Digital Collections at Skidmore College

Ode to a grand staircase (for four hands) / designed and printed by Julie Chen and Barbara Tetenbaum, with text by Erik Satie.

Ode to a grand staircase (for four hands) / designed and printed by Julie Chen and Barbara Tetenbaum, with text by Erik Satie

The Lucy Scribner Library’s Digital Collections, a series of projects that began at Skidmore College in September 2012, have grown dramatically over the past year and a half. Thanks to the collaborative efforts of the Scribner Library’s Archives and Special Collections, Visual Resources, Bibliographic Services and Systems departments, they have made six distinct digital collections available. The collections began with a selection of stunning photographs of over one hundred works from the Library’s Artists’ Books collection. Most recently, they have digitized an illuminated Book of Hours from the 15th century. The Library also has an ongoing project, Saratoga Maps, to digitize a collection of maps of the city of Saratoga Springs and surrounding area.

For more information, please visit Skidmore’s Digital Collections site:

Postal Ponderings: The Activity of Mail Art at SUNY Oswego

mail art 1mail art 2

Penfield Library at SUNY Oswego has a mail art exhibition during the month of April. Mail art is a form of communication that utilizes the postal system as its method of transfer between individuals. An alternative art practice that emerged during the early 1960s climate of artistic, social, and political change, mail art manifests itself as a free and open activity directly between two or more people. In opposition to the traditional gallery system and art criticism where art and artists are judged on artistic criteria such as beauty derived from compositional and material virtuosity (for example, Michelangelo’s statue of David), mail art is open to all participants regardless of artistic abilities. This open door approach is a central principle that guides all mail art projects.

Mail art projects are commonly organized through a call for work – a theme or topic is defined and an address is given to send the work.  There are a handful of criteria for organizing a mail art project or exhibition: anyone can organize a project on any topic or theme; all mail art entries are free; all work submitted will be exhibited (there is no judging of artistic quality); and no work will be returned after submission to the project.

The work on display is composed of three components: a mail art call on the topic of artist Frida Kahlo titled, What has Frida (Kahlo) in her mind? (Buenos Aires, Argentina) created by students in Freshman Colloquium during fall 2013 and spring 2014, and students in Design Concepts III-2D during spring 2014; work created under the theme of Space for the mail art call titled, Reinvention (Nashville, TN) created by students in Design Concepts III-2D during spring 2014; and selected mail art artifacts from the instructor’s personal archive from mail art activity during the late 1990s.

At its core spirit, mail art demonstrates the willingness of its makers to engage in a creative gesture for the sole purpose of responding to a curious topic of interest. It is a form of communication that may yield work of the highest visual character or of minor visual success. It may serve as biting social or political commentary or it may exist as insular personal meanderings. From its beginnings until present, mail art remains a simple act of human expression and egalitarian exchange between communities of devoted practitioners. Mail art is indeed the space where all can enter and play.

- Richard Metzgar, Professor, Art Department, SUNY Oswego and
Tina Chan, Art Librarian, Penfield Library, SUNY Oswego

Polish Peace Posters: New Digital Collection at University at Buffalo

Peace    Europe_Poland_security_and_cooperation

University at Buffalo just made available their newest digital collection, Polish Peace Posters, created by their International Languages and Literatures Librarian and Polish Room curator, Molly Poremski.

This collection of 23 Polish posters was originally printed for the World Peace Council, an international organization that advocates universal disarmament, ranging in dates from 1948 to 1978. This collection came from a set of reproductions selected by Karol Małcużyński published by Krajowa Agencja Wydawnicza around 1978.

Winner of the ARLIS/NA Upstate Travel Award

Sandra BrownCongratulations to Sandra Brown, the recipient of the 2014 ARLIS/NA Upstate NY Travel Award Award! The $200 award will help to defray the expense of attending the 2014 ARLIS/NA Annual Conference in Washington, D.C., May 1-5.

Sandra, a MSIS candidate at SUNY Albany, will be co-presenting a workshop, “Bookings: Making Makerspaces for Artists Books” at the conference.

