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AASL / ACSA 2021 Joint Virtual Conference

43rd Annual Association of Architecture School Librarians Conference, March 24-26, 2021

LOCATION: Hubilo Conference Platform  

MODERATOR: Keli Rylance

12:00 PM – 1:00 PM  PDT

The New Jersey Institute of Technology’s Littman Library: Active Agent for Positive Change in the Hillier College of Architecture and Design

PANELISTS:  Maya Gervits, John Cays, Gernot Riether, College of Architecture and Design, New Jersey Institute of Technology

As curricular offerings evolve to meet professional architectural education's changing needs, Architecture and Design Libraries​​ continue to play a critical trusted partner role in delivering a complete educational experience to students, supporting faculty research and scholarship, and a facilitator as well as both convener and chronicler of continuous curricular development and change. This holds for all modes of instructional delivery even and perhaps especially under difficult COVID -19 conditions. As student expectations for University education continue to increase, the library provides a locus for meaningful and memorable academic experiences outside the design studio and classroom. It is a center that simultaneously builds information literacy skills for students and convenes discussions around curricular innovation, testing and piloting new technology and techniques for faculty in specialized labs. The current 2020 Conditions and Procedures for architecture accreditation requires "evidence that each student learning developed and assessed on a recurring basis." More than a repository for the documents memorializing curricular developments in a program, the Littman Library is an active partner in maintaining the Hillier College's culture of self-assessment and continuous improvement. Following the Library Director’s case study presentation of the NJIT libraries, we propose to discuss some specific ways NJIT's Littman Architecture and Design Library is integral to the ongoing life and success of the Hillier College of Architecture Design and its patrons.          

Maya Gervits has been the Director of the Littman Library at the Hillier College of Architecture and Design at New Jersey Institute of Technology for more than 18th years. Prior to that she worked as a curator at the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia, as the Western Art Bibliographer and a lecturer at Princeton University, and as Art Librarian at Rutgers University. In addition to an MLS, Maya holds a Ph.D. in art and architectural history. She is interested in various aspects of librarianship and digital scholarship. Her research in both fields has been presented at multiple conferences and resulted in two books and numerous articles.

John Cays is Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Interim Director of the School of Art + Design in NJIT's Hillier College and a licensed professional architect. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the University of the Arts and Master of Architecture degree from Princeton University. Prior to co-founding GRADE Architects in 2001, he was a project manager at Robert A.M. Stern Architects. Since 2005 he has been responsible for overseeing the development and use of “Kepler,” NJIT’s transparent digital repository, course management and curricular assessment system. In 2008, Kepler served as the engine behind the nation's first fully digital NAAB accreditation visit. John’s own research focuses on the visualization, adoption and use of quantitative Life Cycle Assessment methodologies in the design fields. He was 2014-17 North East Regional Director for the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture and Is currently a Director on the National Architectural Accrediting Board.

Gernot Riether is the Director of the School of Architecture and Associate Professor at the College of Architecture and Design at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT). Riether’s research explores the relationship between public urban spaces and information technology. Projects that he and his students designed and built in his Digital Design Build Studio won competitions and are featured in many books on digital fabrication. Riether is the author of over 40 refereed papers, articles and book chapters; his most recent book,  titled URBAN MACHINES, Public Space in a Digital Culture was co-authored with Marcella Del Signore. Riether previously taught at Kennesaw State University, Ball State University, ENSA Paris La Villette, Georgia Tech, the New York Institute of Technology and Barnard College at Columbia University. He serves on the Board of Directors of CSU (Consortium for Sustainable Urbanization), a non-profit organization that is affiliated with UN Habitat and the United Nations.

How to Tell Stories with Numbers: Tracking Faculty Research Output in Architecture

Presenter: Catherine Essinger, University of Houston

One way to gauge the impact of scholarly output is by tracking how often it has been cited by others. Citation tracking has long been a significant measurement for scholars in the sciences and social sciences, but it does not lend itself to architectural scholarship. While professors of architecture can use traditional citation metrics to track impact, they can also make use of alternative metrics that are better suited to the output of working architects. Librarians can play an important role in educating instructors about tracking options and help them develop a plan for organizing tracked data. This session will provide an overview of tracking metrics for architectural scholars and suggest opportunities for librarian support.

