The origins of AASL go back to the fall of 1978 when representatives of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) extended a special invitation to “all academic architecture librarians, and other interested persons, to meet in conjunction with them at their next annual meeting in Savannah, GA” in April 1979 for their 67th annual meeting.
Twenty-six architecture librarians, representing a broad geographical range from both the United States and Canada, attended that first important meeting. Their stated goal was to “discuss problems, exchange ideas, and promote the advancement of architectural librarianship.” It did not take long for attendees to recognize the value of the proceedings and they moved to continue meeting concurrently with ACSA. An Organization and Structures Committee was formed and a conference planning committee was appointed to prepare for the second annual meeting to be held in San Antonio, TX.
During the early 1980’s annual meetings were held in Monterey, CA, Quebec City, QC, Charleston, SC, and Vancouver, BC (view Past Conferences). It was during this time that AASL’s organizational infrastructure took shape, allowing the on-going development and strengthening of the emerging association. A Constitution and Bylaws were discussed and adopted, membership levels and committee roles determined, and plans for incorporation were all achieved early in its formation.
With time, the success of the organization has grown. Membership now exceeds 150 and reflects an even broader range of geographical and educational boundaries. AASL members have many skills and goals in common, which can be summarized simply as being supportive of architectural education. We are united by a common cause and core values, and a sense of community. We are also working towards enhancing our collaborative efforts and strengthening our roles within our communities of practice.
In 2015, we initiated a two-year strategic planning process, with the goal of adopting a final strategic plan at the 2017 annual meeting (view Strategic Directions). The Strategic Planning Task Force both evaluated the achievements of the past forty years, and identified key initiatives that will sustain and enhance the success of the organization into the future.
In its first forty years the AASL has grown from an inspired idea to a well-established community of practitioners, all of whom care deeply and work consistently to support the professional development and educational enhancement of its members.