Architecture Library Instruction Sessions Tailored to Classes, Projects

On any given day during the semester, the Architecture Library is a hive of activity: students are researching papers and projects, faculty members are browsing new books and DVDs, and library staff members are working diligently to provide first-rate library services. One of these services is the research instruction sessions designed for students at all levels of their academic careers, from students in the College of Architecture and Planning’s common first year program to graduate students.

The instruction session that Architecture Librarian Amy E. Trendler created for the first year students introduces them to the library’s resources for all three of the fields — architecture, landscape architecture, and urban planning — that they will choose for their second year studies and beyond. The session covers the first steps of environmental design research, including hands-on exercises in finding a book and an article in the library.

“My objectives for the first year class are two-fold,” says Trendler. “I want them to come away impressed by how relevant library collections are to their studies and interests and to be successful at finding things so they are comfortable when they come to the library to do research for an assignment.”

Graduate students delve deeper into the library’s resources and services, including an array of databases and library subject guides in the library instruction sessions Trendler designs for their courses. As with the first year students, the graduate students benefit from an early introduction to the library.

 “Being able to have a librarian come into our graduate courses in the very beginning of a student’s experience is key,” says Landscape Architecture Professor Carla Corbin. “The Library Subject Guide for Landscape Architecture is a helpful road map to getting started on the sources that are the most productive tools for our students. Having those as starting points – and having the search process demonstrated for them by a librarian visiting our classes – gives them confidence in beginning their own research.”

 In addition to building the research skills of new students, instruction sessions are useful for special topics in courses throughout the curriculum. For example, this fall Prof. Duncan Campbell’s historic preservation studio class is working on a book for Indiana University Press on modern architecture in Columbus, Indiana, and students had sessions with both the Architecture Librarian and the Visual Resources Curator. “[Architecture Librarian] Amy Trendler came to our studio with reference materials and a presentation on the kinds of resources we might encounter in our research, and the Visual Resources Curator [Cindy Turner] walked the class through the process of using the digital image collection,” says Prof. Campbell. “It would be hard to imagine undertaking such a comprehensive project without the kind of access, materials, and personal service our library provides.”

 Professor Pam Harwood’s architecture studio class has also been working with Visual Resources Curator Cindy Turner and the Architecture Building Material Samples Collection. “The Architecture Library materials collection and Cindy Turner, her staff, and student workers are an indispensable part of our work in engaging students with real materials in real applications in architectural design,” says Prof. Harwood. “[They have been] an invaluable resource as we work with the Muncie Children’s Museum in reference to specifying and utilizing materials in the design, development, and construction of the Tot Spot, set to open to the public on November 11, 2011.”

 Whether it is historical research, material selection, or finding images, the Architecture Library supports student research needs through the collections, services, and instruction sessions it offers.

If you have questions, suggestions, or are interested in scheduling an instruction session or research consultation, contact Amy E. Trendler, Architecture Librarian.   ◙

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