Catherine Essinger has been the director of the William R. Jenkins Architecture, Design, and Art Library for 15 years. She is a past President of the Association of Architecture School Librarians and past Executive Board member of the Art Libraries of North America. She has published articles in Bright Lights Film Journal, Cite, Collaborative Librarianship, and Texas Library Journal. Her forthcoming book, The Sudden Selector's Guide to Art Resources, is being published by the Association for Library Collections & Technical Services.


4:30 PM – 5:30 PM  EST    | TRIVIA SESSION
1:30 PM – 2:30 PM  PDT

HOST: David Eifler, Nicole Santiago (Programming Committee)

2:30 PM – 4:00 PM  PDT

FRIDAY, MARCH 26, 2021 

LOCATION: Hubilo Conference Platform

  8:00 AM –   9:15 AM  PDT


Ebsworth Park is in Kirkwood, Missouri

Nestled in grassy fields on 10.5 acres in Kirkwood, Missouri, the  Frank Lloyd Wright House in Ebsworth Park is a unique and significant residence designed by the legendary architect. It was Wright’s first building in the St. Louis area, and is one of only five Wright designs in Missouri. It is an excellent example of Wright’s democratic vision, intended to provide middle-class Americans with beautiful architecture at an affordable cost. 

The home is notable not only for its architectural integrity, but for retaining its original furnishings and fabrics. With a floor plan composed of two intersecting parallelograms, it is considered one of Wright’s most geometrically complex homes. The home is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Kathryn Feldt, Executive Director

Lydia Nunes, Associate Director

Accessibility: Virtual



MODERATOR: Diane Lopez

  9:30 AM – 10:30 AM  PDT

Authority Construction: Engaging Students in Architectural Publication Practices

SPEAKERS:  Sara Schumacher, Texas Tech University

Students struggle to identify and critically evaluate creators of architectural information, as well as, to assertively disseminate their own creations to the larger academic and practice-based architectural community. This paper explores how architecture librarians can craft instructional activities and research resources to unpack the ways that architects, scholars, and the publishing industry construct authority in the discipline. Library instructional examples will pull from lower and upper levels courses covering topics like voices which are and are not included in architectural publications, guidelines for credit and attribution, and writing styles in trade versus academic journals. The presentation will also explore how librarians can create resources, displays, and social media campaigns that reinforce and expand on these learning goals while drawing attention to social justice topics and emerging architectural information outlets. In order impactfully share their thoughts and creations, students need to be able to deconstruct the current landscape of architectural publishing and find models to cultivate their own authoritative voice. Pre-recorded presentation, w/ live Q&A  

Sara Schumacher is the Architecture Image Librarian at Texas Tech University, where she curates TTU Arch Design Images and provides instruction on information and visual literacy topics. Schumacher received her BA in Art History from the University of Texas at Austin (2005), MA in Art History from the University of Oregon (2007) and her MS in Information Studies from the University of Texas at Austin (2011). Schumacher is the Vice President for Conference Program for the VRA (2018-2020) and a member of the Visual Literary Task Force to update the ACRL Visual Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education (2018-present). Her research interests include ethics and visual media and applying visual literacy ideas to discipline specific conventions and professional applications.

The Virtual Site Visit: From Studio to Library Collections     

Presenter: Johanna Kasubowski, Harvard University Graduate School of Design        

Using the shift to remote teaching and learning as an opportunity to create new resources with longevity, the “Virtual Site Visit” project was an initiative of the Harvard Graduate School of Design’s Innovation Task Force.  The site visit is considered a core component of design studio pedagogy, which was impossible with COVID-related travel restrictions. The “Virtual Site Visit” considered new ways of undertaking site research without the physical visit of students.

