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theme: empower; association of architecture school librarians virtual conference march 16-18, 2022 los angeles; logo is a sketch of the watts towers with the sun setting behind themPRogram


8:30 Pacific / 11:30 Eastern (30 min)


Jesse Vestermark, Cal Poly State University San Luis Obispo, AASL VP/President Elect & Chair of the Conference Planning Task Force

9:00 Pacific / Noon Eastern (45 min)


Reassessing the Past: Collecting Architecture for the Future

Moderator: Stacy Williams, UCLA Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies

Using examples from history, this presentation will examine our multicultural past and how to prepare the next generation of architects and others for the future. It will include suggestions on how to add to collections to tell under told stories and expand the historical narrative.   


10:30 Pacific/1:30 Eastern (75 min)


Moderator: Jill Chisnell, Carnegie Mellon University

Formulas for Tracking Faculty Scholarship in Architecture

Catherine EssingerUniversity of Houston

Citation tracking and impact factors (the collection of data on where and how often a work has been cited by another scholar) have long been significant in science and social science research.  While citation tracking in those subjects help steer decisions about where to publish and whom to hire, it has been less important in the arts and design because artistic output and scholarly documents are not in a standard format.  With increasing regularity, however, universities are asking architecture departments to rank journals within their discipline, formally measure academic impact, and engage in other more traditional forms of academic ranking.  This paper builds on “How to Tell Stories with Numbers:  Tracking Faculty Research Output in Architecture,” which was presented at the AASL/ACSA 2021 Annual Conference.  It will present the findings of an investigation at the University of Houston in which the architecture library staff attempted to develop a template for numerically tracking and ranking the output of design instructors using a combination of traditional and alternative metrics.

University of Florida's CityLab Orlando Library: Building a Community

Margaret LogasUniversity of Florida

When the University of Florida first opened CityLab Orlando, they imagined an Architecture school that would be nurtured and supported by the Central Florida Architecture community who would in turn, give back to the community by producing top-notch students who would shape the future of the growing urban landscape in Orlando and the surrounding areas. The program has expanded to include a Themed Environment program that trains future Theme Park and Environment Designers. The school now serves over 100 students on a campus in Downtown Orlando that houses not only a specialized library, but immersive VR equipment, 3D printers, and a laser cutter.

Maximizing Info Lit Classroom Time for Architecture Undergrads

Solomon BlaylockWoodbury University

The pandemic’s onset found many faculty librarians suddenly teaching online with little experience of the modality or knowledge of attendant pedagogies. Upshots have included the opportunity to get acquainted with both, resulting in the ability to draw from an expanded palette as we transition back to in-person and hybrid scenarios. Student success, engagement, and satisfaction can be fostered by re-thinking how we make use of classroom time: in-person, online, or both.  I have sought to empower participants in the credit-bearing Information Literacy course for Architecture students I teach at Woodbury University by shifting focus from lecturing to team-based work, peer-learning, and group discussion. I have also tried to balance emphasis between text and orality in acknowledging the primacy of the latter in studio culture.

Out of Date: Using Google to Teach Research Skills and Explore Expired Patents

Tess Colwell, Yale University

During Fall 2019, a Yale School of Architecture faculty member collaborated with the architecture liaison librarian to develop a library instruction session for a new, innovative course focused on the research question: how would our world look differently if unrealized patents were adopted into our culture? The exploratory course examines expired patents to imagine and visualize what-ifs about our world if the patents came to be. The faculty and library liaison collaboration resulted in an interactive library session focused on using Google to identify expired patents. Using classic toys as a lens for exploring patents, students worked in groups to brainstorm descriptive keywords and search strategies for identifying and locating patents in Google. The presentation will outline the development of this session, how the session has evolved to fit in-person and remote learning, and takeaways related to faculty partnership and creativity in the classroom. Last, the presenter will include a discussion on how Google can be a powerful tool for developing and teaching research skills.


12:00 Pacific/3:00 Eastern (50 min)


Tour Guide: Alex Inshishian, Los Angeles Conservancy

1:00 Pacific/4:00 Eastern (45 min)


Tour Guide: Michael C. Oliveira, Instruction Librarian/Archivist at ONE Archives at the University of Southern California Libraries

Moderator: Kevin McMahon, Southern California Institute of Architecture

1:45 Pacific / 4:45 Eastern (60 min)


Moderator: Jesse Vestermark, AASL VP/President Elect and Chair of the Conference Planning Task Force



8:00 Pacific / 11:00 Eastern (30 min)


Moderators: Nilda Sanchez-Rodriguez, City College of New York, AASL President Lucy Campbell, NewSchool of Architecture & Design, Past AASL President

We are going to be discussing positive trends in architecture librarianship and sharing things we are proud of.  Join us for a light-hearted discussion to start the day.

