Receiving the Caroline Backlund Award has been crucial to supporting my deeper involvement with ARLIS/NA, both in terms of my local chapter and the national organization. Most practically, it provided the funds I needed to register, worry free, for the previous conference. But that financial support went much further than paying the bills. With the support of this award, I was able to focus my energy on a presentation I gave with fellow Mid-Atlantic member Claralyn Burt: “Fostering Collaborative Institutional Cultures Through DEI Initiatives.” I also volunteered to co-facilitate the “Diversity & Inclusion Committee’s Diversity Forum: Accessibility in Art Libraries” alongside Carla-Mae Crookendale, another Mid-Atlantic member. I am extremely grateful for these opportunities to participate at the national level, listening and learning from colleagues in a more active and present way.

With the funds from the Backlund Award, I also had the ability to participate in extra workshops. I exercised my creative lesson planning skills with “Workshop III: Teaching in the Art Library: From Pedagogy to Praxis” and “Workshop IV: Building Character: Popular Tabletop RPGs and the Importance of Idea Development for Creative Students.” Both sessions introduced me to colleagues creating a community of practice around critical, creative, and responsive teaching techniques I look forward to practicing. I pushed beyond my technological comfort zone with “Workshop II: Wikidata for Art Librarians” and the related session “Linked Data for Art Libraries: New Approaches to Metadata.” Both the workshop and session shared a variety of linked data projects, going beyond theoretical discussions and instead showing real-world applications and challenges.

The Backlund Award is our professional community telling students and early-career professionals that they are on the right track; they are producing great work and contributing to the vibrance of our shared professional practice. Please consider donating today to the Caroline Backlund Award fund. Your contributions make participating in our professional community possible for our newest members and gives them the vote of confidence they need to confidently step forward and join in.

-K. Sarah Ostrach, 2020-21 Samuel H. Kress Fellowship in Art Librarianship at the Robert B. Haas Family Arts Library at Yale University