During the last several years, Rice University's Fondren Library underwent significant changes. Plans to demolish the existing building and build a new library with two floors below grade were abandoned after extensive flooding in Houston during June 2001. To address critical space shortages, the University Librarian and planners embarked on two major solutions: a new storage facility and a library renovation.
The university decided to build a library storage facility about 5 miles from campus, on land that had been donated by Raymond Brochstein. Carlos Jimenez Studios designed a high-density storage facility that recently received a 2007 Honor Award from the Houston Chapter of the AIA. Construction began in February 2003 and the facility was completed by March 2004. The transfer of books, serials, LPs, and archival materials began in January 2004 and as of January 2007, over 600,000 items have been processed and stored in the Library Service Center.
Major renovation to the interior of Fondren Library began in May 2005. The project's architects were Shepley Bulfinch Richardson & Abbott, Ray Bailey Architects, and Linbeck Construction. All departments were relocated at various stages of the demolition and renovation process and Collection Development librarians worked to transfer materials from stack areas to be renovated. Most of the renovation was completed by December 2006. The Government Publications and Microforms Department is now located in greatly expanded and improved public and office spaces, and the Technical Services Department and Reference/Collection Development librarians moved into renovated areas. Work is almost complete on the last phase, which involves facilities for the library's computer and IT staff.
The most dramatic changes are on the first, second, and sixth floors. A new west entrance directly opposite the original east entrance of the building is linked by a lighted walkway that bisects the first floor. From this central east-west axis, there is access to an elevator and restrooms. The Circulation & Reserve Desk, staff space, and the "scatter room" now have spacious quarters adjacent to the west entrance. The Reference Desk is placed at the edge of an array of study cubicles with public access Macintosh workstations, and is also adjacent to a large section of study cubicles with Macs reserved for Rice student use only. Throughout the first floor there are 62 carrels for individual study. The second floor features the most dramatic physical changes with six new group study rooms and 18 individual study carrels. The largest group study room is furnished with projection and display equipment. The small sixth floor has been converted into a comfortable study area with ample lounge furniture. There are also two rooms, with one reserved for group study that is equipped with ports and display screens. Access to this floor is restricted to Rice students and faculty.
The Circulation/Reserve Desk of the Brown Fine Arts Library was closed on August 1, 2006. The Circulation Supervisor and the weekend supervisor transferred their responsibilities to
Fondren's Circulation Department. During the spring of 2006, Mary Du Mont, Music Librarian, and Jet Prendeville, Art/Architecture Librarian, worked on challenges related to the transition and transfer of materials. All Fine Arts and music CDs, videos, and DVDs were transferred to Fondren Circulation. Over 6,000 art and architecture oversize volumes, folios, and rare books were sent to the Library Service Center. All circulation and reserve functions are now handled by the Fondren Circulation Department. The remainder of the Fine Arts collection remains within the confines of the Brown Fine Arts Library. Eventually the doors along the perimeter of the Fine Arts Library will be removed to allow easier access to the rest of the third floor collection. These doors are currently unlocked. Only the main entry doors will remain, so they can be closed to block noise from receptions that are frequently held in an adjacent public area.
Since Fall 2004, Jet Prendeville has been working closely with the Visual Arts faculty to develop a small collection of livres d'artistes by post World War II American artists. Two of the most significant and beautiful books acquired are Jim Dine's Temple of Flora and Robert Motherwell's El Negro. Plans are underway for the Visual Arts Department and Fondren Library to host an exhibition of the livres d'artistes sometime in September 2007. A reception and a program of invited speakers are also being planned.
Submitted by Jet Prendeville
Jessica Lu has received a Helen Jones Foundation grant of $35,000. The grant was awarded to the Texas Tech University Libraries for the purpose of obtaining an architecture digital image collection and to license the Archivision Digital Archive. Ms. Lu is the Architecture Image Librarian for the Architecture Library's Visual Resources Collection.
Submitted by Bonnie Reed
Sam Duncan joined the University of Texas at Austin's School of Architecture in November 2006 as the new Director of the Materials Lab. Former Director Tara Carlisle left the university in August. Most of you will know that Sam comes to U.T. from Fort Worth, where he worked at the Amon Carter Museum as the technical services librarian. As a result of Sam's job change he regrettably announced his resignation from the ARLIS/Texas-Mexico Presidency.
Sanctioning Modernism, an exhibition of materials drawn from the Alexander Architectural Archive and the Architecture and Planning Library's Special Collection, held in conjunction with a symposium on post-World War II architecture is on view in the Reading Room of the Architecture and Planning Library at the University of Texas at Austin through May 2007.
Janine Henri and Beth Dodd presented on Architectural Archives and Special Collections: Best Practices for Libraries Supporting Schools of Architecture at this year's meeting of the Association of Architecture School Librarians (AASL) in Philadelphia (see the AASL conference website for more information). This meeting is held in conjunction with the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA). Beth Dodd was the recipient of the first travel award offered by the AASL. Janine Henri was elected Vice-President/President-Elect of AASL and will be planning the next AASL conference, scheduled for March 27-30, 2008, in Houston.
Kathryn Pierce, Alexander Architectural Archive Processor (Graduate Research Assistant), is the recipient of ARLIS/Texas-Mexico's Lois Swan Jones Professional Development Award. Katie is currently a student in the School of Information at the University of Texas at Austin, and she will begin graduate study in architecture history at U.T. Austin this fall.
Janine Henri and Heather Ball co-authored "Library Support for Study Abroad and Distance Education Programs," published in the January ACSANews (vol.36, no.5, p.44).
In February 2007, the American Institute of Architects announced that Battle Hall (home of the Architecture and Planning Library) was included on its list of America's Favorite Architecture. KXAN (Television Channel 36) featured Battle Hall on the 6 o'clock news on Friday Feb. 9, 2007 (Janine Henri was interviewed briefly for that program).
Submitted by Janine Henri