New Book | The New Art Museum Library

Posted in books by Editor on April 4, 2021

Happy National Library Week! From Rowman & Littlefield:

Amelia Nelson and Traci Timmons, eds., The New Art Museum Library (New York: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2021), 224 pages, ISBN: 978-1538135709 (eBook) $52 / ISBN: 978-1538135693 (hardback) $55.

The New Art Museum Library addresses the issues facing today’s art museum libraries through a series of scholarly essays written by top librarians in the field. In 2007, the publication, Art Museum Libraries and Librarianship, edited by Joan Benedetti, was the first to solely focus on the field of art museum librarianship. In the decade since then, many changes have occurred in the field—both technological and ideological—prompting the need for a follow-up publication. In addition to representing current thinking and practice, this new publication also addresses the need to clearly articulate and define the art museum library’s value within its institution. It documents the broad changes in the environment that art museum libraries now function within and to celebrate the many innovative initiatives that are flourishing in this new landscape.

Librarians working in art museum face unique challenges as museums redefine what object-based, visitor-centric learning looks like in the 21st century. These unique challenges mean that art museum libraries are developing new strategies and initiatives so that they can continue to thrive in this environment. The unique nature of these initiatives mean that they will be useful to librarians working in a wide range of special libraries, as well as more broadly in academic and public libraries. The New Art Museum Library is uniquely positioned to present new strategies and initiatives including digital art history initiatives, the new norms in art museum library staffing, and the public programing priorities that are core to many art museum libraries today.

Amelia Nelson is the head of library and archives at the Spencer Art Reference Library in The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. With a background in public services, information literacy, and digital initiatives she has published and presented on innovative topics like using VTS in information literacy classes and local artists’ files in contemporary art classes. In her own professional practice she believes in creating innovative projects that can be replicated and adapted to fit the needs of art libraries across the country. She is inspired by the innovative work that art libraries and archives have done to share unique resources in this rich information landscape and happy that these projects and initiatives can be shared with practitioners and those considering a career in art librarianship.

Traci E. Timmons is senior librarian at the Seattle Art Museum. In this role she manages all aspects of running two research libraries and a satellite library for the largest art museum in the Pacific Northwest: personnel management, acquisitions, cataloging, reference, research, digital collection development, maintaining and processing archives, artist files management, collection development, and grant writing. She has published on such diverse topics as early-printed books, special collections, artists’ books, classification theory, and user experience. She is passionate about the field of art librarianship, and specifically about its application in museums.


Preface — Amelia Nelson (The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art) and Traci Timmons (Seattle Art Museum)

Introduction: The Art of Transformation — Kristen Regina (Philadelphia Museum of Art)

Part I. Developing, Managing, and Caring for Collections
1  Shelved Out of Sight: Library Spaces and Archives Storage in Art Museums — Jenna Stout (Saint Louis Art Museum)
2  Cultivating Wisely: Strategies to Keep the Collection Alive and Evergreen — Doug Litts (Art Institute of Chicago)
3  Blood on the Walls, Blood on the Shelves: Decolonizing the Art Museum Library — Courtney Becks (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)
4  Haptic Aesthetics: Artists’ Books in Art Museum Libraries — Anne Evenhaugen (Smithsonian Institution, American Art & Portrait Gallery Library) and Tony White (Thomas J. Watson Library, The Metropolitan Museum of Art)
5  Ephemeral Survival: Managing Physical and Digital Artist File Collections — Alexandra Reigle (Smithsonian Institution, American Art & Portrait Gallery Library) and Simon Underschultz (National Gallery of Australia)
6  Building Web Archive Collections in Art Museum Libraries — Sumitra Duncan (The Frick Collection/ New York Art Resources Consortium)
7  Preservation and Conservation for Art Museum Library Collections: Progressive Approaches and Evolving Concepts — Beth Morris (Independent Librarian, Preservation Specialist, Book Conservator, and Scholar)

Part II. Access, Outreach, and Collaboration
8  Prioritizing Special Collections in the Art Museum Library — Lee Ceperich (Virginia Museum of Fine Arts)
9  The Life of the (Third-) Party (System): Integrated Library Systems and Discovery Layers — Dan Lipcan (Peabody Essex Museum)
10  Reconsidering the Reference Collection: Using Print Art Reference Materials as Training Tools — Gwen Mayhew (Canadian Centre for Architecture) and Annalise Welte (Getty Research Institute)
11  The State and Vision of Exhibitions in Art Museum Libraries — Carol Ng-He (San Jose State University)
12  Evolution & Revolution: New Approaches to Art Museum Library Programming — Janice Lea Lurie (Minneapolis Institute of Art)
13  Local Consortia and Museum Libraries: Partnering for the Future — Alba Fernandez-Keys (Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields)

Part III. Personnel in the Art Museum Library
14  Entering the Field: Resources for Aspiring Museum Librarians — Lauren Gottlieb-Miller (The Menil Collection)
15  Demonstrating the Value of the Art Museum Library through Strategic Volunteer and Intern Management — Traci E. Timmons (Seattle Art Museum)

Part IV. Digital Landscapes in the New Art Museum Library
16  Digital Art History and the Art Museum Library — Stephen J. Bury (The Frick Collection)
17  The Changing Ecologies of Museum Metadata Systems — Jonathan Lill (Museum of Modern Art)
18  Digitization and Contributions to Digital Repositories — Bryan Ricupero (University of Wyoming) and Sophie Jo Miller (University of Wyoming)
19  The Wikimedia Movement in the GLAM Sector — Sarah Osborne Bender (National Gallery of Art) and Carissa Pfeiffer (Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center)
20  Getting a Seat at the Table: Art Museum Libraries as Open Access Stakeholders — Heather Saunders (The Cleveland Museum of Art)

About the Editors and the Contributors

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