Congratulations to Kai Alexis Smith, who started as the Architecture and Design Librarian at MIT in December 2018. Previously she was the Subject Librarian for the College of Environmental Design at Cal Poly Pomona in Pomona, California. Kai will be presenting at ARLIS/NA in Salt Lake City with Ann Roll and Laurel Bliss on their formation of a consortial collaboration of Arts & Performing Arts librarians across 23 California State University campuses. Stop by to catch her presentation and congratulate her. In May Kai will be attending the International Architecture Librarian’s Conference in Venice, Italy. Kai looks forward to attending future conferences and getting to know more librarians in the Architecture Section.
This month’s post highlights several upcoming conferences that many of us might be interested in attending.
There are two very important conferences in late March: ARLIS/NA will be meeting in Salt Lake City and AASL will be meeting in Pittsburgh. Unfortunately, they are meeting at almost the same time, but hopefully many of us can take advantage of both or learn from our colleagues when we can’t.
Here’s some information of particular relevance to our architectural interests.
ARLIS/NA Conference, Salt Lake City
Tours of SLC architecture, Park City, Ogden, and Spiral Jetty, among others, are planned for March 26th and March 30th.
Among the sessions of particular relevance to our group are:
“You Too Can Write a Review” on Wednesday at 1:30 pm (getting the inside scoop on writing reviews for ARLIS/NA)
“Now You See It, Now You Don’t: Accessing Design Work” on Wednesday at 4:10 pm (This is a discussion session about documenting and saving student design work (physical and digital design).)
“Architecture Networks: Building Connections Between Collections” on Friday at 2 pm (highlighting several online architectural collections created by our members)
Architecture Section meeting: Thursday 8 am
Urban Planning SIG meeting: Thursday 8 am
Materials SIG meeting: Thursday 12:30 pm
AASL Conference, Pittsburgh
Tour of Pittsburgh architecture on March 28th and 2 Frank Lloyd Wright inspired tours on March 31st.
Sessions on the 29th and 30th relating to architectural librarianship (we’ll be on the Carnegie Mellon campus on the 30th). The conference coincides with the ACSA (Assoc of Collegiate Schools of Architecture) annual meeting.
ARCLIB Conference, Venice, Italy
May 8-10, 2019
ARCLIB (UK Architecture Librarians) are meeting with CNBA (their Italian counterparts) in Venice in May. I’m sure they’d welcome any of us who could join them.
SAH 2019 Annual Conference, Providence, RI
April 24-28, 2019
There are sessions on architectural treatises, drawings, and copyright among other themes.
ARLIS UK & Ireland, Glasgow, Scotland
July 15-17, 2019
ARLIS UK & Ireland will be celebrating their 50th anniversary next summer in Glasgow. They just issued a call for papers. I had the good fortune to attend their conference in London last summer and found it to be an incredibly rewarding experience.
Robert Adams, Associate Director of the Library, Boston Architectural College
Dana Sly, Instruction Librarian, Boston Architectural College
Amy Trendler, Architecture Librarian, Ball State University Libraries
Why a Pop-Up Library?
The flexible content and format of the pop-up library make it adaptable to many different purposes and situations, and for the Boston Architectural College (BAC) Library and the Architecture Library at Ball State University the pop-up has proven to be a great way of reaching out to those in the schools’ practice-based studio programs. By taking the library to where students and faculty members are, the pop-up library helps reach groups that may not be regularly visiting the architecture library in its home space or making use of the library’s collections and services.
Where Does the Library Pop Up?
Inspired by projects in other art and architecture libraries including a pop-up library at the Alfred R. Goldstein Library at the Ringling College of Art & Design, the summer studio mobile library at the Frances Loeb Library at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, and the in-studio reserves from the Architecture Library at the University of Maryland, the libraries at the BAC and Ball State have been popping up in studios, classrooms, busy public spaces, and special events. These have included:
- Studios. Each semester, the BAC hosts a “studio lottery” for incoming, advanced-level architecture students. Faculty give brief presentations on the different thesis topics to be offered that semester, and students rank their top studio choices. Students are then assigned to a topic through a lottery system. Librarians attend these studio lotteries with a mobile library and make note of the various project topics offered in each studio. This gives students and faculty the opportunity to browse a portion of the library’s collection and allows the librarians to incorporate the knowledge of studio topics into collection development and information literacy strategies. Librarians and faculty also discuss how the library may support each studio and make plans for individual studio pop-ups.
