What We Did at UArts This Summer

In the very early hours of the morning of April 29, 2017, one week before the end of the spring semester at the University of the Arts, an 8-inch water service line pipe burst in the basement of Anderson Hall where the lower level of the Albert M. Greenfield Library resides. Twelve feet of water quickly filled the basement and covered everything. Almost half of the library’s print collection—over 25,000 volumes of books, 10,500 volumes of periodicals—the Archives and Textile collections, Picture File, reading room, and the contents of staff offices and spaces were affected. Fortunately, the technical services librarian, whose office is in the basement, had taken her laptop home for the weekend!

Before and after

Once the water was pumped out of the building, the Archives and Textile collections were quickly identified as the most important collections to be removed as soon as possible for freeze-drying. These collections are essentially irreplaceable. Staff who live near the building arrived the next day to identify those materials for the reclamation company on the job. With the support of other librarians, I made the decision to declare the rest of the collection a total loss. Having gone through a less devastating water event in the past and seeing the results of freeze-drying on books that were totally saturated, this seemed the best course of action for over 35,000 books and periodical volumes. There was simply no way for us to quickly prioritize books for freeze-drying with less-than-ideal results. In addition to being soaking wet, books were scattered throughout the space and interspersed with shattered glass, toppled bookshelves that had been pulled from the walls, furniture that had been moved by the force of the water, and other debris. It was also not safe for us to stay in the space for more than a very short period of time. On top of that, the licenses and inspections department of the City of Philadelphia quickly placed a cease-occupancy order on the building so we were not permitted to enter any space in the building without an escort, and only for a short period of time to gather essentials. Many people, both within and outside of the university community, offered their assistance but there was little anyone could do with this order in place. In the end, everything that had been in the basement other than the Archives and Textile collections was discarded due to quick deterioration.

Water pressure does crazy things to books

All library staff and operations were moved to the Music Library—housed in the Merriam Theater Building just a block away from the Greenfield Library—on the Monday morning after the flood. The first thing we did was gather together over coffee and donuts so I could share the information I had and try to assure everyone that we’d get through this together, and to strategize about how to maintain library services. With the help of the Music Library staff, the displaced staff found spots for their new “offices.” Carrels used for audio equipment were converted into staff workspaces, Music Library circulation staff graciously made room at the circulation desk area for the displaced circulation staff, spaces in the reading room were claimed, and the music reference librarian happily squeezed two of us into his office. We were literally in every nook and cranny. The resilient library staff adapted very quickly and developed stronger bonds and working relationships.

Our “offices”

Being in close proximity to one another was a silver lining during a very difficult time; it increased and enhanced our communications and taught me, for one, to change my habits once we moved back into the Greenfield Library. I now think twice before sending off emails and, instead, often pick up the phone or walk to other offices to speak with people. I hope we will have the opportunity in the not-so-distant future to use what we learned to configure some staff spaces that offer privacy but are also conducive to more collaborative and personal interactions.

The outpouring of concern and support from colleagues like all of you, and others from inside and outside the university gave our spirits a tremendous boost and helped ease our anxiety. Frequent snacks brought in by very kind faculty and staff, support from other departments in the building, and a library staff field trip helped, too!

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Our field trip to the Masonic Temple in Philadelphia

We moved back into the first floor of the Greenfield Library almost exactly four months after the flood and just in time for the Libraries’ annual Open House and the first day of classes of the fall semester. The space is half of what we had before the flood and it has been a challenge to find spaces for two staff and the student assistants whose workspaces were in the basement, and for the books returned or acquired over the summer. We are busy purchasing materials lost in the flood that are needed by students and faculty, and processing the many replacement donations of books that have been streaming in from friends and colleagues (thank you!). Our communications to the university community at the time of and since the flood have focused on the fact that we were and are still able to provide the same excellent services as we did before the flood. Thanks to the dedicated, hard-working, professional, and service-oriented library staff, I am happy to say that we have done just that, and may even be providing better and more attentive services to the University of the Arts community.

