March 7, 2023

New Routes

AASL Column

New Routes

Lucy Campbell and Barbara Opar, Column Editors
Column by Ann Whiteside, VP/President Elect of the Association of Architecture School Librarians, Librarian/Assistant Dean for Information Services, Harvard University Graduate School of Design

Association of Architecture School Librarians (AASL) is using the 2023 year to experiment with meeting on its own and experimenting with its conference programming in diverse ways in our first in-person conference since 2019. We are meeting in Albuquerque, NM March 15 – 18. The conference will be at El Vado motor court motel. The venue was chosen because it is a new type of venue for AASL, it is architecturally interesting and of the local culture and it sits on Route 66, allowing to us to look back and learn about the history of Albuquerque and New Mexico, and to look forward along new routes we are moving toward as professionals.

The AASL Conference Planning Committee has worked with enthusiasm to develop diverse and relevant content for our conference and it is focused on New Routes. Coming from a pandemic world through the transition back to an in-person hybrid work world, librarians and archivists have shifted with the changes in our academies, forging new routes in all areas of our work.

While we take new routes as individual librarians in our institutions, we are also thinking about AASL. My goal for the coming year as President  is to work with AASL members to review where we are as an organization and identify new routes that can strengthen our organization, for both our members and for the communities we work with in our institutions.

Here is the outline of the conference week:

Day 1

After a welcome to participants, we will start off by hearing keynote speaker Ted Jojola, PhD, Director of the Indigenous Design and Planning Institute at the University of New Mexico. The iD+Pi is an initiative of the School of Architecture + Planning, University of New Mexico. It was created in the Fall of 2011 with the goal to educate and inform Indigenous design and planning by engaging faculty, students, professionals, and community leaders in culturally responsive practices. Its three principal areas of activity are academic, professional, and tribal. After Ted Jojola sets the stage for the conference we will move into our sessions, which are thematically grouped: Albuquerque, Collections, Narratives, and Students, covering many different areas of our work. The day wraps up with a tour of the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center Museum and dinner at the center catered by the Indian Pueblo Kitchen.

Day 2

The second day begins with a vendor showcase, with seven vendors sharing information about their products and services. We will then move to sessions themed around Materials, Library Spaces, Lightning talks on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging, and Routes of the Mind. We will have the pleasure of meeting, hearing from, and talking with Jessica Roybal, designer and photographer to start the afternoon. The day will then turn to our annual membership meeting led by Jesse Vestermark. The end of the day will offer a chance to sit by the fire, catch up with friends, connect with new colleagues, mingle with a therapy dog, and hang out after two days of thinking, generating ideas, and looking at new routes to consider.

Day 3

Day 3 starts with The Journal Debate – digital only? Print and digital? Open Access publications? And vigorous discussion. We hope everyone comes to the session to hear different perspectives on journals in the architecture field, and ready to participate in discussion! The day and the conference will end with a special tour of the Salinas Pueblo Missions.

The Conference Planning Committee has been an amazing group of colleagues to work with. Each brings their own skills that are reflected in the program, the tours, and the events. You will see this in person in Albuquerque. We are set to seek new routes and to discover routes we have not taken before!

We look forward to seeing you in Albuquerque!

Ann Whiteside, Chair, Conference Planning Task Force


Gabriella Karl-Johnson

Corinne Kennedy

Nilda Sanchez

Nicole Santiago

Chris Sala

Margaret Smithglass

James Sobczak

Jesse Vestermark