Best wishes for a happy and healthy holiday season!
I am writing to provide a glimpse of the activities of this past year and to outline new initiatives for 2016.
I am delighted to report that Theatre Library Association has enjoyed another active and productive year. I thank our officers – Angela Weaver, Vice President, Colleen Reilly, Treasurer, and Laurie Murphy, Executive Secretary, the TLA Board, our committee members, and our general membership. Through their hard work and commitment to the mission of TLA, we continue to move forward with our publications, programs, and awards.
Welcome new board members Rosemary Davis and Claudia Chase! Welcome back Francesca Marini! A most welcome re-election to Diana Bertolini! Congratulations all!
Many thanks to Leahkim Gannett and Beth Kattelman for their service to the board.
It is that time of year to renew your TLA membership. If you are not currently a member, and you enjoy our news, publications, and events, please consider joining TLA. The TLA individual membership is $50 for the year. Your membership dues provide the financial foundation for our activities. We rely on your support in order to bring you Performing Arts Resources, the Freedley and Wall Book Awards, the Louis Rachow Distinguished Service Award, and the Brooks McNamara Librarian Scholarship Award. We share a passion for the performing arts and we are committed to its documentation and preservation through the various activities of the association. We support a robust network of professionals and are actively engaged with the archival, library, theatre, and academic communities. Through these awards and activities, we honor excellence in performing arts and film studies scholarship, we honor the best in our profession, and we promote and support future librarians and curators interested in performing arts collections. We enjoy a full circle.
I encourage you to Support TLA!
Please consider renewing or joining at the $75 rate in honor of our landmark 75 years or renew or join as a Sustaining Member at $150 – to help secure our next 75 years!
Annual Business Meeting
In line with our bylaws, we held our annual business meeting on October 16 following the board meeting. It was my privilege and duty as President of TLA to report on the activities of the association.
I am proud of the work of the Book Awards Committee. They continue to refine and perfect the process of working with publishers to identify and receive books for consideration. They coordinate shipping the books to all the jurors. The jurors then read, review, discuss, and decide on the finalists. In addition to managing this process, the committee members plan and arrange the Book Awards event. This year, we took a turn for a more relaxed and intimate get together to show our appreciation to our Freedley and Wall Award recipients and to honor our Distinguished Service Award recipient.
Congratulations to Arnold Aronson, our Freedley Award winner, for his outstanding work entitled Ming Cho Lee: A Life in Design. Our Wall Award winner, Mark Harris, was honored for his work Five Came Back: A Story of Hollywood and the Second World War. Scott Eyman was awarded the Wall Special Jury Prize for his work John Wayne: The Life and Legend. Warm congratulations to Karen Nickeson for her recognition as our Louis A. Rachow Distinguished Service Award.
The celebratory event was scheduled for the Café at the Library for the Performing Arts followed by a reception. We were honored to have all award recipients in attendance as well as our distinguished guest, Ming Cho Lee. There were many heartfelt notes of appreciation expressed by our award recipients — it was a lovely evening.
Many thanks to all of the jurors for honoring excellence! Many thanks to Grandaisy Bakery for their generous food donation. Thank you to Annemarie van Rousell and Evan Leslie of New York Public Library for the Performing Arts (LPA) for their wonderful effort to establish this year’s ceremony under LPA’s programs brand. Many thanks to Tiffany Nixon and Diana Bertollini, co- chairs, and committee members Linda Miles, Annemarie van Rousell, and Morgen Stevens-Garmon.
For full description of the Awards Event, please see the full blog post from Diana Bertolini.
Performing Arts Resources
Kenneth Schlesinger completed The State of the Profession:Performing Arts Librarianship in the 21st Century. I think this is an essential text focusing on timely issues for the profession. Kenneth brought together excellent contributions. I hope you all have had a chance to read this volume.
We have a number of exciting PAR volumes in queue. We continue to enjoy the memories of the SIBMAS TLA Conference. The proceedings are in process to be published by TLA as part of our Performing Arts Resources series. We are planning separate French and English text versions. SIBMAS is working diligently to translate for the French version. Tiffany Nixon has taken on the role of editor. We expect the volume to go to press in early 2016 – and ready for mailing before the SIBMAS Conference in Copenhagen 2016.
Marti LoMonaco has taken the lead on a PAR volume entitled Theatres at an Exhibition–Developing Dynamic Performing Arts Exhibits. The call for papers was recently distributed to the list. Marti is actively seeking contributors. We hope to engage many TLA folks in this project. I think this will be an important text serving as a primer with insight and best practices for staging exhibitions for the performing arts. We welcome you to share your knowledge and experience!
We also can look forward to PAR volumes on Digital Humanities and the Performing Arts with editors Doug Reside and Tanisha Jones. I will be working with John Calhoun on a future PAR on Theatre Architecture.
Many thanks to Leahkim Gannett for her terrific work leading the Publications Committee. She will be stepping down as chair at the end of this year. I am delighted she will remain on the committee. Congratulations to Joseph Tally for taking over leadership responsibilities and actively engaging with all the activities of this essential committee. Last year, I charged an Ad Hoc Committee on PAR to evaluate new publishing and business models. Leahkim and Joseph have moved this discussion forward. The committee will continue to review the literature and studies on open access models through 2016 before making recommendations to the board. I also plan to engage the board in an extended discussion on open access in preparation for the committee’s report. For now, the board has endorsed the effort to provide open access to our early PAR volumes, 1-22. The digitization process, access, and platform are in discussion.