After several months of gathering data for them (and explaining serial titles vs. volumes and other library specifics), we are in the final stages of working with reclamation and insurance companies and in the first stages of planning for the future of the UArts Libraries. Although we will rebuild parts of the collections, we will say farewell to others and determine what kinds of spaces will best serve our community going forward. We will use what we learned from this event to make strategic decisions about the future. Stay tuned!

Submitted by:
Carol Graney, Associate Provost and Director of University Libraries
The University of the Arts


The SVA Library Resists!

Following the presidential election last November, the School of Visual Arts Library staff felt moved to come up with programming for our community that addressed the heated political climate in America. In March 2017 the SVA Library hosted a series of public events simply titled Resist! that showcased different mediums through which our students, faculty and staff could and were already taking action. Events in the series included two film screenings, a political art workshop, a Wikipedia edit-a-thon, a CryptoParty, a poetry reading, and a game night.

Resist! An Event Series Presented by SVA Library

An initial idea for our politically-themed programming was to hold a “mini conference” of sessions and speakers over one to two days. This format quickly gave way to a looser timeline of one to two weeks, which allowed for more scheduling flexibility on both the part of our event partners and potential attendees. Four library staff members, including our director, Caitlin Kilgallen, associate director, Rebecca Clark, digital services librarian, Phoebe Stein, and instruction/periodicals librarian, David Pemberton took part in planning the events.

The first two events in the series were held on March 15th. In the afternoon, a screening was held of the film Captured, a documentary about the people and places behind the creative energy of NYC’s Lower East Side neighborhood in the 1980s and 90s. The Tompkins Square Park riot of 1988 featured prominently in the film. The director, Clayton Patterson was on hand to introduce the film and hold a post-screening Q&A. That evening, volunteers from the Interference Archive visited the library to talk about their popular propaganda parties and discuss how independent artists and designers can collaborate with community organizations to create and distribute material that conveys a political message.  After the discussion, a workshop was held for participants to work through the process of imagining and planning their own propaganda party.

On the second night of the series, the library hosted a CryptoParty focused on personal digital security and operational security for activism and direct action. Two volunteers from CryptoParty NYC were on hand to lead discussions about general security precautions for email, web browsing and messaging, and more focused digital precautions for activist networks and journalists.

For our fourth event, the library hosted an Art + Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-thon, dovetailing with other A+F events taking place all over the world in the month of March. Two training sessions, led by librarian Phoebe Stein, were held for new editors to become familiar with Wikipedia’s best practices, and then participants were free to use the library’s resources to add information and citations to articles. Our edit-a-thon saw 12 editors add one new article and over 2,000 words to 20 different existing articles about women artists.

Art + Feminism Wikipedia editors at the SVA Library

Our second film screening took place on March 20th, in partnership with SVA’s MFA Social Documentary Film department. Students from the program presented their activist films from the modern era of protest, including Standing Rock, the Women’s March, the NYC Yemeni Bodega Strike, and Funeral for the Presidency. They also screened sneak peeks of their other films, followed by a reception.

On the evening of Tuesday, March 21st, four prominent New York City poets, Patricia Spears Jones, Lydia Cortes, Sheila Maldonado, and Bakar Wilson shared their work and experiences at a reading introduced and moderated by librarian David Pemberton. For posterity, this event was filmed and posted to SVA’s YouTube channel; view it here.

The last event in our series, a game night, was held on the evening of Friday, March 24th. This event was a partnership with another SVA department, MFA Design for Social Innovation. Students in that program had designed tabletop games addressing social issues for a class assignment, so holding a game night was the perfect chance for students to see their games in action. Three different games were played by small groups, followed by discussion of the game play and issues raised by the games.

Game Night at the SVA Library

Overall, the event series was very successful. Individual events were attended in varying numbers, but anecdotal reports from attendees were overwhelmingly positive. All of the events were open to the public, and at most of the events we provided food and drink, which we find are one of the keys to attracting attendees. For library staff, planning the series was a great way to reach out to external and internal partners and to forge relationships with SVA departments that can at times be very siloed. To see others photos of the events, search the hashtag #resistsva on Instagram.