8:30 Pacific/11:30 Eastern (60 min)


Moderator: Hannah Bennett, Columbia University

Representation through Resources: Creating a Research Guide to Elevate Marginalized Voices in the Built Environment

Jenny Davis, Columbia University

Dylan Rosenlieb, Columbia University

Conversations with students in Columbia’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation revealed that students found it difficult to identify and locate materials about and by BIPOC architects in both Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library and the wider university library system. Alongside ongoing efforts to increase representation within the research collections, we created a research guide on Race and the Built Environment with input from staff members from across Avery. In addition to our own collections, we used this opportunity to direct students to relevant resources across the University Libraries and beyond--newspaper databases, archival collections, web archives, and professional organizations. We intend for our guide to serve as both a teaching tool and an access point for researchers to navigate a sometimes opaque and problematic classification system, and lead them more easily to works on race and the built environment as well as materials by and about BIPOC scholars and practitioners. Just as the guide is a starting point for researchers, it is also a starting point for us--we hope to continue to expand its content and function as a research tool. Our talk will explain why and how we created this guide.

The Danger of a Single Story:  Rethinking Digital Archives

Namrata Dhore, Project Archive/RISD

Sofie Kusaba, Project Archive/RISD

Christina Truwit, Project Archive/RISD

We believe that the architectural discipline, as framed by the western canon, has separated land, resources, people, and cultural beliefs from architectural practice.  A western canonical practice engages with architecture at a formal level. As a result, architecture’s role in a larger socio-cultural context is often subordinated. Alternatively, extracanonical works provide insight into ways of living that put people and the well-being of their environment first. This promotes socially engaging and sustainable building strategies, as opposed to inaccessible technology-oriented solutions to our ongoing climate and humanitarian crisis.  To popularize extracanonical works; we are advocates of the architectural archive over the canon.   The archive to us is an ever-growing collection of projects. This allows for all works with varied socially engaging foci to exist in interrelated sets. However, we recognize that the archivist still has a major stake in the administration of content. Thus, archives are never really neutral. As a result, we have re-evaluated elements of the archive to be inclusive of a decentralized research process.  Thus, we are constructing an archive that provides an opportunity to hear directly from individuals and communities.  Archives in the past have been spaces where extracanonical works are over searched by Global North academics. Yet they have also been made invisible through the lack of archival records written from multiple perspectives. Additionally, limiting image-only documentation used by established architecture blogs further popularizes pigeon-holed narratives of radical extracanonical works. To challenge the institutional power structure, we provide images, text, and audio interviews with participants and academics who are directly involved in the making of the project. This initiative was founded by Namrata Dhore, Sofie Kusaba, and Christina Truwit, while they were students at RISD. They are now the coordinators of the initiative and work towards crowd sourcing socially engaging projects.   After presenting their work at the ACSA National Conference in 2021, they successfully organized a symposium titled A Practice of Refusal, where they hosted many colleagues who research similar topics within the discipline. Their work has been recognized and funded by multiple groups throughout RISD, which has helped support their effort through the beginning stages of publishing their book and website.

Cataloging the Architecture of Gentrification

Hank Morgan, University of Washington (alum)

Gentrification is qualitatively defined as "the process whereby the character of a poor urban area is changed by wealthier people moving in, improving housing, and attracting new businesses, typically displacing current inhabitants in the process." For several years, I have been tracking the quantitative effects of gentrification by using publicly available data on neighborhoods in my hometown of Austin, Texas. I combined building and demolition permits with Google maps data to catalog the pattern of single family homes being replaced with duplexes and multi unit housing. I also examined the Zillow and listing for these homes. This research helps further the conversation on gentrification in marginalized communities by creating a record of businesses, homes, and communities that were lost.


10:30 Pacific / 1:30 Eastern (120 min)


Moderators: Rose Orcutt, University at Buffalo, Barbara Opar, Syracuse University & Martha Walker, Cornell University

12:30 Pacific / 3:30 Eastern (80 min)


Moderator: David Eifler, University of California Berkeley

This panel will address the conference theme of Empower by examining ways in which the information and the architectural education professions are, or should be, practicing anti-racist librarianship in our overlapping spheres of influence.  The panel has two goals.  First, it will open discussion about the various ways architecture librarians, archivists and faculty have been approaching anti-racist practices.  Second, it will generate discourse and ideas for new, tangible and measurable work that can be done to increase BIPOC power and racial equity in our profession as a whole and through our individual actions.


Professor: Thomas Fowler IV, California Polytechnic State University

Librarian: Cindy Frank, University of Maryland

Librarian: Emilee Matthews, University of Illinois

Critic and Teaching Fellow: Christina Truwit, Project Archive/RISD


2:00 Pacific / 5:00 Eastern


Moderators: David Eifler, University of California & Nicole Santiago, Harvard University



7:30 Pacific / 10:30 Eastern (50 min)


LA After Dark: The Incandescent City

Moderator: Cathryn Copper, University of Toronto

A look at the history of electric urbanism in Los Angeles--from blazing movie premieres, sparkling holiday displays, flashing neon signs, rivers of automobile headlights, and sweeping searchlights--that formed a city unique to the night, a luminous geography that coincides only partly with its daytime layout.