- Classrooms. The Architecture Library at Ball State popped up in an architecture seminar class where students had been tasked with finding books on their group topics to use in presentations. While students browsed the cart and the instructor spoke with students who had questions about the assignment, the librarian made an effort to talk with each group to see if they were finding what they needed on the cart or to suggest ways to find other books on their topic.
- Busy public spaces. In the Architecture Building at Ball State, the pop-up library has been appearing in the building’s atrium during the lunch hour before the college’s studio classes start. Students and faculty members coming and going from lunch are encouraged to browse the new books or stop by to look at books selected to fit with an array of ongoing studio projects.
- Special events. The BAC Library hosted a pop-up library during the school’s last National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) accreditation visit. The NAAB visiting team members were very impressed with both the selection of items on display from the collection and the idea of the pop-up library itself. The BAC librarians also recently attended a lecture on prison design at the school. They created a hybrid pop-up library that combined both circulating collection and special collections material. This mobile library visit featured the library’s 1761 Carceri d’invenzione by Giovanni Battista Piranesi displayed on the top tier of the cart, with circulating material on the shelves below.
What Makes the Pop-up Library Work?
Pop-up or mobile libraries are customizable to suit the needs of a particular situation or event. There are, however, a few general guidelines that we follow in order to make the mobile libraries functional.
- Selection. First, we compile a list of relevant titles suited to the subject, audience, and desired purpose of the pop-up event in question. The subjects and audiences will, of course, vary each time the mobile library is assembled. For instance, book lists compiled for class visits at the BAC often feature duplicates of titles placed on reserve for that class and additional items relevant to that class’s theme or focus. Many courses in the design field are organized around several case studies – and so, when pulling materials for the mobile cart, we aim to collect information relevant to those specific projects.
- Collaboration. The pop-up library can be an opportunity to collaborate with instructors and students. Meeting or corresponding with an instructor or affiliate group (such as student government) before bringing a mobile library to the classroom allows for both library and faculty to request and recommend materials that suit the interests and projects of students. In addition to incorporating titles requested by faculty, this collaboration also provides librarians with the opportunity to recommend materials that might not be on the instructor or affiliate group’s radar. At the BAC, several times a faculty member has also checked out a book from the mobile cart and remarked on the scope of the cart’s (and the library’s) collection of compiled resources.
- Checkout. Once items are selected for the cart, they are checked out to an administrative library account. This may be a user account specifically designed for the pop-up, or it may be the individual account of the librarian (or librarians) conducting the pop-up. By charging each item out to the librarian, it marks the materials as unavailable to those who may be in the library at the time of the pop-up, and makes note of the book’s use for circulation statistics.
- Display and transportation. Items are then arranged on a rolling library cart in an attractive display. A visually appealing display is one that draws attention to the cart, is lush enough to encourage browsing, but one that is not overcrowded or overwhelming. Depending on the scenario, you may wish to select between a one- or two-sided cart. A two-sided cart allows for students to circulate the entire cart and maximizes the number of students who may use the cart at once. If periodicals or narrower, less structured materials are featured on the cart, however, a one-sided cart may be more appropriate and provide more stability. At Ball State, the library has acquired two tall AV carts that can display many books or magazines on book easels.
* It is important to consider the intent of a pop-up in the design of your cart. When planning a mobile library for a public area, such as the Ball State Architecture Library’s biweekly atrium pop-ups, a table or several carts allow for a more spread out display. It may be also important to visit the space ahead of time. Visualizing how the pop-up will occupy the space will help determine the size of your display and the number of carts or tables.
* It may be that your library pop-up is occurring in a separate building, or in a space that requires the cart to travel a farther distance than a simple ride on the elevator or stroll down the hall. In these cases, you may wish to pack your books and display material and assemble the cart on site for safety and ease of transit. A cart with sturdy wheels is a must when moving between buildings. Never turn down an extra set of hands to help navigate obstacles with the cart!
- Mobile checkout. Finally, a pop-up library needs some method of checking materials out to patrons. If technology permits, some may like to include a laptop loaded with your ILS software and a mobile scanner. However, a simple notepad and pen will suffice. When patrons wish to check out an item, the librarian makes note of their library barcode number and the barcodes of the materials they wish to check out.