Materials Collections in Art and Design School Libraries — Symposium

The Fleet Library at Rhode Island School of Design is the recipient of a $50,000 National Forum Grant from the Institute of Museum & Library Services (IMLS) to hold a symposium titled Materials Education and Research in Art and Design: A New Role for Libraries. From June 6-8, 2013, this unprecedented summit will convene international stakeholders, including artists, architects and designers, educators, researchers and librarians, to focus on the resources and documentation that are required to prepare art and design students for knowledgeable, responsible, and innovative use of materials in their professional work. Participants, including designers in the field, will speak to the current practical and expansive needs for information about materials; in addition faculty now teaching in art and design institutions will articulate the support they need to develop and collect material knowledge and share it to their students. Librarians in the process of building collections and databases of material samples will also be on hand to speak to the issues they have encountered. Respondents and other participants from Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD) schools with materials collections, as well as faculty and librarians from these and other AICAD schools and university art and architecture programs at non-AICAD institutions will attend the forum. The symposium includes an evening keynote and reception, a day of sessions, and a half-day workshop. A white paper will serve as a record of the symposium and a guiding resource for the creation and development of materials collections.

Confirmed keynote speakers include:

  • Billie Faircloth, Research Director at KieranTimberlake, Philadelphia
  • Liat Margolis, Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture at University of Toronto
  • Chris Lefteri, Design Materials Specialist at Chris Lefteri Design Ltd., London
  • Rosanne Somerson, Furniture Maker and Provost at Rhode Island School of Design

Confirmed designers/firms include:

Participating schools include:

  • Art Center (Pasadena)
  • California College of Arts (San Francisco)
  • College for Creative Studies (Detroit)
  • Emily Carr University of Art + Design (Vancouver)
  • Harvard University (Cambridge)
  • Holon Design Museum (Israel)
  • Kent State University (Kent, OH)
  • Maryland Institute College of Art (Baltimore)
  • Ontario College of Art & Design University (Toronto)
  • Otis College of Art & Design (Los Angeles)
  • Pratt Institute (Brooklyn)
  • Rhode Island School of Design (Providence)
  • School of Visual Arts (New York City)
  • School of the Art Institute of Chicago
  • University of Michigan (Ann Arbor)
  • University of Virginia (Charlottesville)
  • University of the Arts (Philadelphia)

Registration $30.
 Look for more information to appear on the Fleet Library website, http://library.risd.edu.

Member news

41st Annual ARLIS/NA Conference, Pasadena

Greetings all,

The conference is rapidly approaching and I wanted to draw your attention to several wonderful sounding panel and poster sessions in which members of our division are involved.  I hope that you’ll be able to attend at least some of these and show support for your ADSL colleagues. Unfortunately, I won’t be attending the conference this year, but it sounds like a terrific program.

Saturday, April 27th

  1. Artists’ Books: Turning the Page to the Future (panel session)—“Contemporary Artists’ Publishing, Not Artists’ Books”-Tony White, Director of the Decker Library, Maryland Institute College of Art
  2. Queering our Collections (panel session) – Moderator, Deborah Evans-Cantrell, former Catalog/Reference Librarian, Indianapolis Museum of Art
  3. Power up! How can Academic Libraries Collect for Video Game Design Students (topic talk to start off the ADSL meeting)—Olivia Miller, MLIS candidate, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
  4. Emerging Technology (forum) – “If this, then that: taming the Web using IFTTT”-Caitlin Pereira, Visual Resources Librarian, Massachusetts College of Art and Design

Sunday, April 28th

Poster Sessions:

  1. Writing on the Walls: Entice Your Users to Share their Thoughts – Sarah Carter and Jennifer Friedman, Instruction and Research Services Librarians, Ringling College of Art+Design
  2. The Artists as Writers Database Project—Farah Chung, Reference Intern, Ontario College of Art and Design
  3. Inside/Outside: Outreach at SCAD-Savannah – Patricia Gimenez and Carla-Mae Crookendale, Reference Librarians, Savannah College of Art and Design
  4. DIY-Zines, Minicomix, and More at the Art Center College of Design—Gina Scolares, Catalog Librarian, Art Center College of Design

