ARLIS workshop: Art and Design Reference Resources

ARLIS/UK & Ireland  PDC event: Art and Design Reference Resources, National Art Library, V&A Museum, London, 18 January 2016

My name is Jane and I’m a recent arrival to the library team at Tate Library & Archive in London. The Introduction to Art and Design Reference Resources workshop on 18 January 2016 was my first ARLIS event, and I would like to share my thoughts about the day with you, ARLIS members and others. I found the choice of the National Art Library (NAL) to be apt, it gave the event a holistic feeling since participants were surrounded by all of the NAL’s wonderful print and electronic resources: this felt very special.

The choice of speakers was well thought-out. These were experienced art library & information professionals from different institutions: Bernadette Archer of the NAL; Cathy Johns of the Royal College of Art; Joseph Ripp of the National Portrait Gallery (NPG) and Jane Bramwell and Allison Foster from Tate Library & Archive. Highlights for me were the useful resources recommended by Bernadette Archer; the enquiry desk experiences of Cathy Johns; the witty insight into the NPG’s archives by Joseph Ripp and the hands-on demonstration of  Tate’s Archives and Access digitisation project for participants by Jane Bramwell and Allison Foster. As someone relatively new to the field I gained a lot from these talks, and I believe that the resources recommended by the speakers and their shared experiences will help with queries in the future.


The group work organised by Yamuna Ravindran and members of ARLIS Professional Development Committee was an engaging way to get to grips with some of the available resources and it was a useful way to hear feedback from other colleagues in the field about how they approach research queries. The tour of the NAL was great for finding out more about the NAL’s collections, and was a good way to finish the event. It was a pleasure to meet colleagues in the field and to have the feeling we are all working towards the same goals of providing the greatest access to resources for all our library users. Cathy Johns, when talking through how best to help library users made a comment that resonated with me: ‘staff make resources come alive’. Thank you to the ARLIS team and all involved for an excellent day.