- After the pop-up. Once the library cart returns to the library, items are charged to the patrons who checked out materials during the pop-up. Then, any remaining material is discharged and the library account double-checked to make sure that all materials have been accounted for.
- Giveaways. For the Ball State Architecture Library’s pop-ups in the atrium at lunch time, the primary goal is outreach and visibility. In addition to providing a selection of books for checkout, the pop-up often features giveaways ranging from the Architecture Library’s coloring bookmarks (with library hours and contact information on the back) or candy to university library-branded water bottles and pens. Mobile libraries at the Boston Architectural College have featured giveaways of a different sort. After noting that periodical circulation had significantly decreased, the librarians brought a selection of free, duplicate copies of library periodicals down to the ground floor of the main building during a new student welcome week event. These duplicates were given away to students for free while the librarians spoke with students about the library’s periodical collections available for use.
Where Will the Library Pop Up Next?
The flexible content and format of the pop-up library make it adaptable to many different purposes and situations, and the librarians at the BAC and the Architecture Library at Ball State have plans for more pop-ups that capitalize on variations in timing, location, or collaborations.
- In terms of timing, special events such as guest lectures, welcome week, and finals week all lend themselves to different kinds of pop-ups focused on a subject, new or interesting materials, and stress-relievers or last-minute project needs. The Architecture Library at Ball State already has plans for a pop-up library at finals time that will feature various relaxing activities such as flipping through a design magazine and time-saving items available for checkout such as phone chargers and flash drives.
- Locations elsewhere in the building or across campus offer another kind of opportunity. In the six-story BAC building the elevator bank is the perfect location for a mobile library that will take advantage of students’ and faculty members’ wait times and turn it into library material browsing time.
- Collaborations are planned with academic departments at the BAC and with student organizations at both schools. The BAC librarians plan to bring the mobile library to the college’s biweekly departmental curriculum meetings. This will allow the librarians to showcase new and relevant books to deans and faculty. They also plan to bring new books to the college’s monthly All Staff meeting in order to reach out to employees outside the education department, who may not realize that the library supports them as well. Pop-ups coordinated with student groups’ events such as PARK(ing) Day and student organizations’ fundraiser sales are in the works at both libraries.
Finally, pop-up libraries are due to pop up in assessment, although we are still working out the details on what this will look like. In our experience, the value of the pop-up goes beyond strictly quantifiable numbers such as the items checked out, and it doesn’t fall neatly into the kinds of statistics kept at a reference desk. Anecdotally, instructors at the BAC have reported that students have gotten better grades on their projects after a visit from the mobile library. The trick is to capture such observations in a meaningful way. Ideally, we can demonstrate through assessment what we have observed in practice. Namely that the pop-up or mobile library is a successful outreach tool for architecture libraries.
Architecture, Urban Planning & Visual Resources Librarian, University of Michigan
It is with great delight that I report on my recent trip to London, England. I feel fortunate to have been able both to attend the ARLIS UK & Ireland conference and to extend my stay so that I could visit a number of architecture and design libraries.
Though marked by uncharacteristically sweltering heat and dry weather, my visit was tremendously productive and meaningful in that I visited several architecture libraries and talked with their librarians. I am very grateful to support from the Kress Foundation as well as supplemental professional development funds from the University of Michigan Library making the trip possible.
The conference (July 26-27) offered two full days of programming and a day of tours of selected London libraries. I found the presentations interesting, inspiring, and highly relevant to my work. Some personal favorites were a session on the use of Special Collections to support creativity and critical thinking in the studio as well as the classroom. It was a lesson in using eccentric objects and deliberately odd experiences to provide the unexpected for students. In addition, there were several presentations on artist’s books and their value in highlighting current issues and social themes, as well as in providing meaningful hands-on learning experiences. I presented on the use and value of materials collections and happily heard several other papers offering new perspectives and experiences related to materials collections.
Four keynote speakers spoke over the two days. With keen insight and humor, they brought new points of view challenging our norms of practice and thought. They each spoke to broader issues of librarianship, particularly in arts or special libraries. Each one challenged us to reconsider our definitions of the typical librarian, the typical library user, and the typical library. I was particularly impressed by how their words asked us to think about how our teaching methodologies and collection practices can lead to silences and excluded voices.