In addition to elevation and plan data, historical research, and drones, there remained a desire to capture the site “on the ground,” to gain a better sense of the site as a place. The idea behind the project was that site video documentation could serve as a substitute for in-person site visits. Providing students access to the video would enable them to construct their own “narrative” of how they might interpret the site.  The Frances Loeb Library was asked to be involved in this project as faculty acknowledged an additional motivation behind the project: if site documentation were to be cataloged properly, the media captured as part of a virtual site visit would become part of library collections, which the library would steward to support current and future research.

The Frances Loeb Library supported the Virtual Site Visit Video Pilot for two fall 2020 studios: Urban Design’s core studio and Elements of Urban and Extreme Urbanism (7), Imaging an Urban Future for Ishkashim, Afghanistan. The paper will present the role of the library as a key collaborator in the evolution of a fast-paced pilot project. In an effort to create a sustainable and scalable service model, the project required defining roles of all stakeholders, understanding equipment and video capture recommendations, developing easy to use approaches to metadata, GPS data considerations, and exploration of potential delivery systems.           

Johanna Kasubowski is the Frances Loeb Library Materials and Media Collections Librarian at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design (GSD). Johanna has diverse experience in several aspects of library operations that range from image cataloging, digitization, metadata schema development, public service, research support, collection development, public programming, and project management. She is a founding member of Material Order, a design materials consortium, where she was involved in the development of the CollectionSpace Materials Profile and the CollectionSpace Public Browser – both tools that serve the management and discovery of the GSD and Rhode Island School of Design’s material collections. She has a Master of Science in Library and Information Science from Simmons College and a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the University of Michigan.

Virtual Reality Artist in Residence Program: Exploring Outreach and Learning for Architecture Students with Innovative Technology

Presenter(s): James Murphy, Christie Hurrell, University of Calgary            

In the 2019/20 academic year, the presenters collaborated on a pilot Virtual Reality Artist in Residence program, engaging Art and Architecture students in the medium of virtual reality to enhance their learning and creative project work. This presentation will discuss how the program was created, the project collaborators, the technology involved, and the results of the pilot program. In addition to the positive reception from the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape, the Architecture student artist-in-residence took the opportunity further than we anticipated, adding not only an innovative project to his portfolio but vastly expanding his skillset in virtual reality through self study and support from the Library’s Emerging Technology Specialist. The Taylor Family Digital Library is the central library of the University of Calgary, housing 6 floors of collections, student space, specialized services, a Student Success Centre, and technology supporting student and faculty projects. Lab NEXT is the technology hub of UCalgary Libraries which incorporates visualization, a makerspace, virtual reality, repositories, digitization, and other services. This presentation will include an overview of the VR technology and spaces used for the program and currently available in Taylor Family Digital Library. This project involved a strong collaborative effort between the Architecture Liaison Librarian, the Director of Lab NEXT, the Emerging Technology Specialist, as well as the inaugural VR Artists in Residence. We look forward to sharing our findings and gathering input for future development of this impactful program and its relevance to expanding the library’s role in technology facilitation and learning for Architecture students.

James Murphy is the Art & Architecture Librarian at the Taylor Family Digital Library, University of Calgary, where he is liaison librarian for art, art history, architecture, planning and landscape. He also works in Student Learning and Engagement, where he designs and coordinates library programming and learning opportunities for students. He has worked in libraries in both Alberta and British Columbia and received his MLIS in 2016 from the University of British Columbia.

Christie Hurrell is the Director, Lab NEXT at the University of Calgary. Her role involves advancing digital research initiatives and partnerships, working on scholarly communication and open education initiatives, and coordinating Lab NEXT, the library’s digital scholarship collaboration space and makerspace. Christie’s research and practice interests stem from her interest in new ways of sharing and tracking the impact of research. Christie has an MA in Communications and Culture from Ryerson and York Universities, and an MLIS from the University of British Columbia.



