Barbara Opar and Lucy Campbell, column editors
Column by Rebecca Price, Architecture, Urban Planning, and Visual Resources Librarian, University of Michigan

Final arrangements are falling in place and travel plans are confirmed; soon AASL will be meeting together in Detroit with ACSA! The AASL conference theme this year is Detroit: a new model. Detroit is both analogy and case study. Just as our libraries are reinventing themselves in the digital age; Detroit is undergoing massive and fundamental changes. One can truly talk about a new model of a city growing from the ground up.

AASL welcomes faculty colleagues to join us to learn more about new resources, how libraries and their services are changing, and ways individual architecture librarians are working to meet the evolving needs of their faculty and students.

AASL members will be discussing the newest models of library services and resources. Our sessions will focus on initiatives that are transforming our libraries and our jobs, and collaborations that help us achieve success. Our popular and inspirational lightning session in which we hear tales from the field takes place on Thursday, March 23 from 2:30 p.m. to 4:00 in the Esquire Room. On Friday, March 24, in the same room, we will hear papers focusing on collaboration from 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and papers highlighting transformative initiatives from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Our vendor Session this year will be an informal Meet & Greet, allowing for direct conversations with each vendor. This takes place on Friday from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the third floor Ambassador Room.

We’ll also have two special Plenary Panel sessions. We invite our ACSA colleagues to join us for these sessions, which will be held in the Esquire Room on the third floor of the hotel. The first, on Thursday afternoon, will focus on current trends in architectural publishing. Invited panelists include editors from the Journal of Architectural Education and the new Journal of Technology, Architecture, and Design, as well as a University of Michigan faculty member actively publishing in both the journal and monograph worlds. The second one, on Friday afternoon, will focus on Detroit. Invited panelists include architect and artist activists working on the front line of reinventing the city. The panel promises to offer a vibrant, compelling account of Detroit as it emerges from the ruins brought on by deindustrialization and urban blight. A particular focus will be on the arts as spurs for growth.

An AASL conference wouldn’t be complete without meaningful and awe-inspiring tours. Kicking off the conference Thursday morning is a walking tour that takes us past Art Deco skyscrapers, along the new RiverWalk and DeQuindre Cut pedestrian parks, into Mies van der Rohe’s Lafayette Park, and through Greektown, one of Detroit’s oldest commercial districts. A highlight will be tours of the interiors of two of the Lafayette Park condo units. Saturday’s full day tour will start with a bus ride from the downtown area to historic neighborhoods including Corktown, Mexicantown, Brush Park, Cass Corridor and the New Center. At New Center, we’ll disembark to tour the Fisher Building, a stunning architectural highlight from the 1920s. From there we’ll travel to Eastern Market for a tour of the oldest open-air farmer’s market in the US and a discussion of the new initiatives for urban agriculture in the city. The afternoon will include a visit to the Detroit Institute of Arts. We’ll be treated to a tour of the museum library and archives before seeing the museum collections. Though the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (only two blocks south of the DIA) is not officially on the tour, those who choose can include a visit in their afternoon plans. One of the current exhibits is the recent Venice Biennial US Pavilion exhibit organized by the University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning.

We hope there will also be plenty of time and opportunity to talk together, re-acquaint ourselves with colleagues, and welcome new members into the AASL. We look forward to interacting with ACSA attendees, many of whom we pass in the hallways of our home institutions, but whom we enjoy seeing in a new context at the conference. The lessons we learn, information we gather, and connections we make at the conference enable us to be strong partners with our architecture faculty. The Conference Planning Committee is eager to share Detroit with AASL members and our ACSA colleagues, allowing us learn from the city and be inspired by its current reinvention.

The full AASL schedule is available at: ACSA members are encouraged to attend any of the sessions highlighted above. For questions about tours and other events, contact Rebecca Price at