“The workshop will combine a discussion of makerspaces along with hands-on practice in several bookbinding techniques. We’ll be working with book structures that could easily translate to creative programing in library spaces. The workshop will also allow attendees to experiment with politically themed content in their new book creations. I’ve been really fascinated with the growing makerspace buzz in the library field because of my long connection with studio arts programming. My presentation partners from the Women’s Studio Workshop offer instruction, equipment, and studio space for printmaking, papermaking and book arts in the Hudson Valley. One of the goals of the WSW space is to support artists who need certain equipment to work on a project but don’t have them readily available in their own home studio. I am interested in the parallels between WSW’s community focused studio space and library makerspaces that offer similar access to creative tools. I love that libraries can be incubators for thought, idea, and material creation. I hope our workshop will help fuel some artistic inspiration for other ARLIS members!

I am looking forward to my first ARLIS conference so much. I know it will be an inspiring event, and it will feel a bit celebratory for me too since I will also be wrapping up my last semester of MLIS coursework in early May. What an exciting time for me to be able to participate!”

News from the ARLIS/NA Chapters Liaison

pic-sherman_cropHello Upstate New York Chapter Members!

As the current Executive Board Chapters Liaison, I look forward to working with your Chapter during my two-year term, which ends at the 2015 annual conference.

At the 2013 annual conference in Pasadena, the Executive Board had a series of meetings in addition to gathering for two days in Washington D.C. in September for the mid-year Board Meeting. I wanted to share few highlights with you:


Pasadena Conference: It was a record-breaking success! We welcomed just over 710 registrants during a week of perfect weather — warm with sunshine. The fundraising efforts totaled $71,250.

Future Conferences: The Washington D.C. Conference planning team is hard at work.  It will be a fantastic conference from May 1-6, 2014. For more information visit the conference website. For the first time at a conference, a small number of sessions will be video recorded and available to members after the conference. Looking forward, we will begin to incorporate regular conference programming for international attendees and issues, following the success of welcoming Latin American and European librarians to the Pasadena conference. We come back to the West to meet in Forth Worth, Texas in 2015. We will meet in Seattle, WA in 2016 for the 3rd joint conference with the Visual Resources Association (VRA). The Executive Board is working with prospective host chapters to select a 2017 location.

Virtual Conference: I look forward to seeing many of you in-person at the future conferences. However, between DC and Fort Worth in Fall 2014, we will have the opportunity to meet online. A Virtual Conference is in development under the leadership of Executive Board Education Liaison, Sarah Falls. An implementation team is being formed.


Chapters have generously sponsored the annual conference. The donations have been greatly appreciated. I hope all Chapters will consider contributing a minimum of $200 to the D.C. conference. Get creative with fundraising throughout the year to support the annual conference and your chapter. The Development Committee members are available to support chapter fundraising efforts. Please be in touch with them or me for any assistance.

ARLIS/NA Website (AWS)

The website content has migrated to the new platform. The unveiling of the new website and new ARLIS/NA logo will be coming soon.

Association Manager

Robert Kopchinski was hired as the ARLIS/NA Association Manager in April 2013.  He has over 24 years of association management experience. Robert’s contact information is on the ARLIS/NA Website. His email is

The Executive Board will continue to have our monthly meetings. As usual, with every meeting we will have a lot to discuss toward the advancement of ARLIS/NA. I will keep you posted!

If you have questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact me.

Wishing you all the best for a great start to 2014!

Sarah Sherman
ARLIS/NA Executive Board, Chapters Liaison
Reference Librarian
Getty Research Institute

ARLIS Upstate NY Conference Travel Award


The ARLIS/NA Upstate NY chapter is pleased to announce the availability of a $200 conference travel award  to help to defray the expense of attending the 2014 ARLIS/NA Annual Conference, which will be in Washington, D.C., May 1-5. This award is intended to encourage professional development by supporting travel to the conference.

Use the ARLIS Upstate Travel Award Application to apply.

Applications are due by Friday, March 14.

Applicants must be a member of ARLIS Upstate NY and ARLIS/NA. All ARLIS Upstate NY members are eligible for the award. The applicant must be unable to receive full institutional funding toward ARLIS/NA conference travel. Preference will be given to first-time attendees and those who are participating in the conference as a speaker or moderator, or serving as a committee member.