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AASL Column, January 2012

January 6, 2012

Column written by Martha Walker, Architecture Librarian and Coordinator of Collections

Fine Arts Library,  Cornell University. 

 If we encounter a man of great intellect, we should ask him what books he reads.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Well, in a sense we did!  Sometimes it is necessary to move a library – its collections, services and staff. Since the summer of 2010, the Fine Arts Library (FAL) at Cornell University has been on the move. Along the way, we learned some interesting  things about our collections and their use.

 For a number of very good reasons, the collection (of roughly 140,000 volumes) and the library’s service points and staff have moved to an adjacent facility, Rand Hall. For more information about the move and plans for the FAL, please refer to the September 2010 issue AAP news (online at:  http://aap.cornell.edu/news/newsitem.cfm?customel_datapageid_2892=420927 )

In order to fit into our temporary location, it was necessary to shift 78,000 volumes to Cornell’s Library Annex (which ships user- selected items back to the central campus on a daily basis). Choosing which 78,000 volumes to shift was made easier by the availability of computer generated use reports. That is, we ran a query on the FAL’s circulation data to determine which titles were lower use, with the hope that these items would be those least missed by most users. We quickly learned that we were able to further refine our search by subject classification -- in our case, the art, architecture and planning sections of the collection. Eventually, staff curiosity led to a query on the most frequently circulated titles in architecture (the “NA” section of the collection).

It did not take long for news of this query to attract interest, and by November of 2010, a (heavily securitized) exhibit of our most frequently circulated titles was mounted in AAP’s Hartell Gallery. The success of the exhibit, and the interest it generated, was a surprise to all library staff. I shared this experience with my AASL colleagues in Montreal last spring, and was encouraged to publish our list of the most frequently circulated NA titles. A few caveats, the list I’ve included below is limited to 2005 – 2010 data, and it does not include “browse” statistics (titles looked at but not charged from the library). Finally, some titles have duplicate holdings. Therefore one title, i.e. Delirious, New York may show up lower or twice on the list; or, in the case of Small, Medium, Large, X-Large, our reserve copy simply fell to pieces. Its replacement received a new item record and a non-cumulative count. Therefore, here are our top twenty circulating titles (with consideration for these and perhaps other data anomalies) and their number of historical charges between 2005 and 2010:

TitleU

HistChg

Details of modern architecture / Edward R. Ford.

349

Archetypes in architecture / Thomas Thiis-Evensen ; [translated by Ruth Waaler and Scott Campbell].

341

Town and square, from the agora to the village green.

330

Mathematics of the ideal villa, and other essays / Colin Rowe.

273

Collage city / Colin Rowe & Fred Koetter.

267

Delirious New York : a retroactive manifesto for Manhattan / Rem Koolhaas.

260

Delirious New York : a retroactive manifesto for Manhattan / Rem Koolhaas.

252

Design of cities / Edmund N. Bacon.

235

Town and square, from the agora to the village green.

234

Cornell journal of architecture.

233

Small, medium, large, extra-large : Office for Metropolitan Architecture, Rem Koolhaas, and Bruce Mau / edited by Jennifer Sigler ; photography by Hans Werlemann.

209

Cornell journal of architecture.

208

Villa Savoye, Poissy, France, 1929-31 / Le Corbusier [i.e. C. Jeanneret-Gris ; edited and photographed by Yukio Futagawa ; text by Richard Meier.

206

Small, medium, large, extra-large : Office for Metropolitan Architecture, Rem Koolhaas, and Bruce Mau / edited by Jennifer Sigler ; photography by Hans Werlemann.

202

Details of modern architecture / Edward R. Ford.

187

Theories and manifestoes of contemporary architecture / edited by Charles Jencks and Karl Kropf.

178

Finding lost space : theories of urban design / Roger Trancik.

167

Maison de verre / Pierre Chareau ; edited & photographed by Yukio Futagawa ; text & drawings by Bernard Bauchet ; text by Marc Vellay = Garasu no ie : Daruzasu-tei / Piēru Sharō ; kikaku satsuei, Futagawa Yukio ;bun zumen, Berunāru Boshe ; bun, Maru

161

Five architects : Eisenman, Graves, Gwathmey, Hejduk, Meier.

149

Library moves are never easy,, but I am fortunate to be surrounded  by beautiful books at an institution that values information in all its many formats. What makes the job even more rewarding is knowing, and having proof, that our collections are also so very much appreciated by our patrons. 

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