On the Saturday after the sessions, the organizers offered an optional tour day. I participated in two museum library tours; the National Gallery Library and the Tate Britain Library. It was truly special to be able to walk through their library collections and archives in spaces that only their library and curatorial staff can access. Particularly fascinating in the Tate Britain Archives was a model ship used by Turner in many of his seascapes and depictions of sea battles. Everyone was exceedingly generous with their time and knowledge.
A high point of the trip was being able to take the time to visit six art/architecture libraries. I pre-arranged meetings with each of the art and architecture librarians. Highlights were touring collections and spaces, and talking with librarians and staff at the Architectural Association, the Bartlett at University College London, the Royal College of Art, Central St. Martin’s College of Art & Design, Ravensbourne University, and RIBA.
They graciously took the time to meet with me and talk about their libraries. It was especially inspiring to learn from them, to see their collections, and to discover the challenges that we share and those that are different.
The biggest take-away for me was realizing the surprising similarities in the work of the arts librarian in the UK and the arts librarian in North America.
In addition, I visited a few materials collections, twelve museums, and two historic houses. I chose to visit several museums focused on art and design (The Design Museum, The Fashion and Textile Museum, The Tate Modern and Tate Britain, The V&A, The National Gallery, Sir John Soane’s Museum) and some focused more on the social history of the city (The Museum of London, The Museum of London Docklands, The Transport Museum, The Foundling Museum, and The Tower of London).
And there were the fun hours walking through the neighborhoods and parks of London.
Attending the ARLIS UK & Ireland conference gave me the opportunity to talk with and hear from numerous international colleagues and to gain a much deeper understanding of their work. If any of you are given the opportunity to attend in the future, I highly recommend it. And as librarians visit us from other countries, I hope that we open our collections to them as generously as was done for me.
Architecture and Fine Arts Library, University of Florida
In the spring of 2017, Professor Morris Hylton III, the Program Director for Historic Preservation at the University of Florida, approached the George A. Smathers Libraries with a proposal to digitize material related to the Preservation Institute Nantucket(PIN), which will celebrate its fiftieth year in 2022. PIN was founded in 1972 by F. Blair Reeves, a faculty member in the School of Architecture at the University of Florida, in partnership with Walter Beinecke, Jr.
The F. Blair Reeves Papers in the Architecture Archives include correspondence, grant proposals, course material, and photographs that all document the foundation, history, and culture of the early years of PIN. In order to make this material accessible through digitization, we applied to the Strategic Opportunities Grant Program (SOP), which is internally funded by the Smathers Libraries. Through this program, the team (which included faculty and staff from the Department of Special and Area Studies Collections, Preservation, and Digital Production Services) was able to secure funds to digitize roughly 6,000 pages from the F. Blair Reeves Papers and to document related PIN material held in other collections and sometimes, offices.
During July of 2017, I traveled to Nantucket (escaping the Florida heat for a few days) to visit the Research Library of the Nantucket Historical Association(NHA) and the PIN Studios. The NHA is one of the official repositories for PIN material which includes the PIN Archives, student reports, and Historic Structure Reports. I took a rough estimate of the materials that had accumulated in the PIN Studio in Sherburne Hall over the years. This material included student reports, exhibit material, posters, program files, working drawings, and the wooden signs that the students created every summer for the PIN studio. I was only able to document the various formats and take a rough estimate of the quantity of material during my brief visit. Full documentation will have to await the transfer of materials to the Architecture Archives at the University of Florida. Whenever the PIN Studio and the Research Library was closed, I took the opportunity to see as much of Nantucket as possible!
In the fall of 2017 Digital Production Services began digitizing the materials selected from F. Blair Reeves Papers. In the end, they scanned 6,315 pages of material and digitized several audio files. The grant also allowed us to fund a graduate student research assistant who documented the materials that had accumulated in the current PIN offices at the University of Florida. Our research assistant worked both fall and spring semesters to organize and document twelve boxes of archival material that were transferred to the Architecture Archives this past spring. He documented the dates, significant people associated with the materials, format, quantity, and a brief description, which will aid in the creation of a finding aid for the collection. I was also able to identify additional collections here at UF that contain PIN material including oral histories and student work.
The project funded by the SOP grant is just now wrapping up. Our priority moving forward is to continue to digitize PIN material locally from some of the newly identified collections.
For those interested in PIN, you can learn about its early history through the F. Blair Reeves Papers. The digitized material is available in the University of Florida Digital Collections: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/pin. We will continue to add material over the next few weeks, so please do check back. If you would like to know more about either PIN or the newly launched Preservation Institute St. Augustine (PISA), information can be found on the website for the Historic Preservation Program in the College of Design, Construction, and Planning at the University of Florida.
