members.

“Links from the Past, Bridges to the Future” was the theme for the 28th annual ARLIS/NA conference hosted by ARLIS/OV and held in Pittsburgh, PA, March 16-22, 2000. This conference coincided with the 53rd Carnegie International Exhibition held at the Carnegie Museum of Art. Program chairs for the conference were Ann Abid, Cleveland Museum of Art, and Mona Chapin, Cincinnati Art Museum. Local Arrangements chairs were Ray Anne Lockard, University of Pittsburgh, and Jane Dunwoodie, University of Dayton.

Written by Mona Chapin

rev. 2002