MODERATOR: Jillian Kehoe

  2:00 PM  –  2:50 PM  EST     | GROUP WORKSHOP
11:00 AM – 11:50 AM  PDT

Expanded and Narrowed Boundaries of the COVID-19 Pandemic

SPEAKERS: Rose Orcutt, Buffalo University, Lucy Campbell, New School, Barbara Opar, Syracuse University, Maya Gervits, New Jersey Institute of Technology

“That’s so 2019” is a phrase heard in academic libraries these days. Indeed, the pandemic has required all librarians, including those supporting Schools of Architecture to quickly adapt to a different mindset and way of doing business, be it offering reference and instruction or selecting resources for collections. What is different? How are architecture librarians handling these challenges? In August 2020, a survey created at the University of Buffalo was sent out to architecture librarians and architecture faculty to capture the work life changes and challenges that were faced during the first months of COVID-19. The surveys captured responses about how libraries can best provide support for teaching and learning, where can they add value, what were the unique contributions, and what skills librarians need to develop to serve in the new environment. The survey results will be shared in the presentation and serve as a springboard to facilitate further discussion on the additional challenges architecture librarians faced during fall 2020. Through the use of Zoom polling features or interaction web software such as Mentimeter, conference participants will respond to questions concerning budget restrictions in collection development, the quality of their collections after COVID, best practices that emerged from the pandemic restrictions, etc. These responses will be collected and shared with the attendees to offer solutions to COVID related challenges.    

Rose Orcutt is the Architecture & Planning Librarian at the University at Buffalo. She was President of the Association of Architecture School Librarians in 2019, took part in the 2016-2019 Strategic Planning Committee, and is a part of the Core Periodical List revision committee.

Lucy Campbell is Librarian at the New School of Architecture and Design in San Diego California. She currently serves as President of the Association of Architecture School Librarians and co-editor of the association’s monthly column for ACSA. She is interested in information seeking habits for the creative disciplines and technology as research in architecture and design.

Barbara Opar serves as an embedded librarian for the School of Architecture. She is active in the Association of Architecture School Librarians and has been President (2003), a board liaison, column and co-column editor and a member of both the Core Periodicals Review Task Force for the 4th and 5th editions as well as the Core Reference Works Task Force. She won the 2015 AASL Distinguished Service Award. She prepares the monthly Society of Architectural Historians Booklist and contributes to ARLIS/NA Reviews.

Maya Gervits has been the Director of the Littman Library at the Hillier College of Architecture and Design at New Jersey Institute of Technology for more than 18 years. Prior to that, she worked as a curator at the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia, as the Western Art Bibliographer and a lecturer at Princeton University, and as Art Librarian at Rutgers University. In addition to an MLS, Maya holds a Ph.D. in art and architectural history. She is interested in various aspects of librarianship, digital scholarship, and architecture history. Her research in these fields has been presented at multiple conferences and resulted in two books and numerous articles. She is a recipient of the 2017 AASL Distinguished Service Award.


LOCATION: Hubilo Conference Platform

MODERATOR: George Smart

12:00 PM – 1:30 PM  PDT

Inside and Out: Investigations into the use of spaces both within and beyond our libraries’ walls 

PANELISTS: Barbara Opar, Syracuse University, Martha Walker, Cornell University, Gilda Santana, University of Miami, Tina Budzise-Weaver and Pauline Melgoza, Texas A&M University

While COVID has impacted much of what librarians do today, space planning is still an important part of our work. Three panelists in this session will present project histories, descriptions and images pertaining to three recently renovated spaces, all of which support Schools of Architecture. In addition to outlining the overall goals of each project, the librarians will reflect upon and share their individual observations in response to their particular experience of the design/build process. The settings and histories of the libraries differ; the role of the library, however, and the goals of the librarians, remain closely aligned. 