Panel sessions:

  1. Librarian/Faculty Collaboration in Teaching and Assessing Information Literacy Across the Curriculum: Successes and Challenges—panelist, Sue Maberry, Director of Library and Instructional Technology, Otis College of Art and Design ; Moderator, Jennifer Friedman, Instruction and Research Services Librarian, Ringling College of Art and Design
  2. “I Don’t do Copying: Structuring a Meaningful Library Internship”—Jacqueline Protka, Digital Assets Librarian & Media Coordinator, Corcoran Gallery and College of Art+Design

Check out our new look!

The ADSL Division blog has gotten a makeover! If you’re reading this via email or RSS, click through to see the changes. Updates include:

  • Clean and easy-to-read overall look
  • New visual header
  • Compatibility with a variety of mobile devices
  • Quick links to follow ADSL via email or RSS feed

Do you have further recommendations for improving the look and feel of the ADSL blog? Or features/tools you’d like to see on this page? If so, tell us in the comments or send an email to the moderators.

In addition, I’d like to welcome anyone who has recently begun to follow the blog or is new to ARLIS/NA and ADSL. Our division’s purpose is to highlight library service to art and design students and faculty, and the blog supports this by offering a year-round forum where we can share our related ideas, news, projects, experiences and questions. A dedicated readership is essential to the blog’s success, as is a variety of authors from the ADSL Division. If you want to start writing, contact your current moderators or vice-moderators – Heather Koopmans, Deborah Evans-Cantrell, Claire Gunning, and Kim Detterbeck.


Several of our division members are involved in various sessions at this year’s upcoming conference in Minneapolis. Please be sure show your support and hear what they have to say.

They include:

March 24:

Workshop–“Postcards From the Edge IV: Fashion and Textiles”

Lisa Schattman, Design Institute of San Diego, co-organizer; Robin Dodge, Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, presenter.

Continue reading

Exhibition: “No Translation Required: Artists’ Books in Germany and Georgia”

A major exhibition “No Translation Required: Artists’ Books in Germany and Georgia” is currently on exhibit (March 8-April 16th) at the Trois Gallery, Savannah College of Art and Design. The exhibition developed out of a three week collaboration during Summer 2009, between nine students and two faculty from SCAD who traveled to Germany to create artists’ books with faculty and students at the University of the Arts, in Braunschweig.  Dr. Deborah Prosser,  Dean of Library Service s at SCAD and Atlanta librarians Teresa Burk and Mary Murphy were all heavily involved in managing the exhibit which eventually will travel to Germany and be on display in the Klingspor Museum in October 2010.
For images and more information, please see:

Meet Your Moderator for 2009/2010

Hello. I am one of your moderators for the 09/10 year along with Holly Hatheway. I am a new librarian and have worked as a Reference and Instructional Librarian at the Adam & Sophie Gimbel Design Library at The New School in New York for two years. I am one of two Reference and Instructional librarians for that library, which supports the curriculum of Parsons The New School for Design. I have a dual masters degree from Pratt Institute in Art History and Library Science. This will be my fourth ARLIS/NA conference. I have also served on the Membership Committee for two years.

As always, I am excited to reconnect with everyone at the conference as well as meet new professionals. I look forward to sharing ideas with everyone in Indianapolis and reading your ideas on this blog.

Jill E. Luedke

The Creative Library

The current issue of Urban Library Journal is about the creative endeavors of librarians. The articles in the issue discuss innovated services and programs librarians are implementing in their libraries today. My colleague (Sarah Laleman Ward) and I wrote an article titled “It All Started with a Button” for the “Reports from the Field” section about some of our practical and inexpensive creative marketing and outreach ventures. The article begins with a discussion about how we’ve utilized the “buttons” in our library, and then elaborates on other creative marketing and outreach techniques we’ve used. Take a look.