Head, Built Environments Library, University of Washington, Seattle
This February at the 2018 ARLIS/NA Conference in New York, James Sobczak and I presented our information competencies for the fields of architecture and architectural history. We received some excellent feedback there from the discussion group that was convened. Interested in expanding some of the ideas brought up there, we attended the annual conference of the Association of Architecture School Librarians in Denver, to discuss the idea of coordinating a nationwide effort to study the goals of educators in these two fields and to survey recent graduates to see if they felt they were getting skills that they needed in the workplace. With this perspective on what educators are seeking to teach and what students say that they need, we are hoping to develop data that can assist architecture school librarians with developing effective information literacy strategies. At the very least, we are hoping to understand what key courses should be targeted with greater levels of cooperative teaching from librarians. In this way, our limited time could be spent most efficiently.
Since that time, we have been in contact with a small group of volunteers to consider next steps in this long-term project. We have discussed implementing several features in our research methodology. These steps would include initial collection of data–syllabi, departmental outlines of curricula, accreditation reports, and other written statements of purpose by departmental leaders–about the courses currently taught in architecture and architectural history. An initial study period of this departmental data seems fundamental to familiarizing ourselves about the overall curricular structure, areas of pedagogical focus, and the approaches of individual instructors.
James Sobczak has developed a survey instrument for students who’ve graduated, either at the undergraduate or graduate levels. This survey focuses on skills that young professionals got while in school, and to ask if they saw any deficiencies in their training. Additionally, surveys could be prepared to query incoming graduate students about skills that they hoped to obtain while earning their degrees.
Contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you’re interested in participating.
By Aimee Lind, Getty Research Library
For scholars, researchers, and fans of architecture and design, a new research guide is available that provides an introduction to the Getty Research Library’s substantial archival holdings on this topic.
The architecture and design collections of the Getty Research Library include a vast array of materials related to architecture and design. These diverse resources reveal the complex dimensions of the design process, from initial sketches and study models to evocative final renderings, detailed construction drawings, and published promotional photographs. The collection’s extensive archival materials include letters, notebooks, audiovisual materials and ephemera that outline the evolving themes and issues of architectural discourse. International holdings date from 1500 to the present, with concentrations in 19th- and 20th-century avant-garde movements and mid-20th-century modernism.
Highlights of the collection include the archives of progressive Southern California architects Frank Gehry, Pierre Koenig, John Lautner, Ray Kappe, Frank Israel, and William Krisel; international projects by Coop Himmelb(l)au, Peter Eisenman, Yona Friedman, Zaha Hadid, Philip Johnson, Daniel Libeskind, Aldo Rossi, Bernard Rudofsky, Lebbeus Woods, and Frank Lloyd Wright; the influential architectural photography of Julius Shulman and Lucien Hervé; and the papers of Reyner Banham, Ada Louise Huxtable, and Nikolaus Pevsner.
The Architecture & Design Collections Research Guide was created with the aim of assembling these resources in one place, making the breadth and depth of the GRI’s holdings in these subject areas easier to grasp and research simpler to undertake. The Research Guide is a work in progress. Though it is not designed to be comprehensive, an attempt has been made to include all major archival collections as well as individual materials connected to important figures.
The Architecture & Design Collections Research Guide is divided into the following sections:
Welcome & Getting Started serves as an introduction to our library, our holdings, as well as key points regarding access.
Papers of Architects & Designers is an alphabetical list of architects and designers represented in our archival collections, complete with holdings summaries and links to the Primo record.
Papers of Architectural Critics & Historians is an alphabetical list of architectural critics and historians represented in our archival collections, complete with holdings summaries and links to the Primo record.
Architectural Photography Archives is an alphabetical list of photographers of the built environment represented in our archival collections, complete with holdings summaries and links to the Primo record.
Notable Southern California Modernism Collections gathers the Getty’s notable holdings in Southern California Modernism into one page, with links to both the Primo record and the full collection Finding Aids.
California Architecture Collections Search Portal is a custom search that only returns records with the terms “architect*” (architecture, architect, architectural, etc.) and “ca*” (California, Calif., CA, etc.) in subject headings, thereby streamlining the search process and bringing back only results that are highly relevant to the architects and architecture of California.