  • As the final stage of a ten-year building campaign, undertaken by the College of Architecture, Art and Planning at Cornell University, the Mui Ho Fine Arts Library opened its doors to the public on August 5, 2019. Since 2012, the Fine Arts Library has shifted or moved its collections and staff 4 times, including an extensive and temporary transfer of materials to an off-site facility. Each move required significant data capture and analysis, as well as minor modifications to standard operating procedures. Despite the many challenges encountered by patrons and staff, core library services remained intact.
  • Two years after a new centralized library opened at Syracuse University, the School of Architecture negotiated an in-house reading room, which almost 50 years later still exists and has been renovated. The King+ King Architecture Library houses core titles, course reserves, current periodicals, architectural drawings, and materials samples. A seminar space allows faculty to incorporate library materials into their teaching. These changes involved redefining collections and spaces to create what is the only branch library on campus. 
  • The Paul Buisson Architecture Library was established in 1991 as a teaching collection to serve the needs of the students and faculty of the School of Architecture which was founded in 1983. Over the summer months of 2019, the library facilities were closed for a much- needed renovation and expansion and re-opened in time for Fall 2019. The renaming of the library as the Architecture Research Center (ARC) symbolizes a new era for architecture research at the University of Miami. 

Since March 2020, these three libraries have undergone further adjustments with reducing seating capacities and new protocols. The panelists will summarize these changes in their remarks. 

Next, two panelists will discuss their study, supported by a T3: Texas A&M Triads for Transformation Grant, to investigate how students in the Colleges of Architecture and Education & Human Development used their departmental spaces outside the library to study, and if these spaces were adequate to meet their needs. An overview will be given of the nuances and logistics of designing an ethnographic photo study, the challenges the study presented, and the findings from the data collected, highlighting the similarities and differences between how students use study spaces in their departments versus the university libraries. The panelists will also discuss how the Libraries and Colleges adjusted spaces during Covid-19 on the Texas A&M University campus.

Barbara Opar serves as an embedded librarian for the School of Architecture and is responsible for reference and information services, instruction and collection development for architecture students, faculty, and staff. She oversees the student staff and services of the King + King Architecture Library, 302 Slocum Hall. She is active in the Association of Architecture School Librarians and has been President (2003), a board liaison, column and co-column editor and a member of both the Core Periodicals Review Task Force for the 4th and 5th editions as well as the Core Reference Works Task Force. She won the 2015 AASL Distinguished Service Award. She prepares the monthly Society of Architectural Historians Booklist and contributes to ARLIS/NA Reviews. 

Martha Walker, Architecture Librarian and Coordinator of Collections, Mui Ho Fine Arts Library. Martha has served in various capacities within the Cornell University Library system since 1990. Much of Martha’s time during the past nine years has been in helping to coordinate the movement of staff, services, and collections between three facilities in response to a long-term building program undertaken by the College of Architecture, Art, and Planning. In addition to her collections and public services responsibilities, Martha has served on multiple committees and participated in the activities of several professional associations, including her role as President of AASL (2015).

Gilda Santana is an Associate Librarian Professor at the University of Miami Libraries. She has been Head of the Paul Buisson Architecture Library, now the Architecture Research Center since her appointment in 2007. Since then, she has guided the growth of collections and research services for the School of Architecture and the Department of Art & Art History. She is an active member of the Association of Architecture School Librarians and the Art Libraries Association of North America.

Tina Budzise-Weaver is an Associate Professor and Humanities and Social Sciences Librarian at Texas A&M University. She is the liaison librarian to the Dance, Visualization, and Performance Studies Departments. Visualization is housed under the College of Architecture. Her research focuses on the underutilization of the Libraries, the barriers to access, and the creation of new services to address academic and professional success amongst her students, faculty, and fellow librarians. She holds a MS in Library and Information Science from the University of North Texas. Presenting on behalf of Dr. Sarel Lavy and former graduate student researcher Tiyamike Kunje, the College of Architecture T3 members.

Pauline Melgoza is an Associate Professor and Science & Engineering Librarian at Texas A&M University. She is the liaison librarian to the Architecture, Construction Science, Engineering Technology & Industrial Distribution and Landscape Architecture & Urban Studies Departments. Her research focuses on the discoverability and access issues of library and information sources. She holds a MS in Library and Information Science from the University of North Texas and a MS in Educational Human Resource Development from Texas A&M University.

4:30 PM – 5:30 PM  EST    | HAPPY HOUR SESSION
1:30 PM – 2:30 PM  PDT

OPEN TO ALL: THEME TBD Lucy Campbell, Nilda Sanchez-Rodriguez

2:30 PM – 4:00 PM  PDT