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National Library Week: King + King Architecture Library at Syracuse University

National Library Week: King + King Architecture Library at Syracuse University

If you happen to venture outside of the iSchool to nearby Slocum Hall, take a walk up to the building’s third floor. There, you’ll find the King + King Architecture Library, a light-filled, three room library that directly serves the information needs of the students, staff, and faculty of Syracuse University’s School of Architecture.

The Collection

You may be wondering—why does the School of Architecture have its own library? Surprisingly, Syracuse University has a history of separate branch libraries.

Before the opening of Bird Library in 1973, there were 27+ branch and subject-specific libraries across campus. When Bird was constructed, the majority of the University’s collections were centralized. This included the bulk of the architecture books. While these items are now shelved on the 4th floor of Bird, there are a number of resources that are limited to the School of Architecture at the King + King Architecture Library.

According to Architecture Librarian Barbara Opar, this is due to the unique way architecture is conceptualized, studied, and designed. Architecture students and faculty need direct access to these unique resources.

While the collections are geared toward the School of Architecture, they are available to all Syracuse University and ESF students, faculty, staff, and registered borrowers.

A Glimpse of the Materials Collection

On top of architectural-related books and periodicals, the King + King Architecture Library contains a number of collections that you can’t find in Bird or Carnegie. The two that were the most interesting to me were the library’s collection of architectural drawings and building materials.

For those of you who may be unfamiliar with the lingo, architectural drawings can be artistic, technical, or conceptual drawings of a building project. Architects use drawings to develop, explain and design a building’s structure and use.

While the library’s architectural drawings do not circulate, they are regularly used in architecture courses on campus. SU Libraries has also recently launched a project to digitize the drawings, which will increase accessibility to the materials for students and faculty at the SOA.

The library also has an extensive collection of physical building materials for students and faculty members to check out for a one-day loan period. These materials include a wide variety of samples: from wood and concrete to plastic and polymer. Each sample contains information on the material’s installation uses, fabrication process, commercial sizes, and more.

The Space

The King + King Architecture Library recently reopened after a stunning renovation thanks to the generosity of the King Family. The renovation made a number of cosmetic changes to the space, including new furniture and ceiling treatments. Most importantly, it created much-needed space for learning.

Prior to the renovation, the library was not a conducive space for library instruction and outreach, which were integral parts of Barbara Opar’s day-to-day responsibilities. Two of the three rooms in the library contained mostly physical books and drawings, while the other room was dedicated to circulation.

The Architecture Library before renovations.
The Architecture Library before renovations.
The Architecture Library before renovations.
The Architecture Library before renovations.

To open up the space, Barbara worked directly with faculty members. They condensed the collection and moved a number of books to Bird Library. Now, two of the rooms are utilized for thesis seminars, library instruction, outreach, and study areas.

The new and improved King + King Architecture Library is a prime example of the ways libraries re-conceptualize their physical spaces to prioritize user services and needs.

The King + King Architecture Library in 2018, after renovations.
The King + King Architecture Library in 2018, after renovations.
The King + King Architecture Library in 2018, after renovations.
The King + King Architecture Library in 2018, after renovations.

The King + King Architecture Library is open!

As of spring 2018, the regular academic year hours for the King + King Architecture Library are:

  • Monday- Thursday: 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.
  • Friday: 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
  • Saturday: 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
  • Sunday: 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.

I encourage you all to take the short walk to the third floor of Slocum Hall and check it out!

Kara Conley

Kara Conley

Kara is a second year MSLIS student at the iSchool. She is the graduate assistant to the MSLIS Program Manager and works part-time at Dewitt Community Library. Kara is passionate about public librarianship, urban design, and Recess coffee.

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