Bauhaus Resources gathers the Getty’s important Bauhaus holdings into one page, complete with holdings summaries and links to the Primo record. As 2019 marks the centenary of the founding of the school, these resources are sure to be in great demand.
Other Collections of Note include papers representing significant schools, movements, meetings, exhibitions, and competitions.
Related Past Exhibitions provides links to past Getty exhibitions that focused on architecture and design themes.
Researching an Architect and Researching a Building contain links to online guides, directories, encyclopedias, and databases that can be accessed from anywhere without a subscription as well as links to key Getty subscription databases that are particularly useful for those researching the built environment.
We hope you will make use of this Research Guide and we welcome suggestions for how we can make it better!
By Aimee Lind, Getty Research Library
All known architecture-related ARLIS/NA sessions through 2017 are now listed on the ARLIS/NA Website’s Architecture Section pages, with links to the presentations themselves where available.
Thanks to Rebecca Price for doing the legwork on this and to Mark Pompelia for updating the website. It’s so nice to have these all in one place in order to see all of the important & brilliant work our colleagues are doing! If you know of a session that is not included, please contact me at email@example.com or comment below and I will make sure it is added.
Ryerson & Burnham Libraries, Art Institute of Chicago
In 2016, historian David Garrard Lowe, author of Lost Chicago, donated a collection of approximately 1,100 photographs and ephemeral items, ranging in date from the 1880s to the 1980s, to the Ryerson & Burnham Archives of the Art Institute of Chicago. The collection currently is in the process of being digitized, and a selection of materials is on display through June 15 in an exhibition in the Ryerson & Burnham Libraries’ Franke Reading Room.
Nathaniel Parks, Tigerman McCurry Art and Architecture Archivist, curated “Memoir of a City”: Selections from the David Garrard Lowe Historic Chicago Photograph Collection, to highlight Lowe’s generous gift. Lost Chicago, originally published in 1975, was both a love letter to the city and an impassioned plea for preservation of Chicago’s unique architecture. Lowe, a third-generation Chicagoan, begins the work “Chicago was always, for me, a magical city,” and proceeds to present images of long-vanished structures that defined the city alongside captions on their significance, making locations such as Bertha Palmer’s picture gallery, Dwight L. Moody’s Tabernacle, Crosby’s Opera House, and the Sherman House hotel come alive for the reader.
The exhibition follows the table of contents in Lost Chicago, organizing the cases thematically around pre-Fire Chicago; culture and recreation in the city; residential architecture; transportation and infrastructure; government and commercial architecture; the 1893 and 1933 World’s Fairs; and significant Chicago people and events. Viewers can explore Pullman Town, the White City of the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893, and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Francis apartments, and reminisce about civic structures such as Comiskey Park (“the baseball palace of the world”), the Trianon Ballroom, and Central Station. In addition to photographs, some of which have not been previously published, the exhibition features playing cards from the Century of Progress International Exposition, menus, postcards, souvenir photo books, news clippings, and both the design and advertisement for “a modern Christmas tree” that may have inspired Irving Berlin’s song, White Christmas. This representative selection of materials demonstrates both the variety of evocative materials in the David Garrard Lowe collection, and the variety of research questions that can be explored through this compilation of primary source materials.
The Ryerson and Burnham Archives are a fitting home for this significant collection. The David Garrard Lowe collection will be accessible alongside the papers of Chicago architects such as Daniel Hudson Burnham, Louis Sullivan, and Bertrand Goldberg; historic preservationists such as Richard Nickel and John Garrett Thorpe; and collections such as the Chicagoland Building Brochure collection and the World’s Columbian Exposition Photographs by C. D. Arnold. Once the Lowe materials have been digitized, they will join the more than 500,000 items available freely online in the Ryerson & Burnham Archives’ digital collections.
If you’re planning to visit to view the exhibition, please join us for a conversation with David Garrard Lowe, “Lost Chicago”—The Past, Present, and Future of Historic Preservation, in the Morton Auditorium at 6:00 on May 24. Lowe will be joined by author and former Art Institute of Chicago curator John Zukowsky; Founding Partner and Design Principal of the architecture, interiors, and urban planning firm UrbanWorks, Patricia Saldaña Natke FAIA; and School of the Art Institute professor and former director of research for the city’s Department of Planning and Development Historic Preservation Division, Terry Tatum, for a lively discussion on the history and future of historic preservation in Chicago’s rich architectural environment. He will also discuss his landmark book Lost Chicago, and his recent gift to the Ryerson and Burnham Libraries.
