Conference Experiences: Vaughan Hennen

It is hard to comprehend how much I have learned in the past months about music librarianship and art librarianship.  From March 2-5 2016, I attended the Music Librarian Association conference in Cincinnati, Ohio and from the 8th to the 12th I attended the joint ARLIS/VRA conference in Seattle, Washington.
Both conferences exposed me to many different areas of librarianship and helped me connect with both students and professionals.  The conferences reignited my passion for librarianship and gave me tons of new ideas for outreach and programming.

It was evident that the attendees of both conferences are advocates and defenders of the “common good” in libraries and society.

Music Library Association (MLA) Conference – Cincinnati, OH – March 2016

The MLA conference taught me a lot about networking and what other schools are doing to promote access to their unique and diverse collections.  The association is trying to become more “diverse” – there were great open discussions about what “diversity” means and how to create and foster a “diverse” library. The discussions in the committee meetings and round tables were enlightening and made me realize the profound amount of respect many librarians have for their counterparts.

Through the great musicianship of the performers at the conference, I found a spark to begin playing cello on a regular basis again.  It was great being in a group of people who are passionate about music scholarship, stewardship, and performance.  I never realized that MLA had so many wonderful musicians in its ranks!

My mentor for the conference was Leslie Anderson. She is a hoot, to say the least!  It was nice to see a familiar face after meeting dozens of strangers and nodding and smiling all of the time.  At times, I want to be like April Ludgate (Parks and Recreation) and run away from the onslaught of people.

I attended so many enlightening sessions!  Three of my favorites during the conference were:

  • “Teaching Performance Based Research Skills: Students Reflections and Experiences” by Kristina Shanton from Ithaca College.
  • “Soulful Sounds of Southwestern Ohio: From King Records to Dayton Funk” — Sponsor: Black Music Collections Round Table and speakers that included: Scott Brown (UCLA), David N. Lewis (WVXU Cincinnati), Brian Powers (Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County)
    • The attendees of this session had the privilege of hearing Otis Williams, the lead singer of The Charms and Philip Paul, a King Record session drummer.
      • Philip Paul was just notified that he will be entering the Jazz hall of fame this year
  • “Digital Curation with OMEKA” led by Anna Kijas (Boston College).

The Digital Curation and Research Skills lectures were especially helpful, as I would like to allow more music to be accessible to patrons.

I met several new student colleagues at MLA, who I will most likely be interacting and collaborating with for the rest of my professional career.  We had a great time getting to know each other’s backgrounds, home institution, and inspiration for pursuing music librarianship.  It was also really fun to get to know the music librarians who I have seen through list-servs and periodical articles.

While at MLA, the Contemporary Art Center had an exhibition of Robert Mapplethorpe titled “After The Moment: Reflections on Robert Mapplethorpe”.  This amazing exhibition celebrated the 25th anniversary of the CAC’s exhibition of Mapplethorpe’s The Perfect Moment.  The show featured responses to CAC’s hosting of The Perfect Moment, both for and against — many of the responses against were very intense and showed the ripe chord that this show struck with many conservatives in the area.

Do Ho Suh was also being exhibited at CAC – his works are seen below – they had huge structures made of translucent materials!

Check out CAC’s web archive of every exhibition that has been at the Center since 1939!!

Pictures of the CAC’s exhibition of Do Ho Suh

The CAC had a great outreach and program to get patrons into the museum!  –Drink and Draw, where people can come, purchase drinks and draw!  This is a great idea for a library – maybe we could replace the alcohol with a themed drink like a V8 or smoothies.

 

Art Libraries Society of North America (ARLIS/NA) and Visual Resources Association (VRA) Joint Conference Seattle, WA – March 2016

The ARLIS/VRA was an amazing experience and made me happy that I am taking myself out of my comfort zone to learn about art and art librarianship.  There are so many facets of art librarianship and visual resources that it is sometimes overwhelming for an art novice.

ARLIS exposed me to a group of amazing individuals who are greatly invested in making materials more accessible and better utilized.

The Graphic Novel Special Interest Group (SIG), GLBTQ SIG, and Fashion, Textile, and Costumes SIG were AMAZING!  The SIG meetings allowed me to meet people who share my interests and discuss issues that we both care about.  My friend and colleague, Andrew Wang, presented at the Graphic Novel SIG and presented a poster about Zine cataloging!  He is a great role model for art librarianship students!

The GLBTQ Special Interest Group presentation allowed attendees to learn about the great programs that center around GLBTQ issues in Seattle.  The presenters included representatives from Gay City, Seattle Public Library, University of Portland Archive.

Fashion has always been fascinating to me – when I was a kid I wanted to be a fashion designer!  This was the first time that I got to discuss with scholars in the field and learn more about the textile facet of art librarianship.  Coming from a music background, all of this stuff is VERY new.

Here are some pictures of the closing reception at the Seattle Public Library.  Plus some fun pictures of Kendra Werst, Andrew Wang, and I.

Future Thinking

I believe it would be beneficial and very eye-opening if VRA and MLA did a joint conference.  Imagine the great ideas that could be fostered with musicians and artists in the same room!  Music librarians are madly trying to digitize musical scores to promote access and preserve the physical artifact.  Visual Resource librarians could help greatly with this process as they have great expertise in digitizing high-quality images.  In many cases when a score is digitized, it is not scanned at a high level and the beautiful cover is not included with the scan.

The Visual Resources librarians can greatly help to link artists to the cover art of scores or albums.