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Summer Updates

August 9, 2013

Barbara Opar and Barret Havens, column editors

What I did on my summer vacation by….

We’re sure many of you remember writing such pieces for class at the beginning of each fall in elementary school. So below is a report of how a number of architecture librarians spent their summer “vacation.” Since many academic libraries are less busy with reference work in the summer, it is an important time to complete projects aimed at improving service and collections. Here are some of the kinds of projects undertaken:  


Auburn University

Renovation through Participatory Design
Kasia Leousis
Architecture and Art Libarian, Auburn University

Auburn University’s Library of Architecture, Design and Construction recently underwent a complete renovation. Soliciting designs, ideas, and usage priorities from students and faculty was essential for its success. A participatory design charrette led by Industrial Design faculty and graduate students focused on identifying priorities to shape the final outcome. The College of Architecture, Design and Construction’s Student Council weighed in on the project at regular intervals. We installed a pin-up board in the library’s lobby and invited students to attach favorite furniture pieces and write comments. The Interior Architecture Thesis Research course visited the library and provided ideas and feedback on the renovation’s details. Our students asked us to highlight the floating staircase, natural concrete ceiling, and columns. Glassed-in offices provide visibility and transparency to services, while color and differentiated seating choices highlight the Brutalist style features. The library is now recognized as a “third place” for students to collaborate on projects, read, research, and study. 

NewSchool of Architecture and Design

Renovating on a Shoestring Budget
Lucy Campbell
Librarian, NewSchool of Architecture and Design

A short library survey back in April revealed that the one thing students at NewSchool were really dissatisfied with was study space.  Although the library has expanded twice in the last five years, it was clear that our space was not being utilized efficiently. With this in mind, we initiated a partial renovation which increased student seating in the library from 30 to 41, including additional study spaces and quiet, comfortable reading spots. Simultaneously, shelving was replaced, increasing the capacity of the stacks from 1200 to 1500 linear feet. Our renovation was remarkable in that all furniture and shelving was donated, and the installation work was completed by a team of students supervised by our Facilities Manager. This enabled us to complete the renovation on a minimal budget while providing summer jobs and a hands-on learning experience for our students. They are very proud of their work and we have received many positive comments from the campus community. The changes have even inspired the Materials Lab to create new signs for the circulation desk, and we will also be getting a fresh coat of paint. It is a wonderful demonstration for our architecture students of what can be achieved with a little creative thinking!

reading nook

Slide show of images of the renovation:

Syracuse University 

The Architecture Slide Digitization Project- 2013 update
Barbara Opar,
Architecture Librarian, Syracuse University

The full report of the preliminary work done on digitizing parts of the analog architecture slide collection can be found at:

The summer of 2013 saw this major project moving forward toward completion!  After the Syracuse University Libraries discontinued and disbanded the slide collection, the School of Architecture accepted the transfer of the 100,000 plus architecture slides.  The slides are currently housed in Neumade cabinets in a small space near SOA faculty suites. Because of slides increasing irrelevance and inaccessibility to students and faculty, Architecture Reading Room student assistants have spent three years sorting, remounting and preparing the images for digitization in an effort to reduce the footprint and increase accessibility to students and staff for both learning and teaching purposes. Most of the modern architecture slides have been reviewed for digitization. Having finished sorting and remounting significant architects’ works and projects, the three summer students (two architecture students and one art photography major) recently began sorting through slides pertaining to individual countries. If all goes well, the entirety of the slides will be sorted and weeded out by the end of summer. Remounting and renaming will continue throughout the academic year, all the while with completed work being sent off to the Photo and Imaging Center. The finalized works, after having been reshot and burned to a DVD, will be available for distribution through library circulation in the Architecture Reading Room. As a next step, we are looking into making this material available to faculty on the SOA secure internal drive. If file browsing is permitted, students will be able to access the images via an external hard drive in the ARR in addition to the DVD option.


Whitworth University

Publication of Understanding Architecture: Its Elements, History, and Meaning, Revised Edition
Amanda C. R. Clark
Interim Associate Director of the Library at Whitworth University

Amanda C.R. Clark, Interim Associate Director of the Library at Whitworth University, is pleased to announce the release of the revised edition of Understanding Architecture: Its Elements, History, and Meaning, a book that she co-authored with Leland M. Roth, Professor of Architectural History at the University of Oregon. Geographical coverage has been expanded in the revision and future directions for the discipline, including sustainability and green building have been discussed in greater detail.  The book is currently available through and other vendors.

Woodbury University

Over 1600 Architecture eBooks available via EBL’s Demand-driven Acquisitions Platform
Barret Havens
Asst. Professor and Outreach Librarian, Woodbury University

Woodbury University has subscribed to the EBL eBooks platform and is currently customizing a list of titles that will be available to library users on a demand-driven basis starting this fall. For those not familiar with the demand-driven acquisitions model, it entails adding, to the library catalog, records for books that the library does not technically own. When library users encounter one of these records in the catalog, they are able to access the eBook for five minutes without triggering a purchase. At any time while previewing the item they are able to initiate a purchase by downloading the book, which will give them access for up to a week.  There are 1,649 titles in EBL’s architecture subject category that could be made available to the Woodbury Library community.
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