Architecture Library, University of Maryland
The University of Maryland’s graduate architecture program starts off with the Integrated Design Studio. Students often work on the same building for the entire semester, and they meet with mechanical and structural engineers as well as their studio critic. Materials and construction methods must be understood, and included in the design of the building. This is an intensive, immersive course, with a co-requisite of the structures course. It also comes with a significant recommended reading list, that includes reference materials, precedent studies, certain architects monographs and current articles on newest building technologies.
Approximately six years ago, the previous architecture librarian and the professor of the studio tried an experiment. What if the books for this specific course were placed in the studio to be available for the students the entire semester? Most architecture firms have working libraries as an integral part of their office. This would be another way to mimic the professional experience. In this case, the library is somewhat portable – a double-sided bookshelf on wheels, known as a kiosk, became the shelving system of choice for the studio. They are 49 inches tall, 25 inches wide, and 39 inches long with 3 shelves on each side.
My predecessor did the hard part, getting permission to send books out of the library, and getting the metadata staff to add categories to ALEPH – our catalog and circulation system. Then she ordered and assembled the kiosks. The books are treated like any other set of books put on reserve for a class, but instead of residing on a shelf in the library, they reside on a kiosk in the studio area.
The professor submits a list of books through the course reserves module of Canvas, our Enterprise Learning Management System. The Libraries use a system called ARES to manage course reserves. Within ARES, we can look up a book, get its call number, determine which library it is in, and print slips with the call number and course number on them. My student workers take the stack of slips and pull the books from the shelves in the architecture library. I order any new books, and recall books that reside in other libraries on campus. To put the books on reserve for the studio course, the collection is changed and the item status is changed. The collection is temporarily changed from general collection to SKISK, where SKISK means studio kiosk. This location code had to be added to the Library catalog and circulation system. The item status goes from regular to non-circulating. With these two changes, if the book ends up in the book drop or found somewhere, and we scan its barcode, it is immediately identified as a studio kiosk book, and gets placed back on the kiosk. We also place a ‘course reserves’ sticker on the spine of all course reserves books, so there is some visual identification, but these stickers tend to fall off over the course of the semester.
One the first day of class, the kiosk is rolled downstairs to the studio, and parked in a somewhat central location for the students. The main concern about this system was the security of the books. However, this is a graduate level studio with students who are used to the studio culture. The building itself is locked at 10 PM, and you need to be a student within the School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation programs with a swipe card to gain access. There are always people working in the studio at all hours of the day and night, so if the book goes missing it is because a student is careless, not because a stranger has wandered in and stolen something. We have done this every fall for 6 years now, and have lost 3 books.
Students may take the books off the kiosk and put them on their desks, but I have never noticed coffee stains or physical damage to the books. At the end of the semester the books come back to the kiosk, the professor sends it back upstairs to the library and we re-check them all in, and change their location and item status back to their original categories. This is the same process we use for books that are placed on reserve in the library.
We also have a wood shop/ fabrication lab person who does a complete sweep of the studio spaces at the end of the semester, after the students have supposedly cleaned up and moved out. He usually finds a few library books, but often those are books that had been checked out individually by students, and not associated with the studio kiosk.
Of course, having the books assigned to the studio kiosk outside of the library cuts down on the gate count, if the students are no longer coming in and out of the library to check out the books or to pick them up from a course reserves shelf. It also reduces the loan counts of the individual books. However, the architecture program is the third largest user of course reserve items behind the History and English departments, and I am confident it is because of the numbers of books that go onto the studio kiosk.
The book kiosk has been quite popular, and it now has a partner,
the materials kiosk shown here.
With some bins as well as shelves, the kiosk will hold objects like glass block or tile samples, styrofoam or wood veneer samples.
The architecture library is located upstairs from the studios, so it is not a hardship to walk upstairs, but when this project started, the library was not accessible 24/7 by swiping your ID card, like it is now. I walk through the studio occasionally and straighten the shelves on the kiosk. I feel that having the books in the hands of the students makes an impression, and maybe it gets them into the library the next semester to check out books individually. From my librarian point of view, the kiosk has been a successful project, and we will continue to do it as long as the professors continue to see the need.