We had a strong presence at the ASTR Conference in Portland with several TLA members in attendance. The plenary session was well attended — with engaging presentations on the Samuel French Project by Rosemary Davis, Untitled Audio/Visual Oregon Shakespeare Project by Debra Griffith and Gwyn Hervochon, and The Wild Adventures of the William Archer Collection by Thomas Postlewait. These presentations told wonderful stories of jubilation, frustration, and discovery in working in archives. Angela Weaver arranged an exciting tour of the Gerding Theatre at the Armory. We had great attendance for this event. We were fortunate to have an excellent guide — Creon Thorne.
Many thanks to Noreen Barnes and Matt DiCintio for co-chairing the plenary and to Matt for moderating this exciting panel.
We now begin planning for ASTR 2016! Beth Kattleman and Matt DiCintio will be serving as co-chairs for the next TLA Plenary at ASTR.
The website is a beautiful work in progress. I hope you all are enjoying the interface, posts, and the responsive design on your mobile devices! Many thanks to Angela Weaver and Eric Colleary, co chairs of the Website Editorial Committee, and to all of the committee members for their excellent contributions including content development and working to develop best practices for communicating the activities of the association.
The last issue of BROADSIDE Digest was published July, 2015; and the next issue will be published this winter.
Emily Witkowski replaced Charlotte Cubbage as the Book Review Editor on the Website Editorial Committee. Welcome Emily! If you are interested in contributing to our Book Reviews, let us know!
Liaison — ATAP, ACRL-Arts
We continue to support the innovative efforts of ATAP. ATAP is seeking nominations for candidates to join its Steering Committee in January 2016 for a three year appointment. Helice Koffler and Colleen Reilly will be rotating from the Steering Committee to the Advisory Board. Candidates should be able to commit to a monthly conference call and service to a sub-committee such as Funding or Training.
ATAP conducted several activities at the ASTR-TLA conference including a Portland area archivist training session, the local plenary session, and the Portland Initiation Program grant. You can find news and updates on the activities of ATAP in their monthly newsletter.
ACRL – Arts
Many thanks to Diana King for her excellent and persevering work with ACRL Arts Section. She has helped to move forward exciting conference programs for ALA Conferences — many in collaboration with other associations such as Music Library Association. Diana is also working as co-chair on the Ad Hoc Committee on Libraries, a joint committee with ASTR members. The committee members met at the ASTR Conference in Portland to discuss next steps for the committee.
There is a potential new partnership with the association POBA. Kenneth Schlesinger currently serves on the board of POBA and will explore future joint activities for POBA and TLA.
Symposium Planning or Symp4
The Symposium 4 Committee is actively planning TLA’s fourth symposium to be held in October 2016. The theme for the symposium will focus on Documenting the Fringe. Proposed panel discussions will cover several important aspects of fringe festivals including the history of festivals, program planning, and how the festivals contribute to the performing arts scenes in their communities. Other panel themes will include a scholarly investigation of fringe festivals and a panel with librarians and archivists to share strategies for documenting festivals. The call for papers was approved by the board and will be sent out in early spring 2016.
Our Facebook activity is comprised of shared news articles with focus on all aspects of performing arts and TLA news. We want to grow our “Likes” and ask our membership to follow us on Facebook!
Many thanks to Colleen Reilly for all of her work for TLA. She is committed to an additional year of service as treasurer to help refine our banking and accounting procedures as we work to centralize this activity to an account in New York City. She is on top of everything that comes her way. I appreciate all her work in keeping our books in order.
As of October 4, 2015, Colleen Reilly reported that the TLA Account Balance totaled $93,481. Our expenses include publishing the PAR volume, and Book Awards mailing expenses and honorarium. PAR volumes 27, 29, and 30 continue modest sales. This balance also includes funding allocated for the SIBMAS TLA Conference Proceedings.
Secretary / Membership Committee Report
Many thanks to Laurie Murphy for all of her excellent work for TLA. She too is on top of everything that comes her way.
Laurie has spent many hours diligently updating and readying our membership directory for the website. This is terrific news and many thanks to Laurie for all this work. A thank you to Doug Reside for setting up the backend platform – we expect to have this important resource available very soon.
2015 Membership Statistics
Membership statistics are a concern. Laurie reported that as of October 8, 2015, we currently have 193 members representing a significant drop in membership. The steepest decline is with our personal members but we have seen institutional cuts as well.
As chair of the Membership Committee, Laurie will be heading an initiative to review our membership, solicit feedback from lapsed members, and will work with the Membership Committee on a membership drive for 2016!
I had an exciting year presenting at a number of library and academic conferences. I joined a panel at the Society for Cinema and Media Studies Conference this past March. The focus of discussion was Research in Film Studies in the 21st Century. For an early morning session, our audience extended to standing room only. There was tremendous interest from attendees in libraries, digital access, and impact of digital technology on future scholarship. We had engaging questions and a lively discussion following the presentations. I also had an extraordinary opportunity to present at the IFLA Conference in August held in Cape Town, South Africa. My talk was focused on issues related to streaming video for educational support — a subject very much on my mind these days. We continue to meet new challenges in libraries and archives with innovative practices in our collecting, access, and teaching. Digital technology has helped to change our traditional methods and practices. It was once feared that Google would make libraries and librarians obsolete — I believe we are more vital than ever. I hold the passionate comments from our Book Awards recipients as testimony that our work is respected and appreciated.
Once known as Leo Astor and Leo Lenox, the iconic and beloved public sculptures of two male lions that sit in front of the New York Public Library were renamed in the 1930s by Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia. He called them Patience and Fortitude in order to remind and inspire New Yorkers of the qualities they would need to survive the hardship of the Great Depression. Today, they serve as mascots for NYPL and New Yorkers still lovingly refer to them as Patience and Fortitude. I hope you enjoy this picture from my trip to South Africa. I now lovingly refer to these lion cubs as Patience, Jr. and Fortitude, Jr. — reminding us all that these continue to be important qualities particularly in today’s world.
President, Theatre Library Association