8:30 Pacific / 11:30 Eastern (75 min)


Moderator: Solomon Blaylock, Woodbury University

Lessons Learned: Digital Collaboration During and After Covid

Maya Gervits, New Jersey Institute of Technology

Monica KenzieNew Jersey Institute of Technology

Nassim Taleb, in his book Antifragility wrote: “since you cannot forecast collaborations and cannot direct them, you cannot see where the world is going. All you can do is create an environment that facilitates these collaborations and lay the foundation for prosperity.” Covid-19 proved that collaboration is an effective way to achieve many goals. Technology empowered us to maintain continuity throughout the challenges presented by going remote; greatly enhancing and opening additional avenues for cooperation between librarians and faculty, IT staff, students, and colleagues. Working together as partners in achieving educational goals, we embrace technological innovations, especially those that can preserve assets of the past and enhance current services in creative and novel ways. Through collaborative efforts, we can offer settings for various new interactions, integrate new behaviors, and foster engagement on many different levels. Our presentation will discuss several products of digital collaboration including the Digital Archive of Newark Architecture, recently awarded a grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, the history of the Hillier College of Art and Design project, a library mobile application incorporating augmented reality, virtual international meetings with alumni and virtual exhibitions, among other projects, that became possible through collaborative, technology-driven partnerships. 

Using Collections to Promote Student Engagement

Rebecca Price, University of Michigan

Over the past few years, I have been able to tap into a library engagement initiative which partners librarians with students to work on projects related to library collections or services.  I have had two proposals accepted: one in which I hired three students to work me to curate an exhibition of our collection of American Kit-house catalogs, and another in which I hired one student to work with me to digitize and catalog a collection of photographs of Mexican architecture and landscapes which will then be presented in an online exhibit. Through each of the projects, the students are engaging directly with the collection, learning about collection development, digitization, cataloging, preservation, and exhibition curation and design. Importantly, the students come from all disciplines including architecture, art, urban planning, history, and other areas in the humanities and social sciences.  The projects not only showcase our architecture collections, but they give students skills and an awareness of material culture that complements their digital aptitudes. 

Empowered Outreach: Finding Our Way Back

Alisha D. Rall, Kansas State University

Ellen R. UrtonKansas State University

We seek to empower library patrons with information literacy skills, and the confidence to recognize, reach for, and command the tools and resources necessary for student success. Following a major fire and total renovation of our main branch library, the pandemic compounded the distance between our core patron base and the Weigel Library of Architecture, Planning & Design. Investing in a foundation of empowered learning, the Weigel Library Services Team embarked upon a comprehensive outreach program in fall of 2021 to welcome students and help find ways back to both established and new opportunities of partnering with the libraries to meet research goals. Throughout our Week of Welcome, librarians utilized a multi-faceted outreach scheme and the theme, “Weigel Library: Explore the World of Design,” to connect resources to curricula, curious minds to the serendipity of the stacks, and classes to librarians. We will share detailed descriptions of our promotional tools and events, as well as future plans to deepen the relevance and positive impact of library contributions to learning, design, and research.

Building Community: CalArchNet as an Adaptive Model for Regional Collaboration

Jessica Holada, California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo

Aimee LindThe Getty Research Institute

The California Architecture Network or CalArchNet was founded in 2016 with the goal of bringing together the state’s library, archive, and museum professionals who collect, organize, describe, preserve, interpret, exhibit, promote, teach to, and facilitate access to records about the built environment in California. CalArchNet developed into a twice-yearly forum, hosted by members at their home institutions on a rotating basis. At these meetings, members have been able to learn more about California architecture, understand the ways California architecture records are used; share projects, information, and expertise; seek advice; build an accessible and inclusive community committed to standard practices that improve operations and services; and bring greater visibility to California-based collections and programs. In its first 5 years the group has grown to nearly 60 members from roughly 20 California institutions. CalArchNet co-founders Jessica Holada (Cal Poly Special Collections and Archives) and Aimee Lind (Getty Research Institute) will discuss the original impetus and vision for the group, general meeting structure and content, how the group has evolved, successes (including some unexpected benefits), challenges, and lessons learned along the way. They will also provide advice and guidance for those wishing to develop a similar network in their region.


10:30 Pacific / 1:30 Eastern (90 min)


Moderator: Nilda Sanchez-Rodriguez, AASL President


12:15 Pacific / 3:15 Eastern (45 min)


Tour Guide: Kevin McMahon, SCI-Arc

1:00 Pacific / 4:00 Eastern (60 min)


Moderators: David Eifler, University of California & Nicole Santiago, Harvard University

2:00 Pacific / 5:00 Eastern (60 min)

*These require free pre-registration on ACSA's Zoom.


4:00 Pacific / 7:00 Eastern (90 min)

*These require free pre-registration on ACSA's Zoom.


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