Category Archives: Leadership

Looking Back and the Path Forward

Stephanie Beene and I (Kai Alexis Smith) have enjoyed serving as co-moderators for the Architecture and Planning Section. The time has come for us to step down and allow for new leadership of the Section as we take on new adventures within ARLIS/NA. While we both plan to remain active in the Section, I will be joining the Executive Board as the Advancement Liaison, and Stephanie will be serving in a variety of upcoming initiatives on behalf of the Antiracism Task Force and the Documentation Committee, as it prepares for ARLIS/NA’s 50th anniversary in Chicago next year. I have enjoyed being your co-moderator over this past year, and Stephanie has enjoyed serving as the Urban & Regional Planning Special Interest Group (SIG) Coordinator and then my fellow co-moderator since 2018. 


In the short time we have served together as co-moderators, we have successfully led the membership in a vote to dissolve the Urban & Regional Planning SIG and merge it with the Architecture Section after an initial discussion at the 2019 ARLIS/NA Conference in Salt Lake City. Dissolving the Urban and Regional Planning SIG and merging it with the Architecture Section aligns shared knowledge and resources between the groups, amplifies the status and agency of Planning within ARLIS/NA by dissolving the SIG and making it a Section, and allows our members to benefit from one annual meeting at conferences rather than multiple meetings. Stepping into the co-moderator positions, we had high hopes for lots of engagement and programming, but the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic  slowed everything down considerably, including the administrative work that comes with merging these two groups. A component of this work included joining the two separate listservs into one. Unfortunately, this work came at a time when the association was changing management companies so there has been a delay. We see a path forward with the help of McKenna Management and the transition to the new Humanities Commons platform. This work will be continued with new leadership.


Despite these transitions and the pandemic, we were still able to accomplish quite a bit.

  • We updated the policy manual to reflect the change in both the Urban & Regional Planning SIG and Architecture Section and the merging of the two, in conjunction with the Executive Board, the Documentation Committee, and Editorial Board.
  • We restructured the Section’s moderators governance by editing the bylaws, in conjunction with the Executive Board. Previously the Architecture Section had vice-moderators and moderators; with the new Section, the leadership has been restructured to have two co-moderators that overlap one year with each other to support transition and continuity. 
  • We updated the Architecture and Planning webpage on the ARLIS/NA website to reflect these changes and align with other documentation, in conjunction with the Editorial Board and the Executive Board. We also retroactively documented leadership  positions for the Section and updated the conference presentations on the webpage.
  • The Architecture and Planning Section Blog was renamed Arch/Plan Sec ( We worked with McKenna Management on a seamless transition of the url, look, and style of the blog. 

We want to thank each of you for your patience, flexibility, and hard work through what has been a trying year for everyone! Throughout this merge, members were engaged and excited about the future prospects and opportunities.

Some highlights of what was accomplished in the last year include: 

  • In collaboration with the previous moderator of the Architecture Section, Rachel Castro, we submitted a panel for the St. Louis conference, Preserve, Enhance, Reimagine: Examining architecture and urban planning through a social justice lens,” which was accepted for the 2020 Annual conference in St. Louis. This panel featured local architecture and planning experts in St. Louis as panelists and was intended to re-evaluate and re-imagine our roles as critical information professionals in this local, conditional optimism. In particular, as art and architecture librarians contributing to local communities, visual and information literacy instruction and programming, and social justice frameworks, this panel would have thoughtfully reflected upon our roles as information professionals and proponents of social justice.  
    • Unfortunately, the 2020 conference was canceled due to the pandemic. We had a virtual event planned with the speakers in April 2021, but each of our speakers had other obligations and were not able to commit to the timing of this event.


Image provided by Karen Bouchard
Image Provided by Aimee Lind

In addition, Reference Librarian at Brown University Karen Bouchard will be stepping out of the role as Blog Coordinator after serving for two years. Reference Specialist for Architecture Collections and Manager of Interlibrary Loan at the J. Paul Getty Trust Aimee Lind served as Social Media Coordinator, mainly managing the Facebook group, since she was the Architecture Section Moderator in 2018. Both the Blog Coordinator and Social Media Coordinator positions will be recruited by the new co-moderators of the Section.  


Image provided by Jeff Alger

We pass the baton to the newly elected co-moderator for 2021 to 2023, Jeff Alger. Jeff is a Librarian II at Iowa State University and was elected to the position with 95.4% (21 of 22) of the Section members that voted. 


Election results for Jeff Alger

Scholarly Resources Librarian at The University of Texas at San Antonio Diane López was elected to the 2021 to 2022 co-moderator position with 91% (20 of 22) of the Section members that voted. However, Diane has withdrawn from consideration. This leaves an opportunity to fill this one-year term. The new co-moderator would serve with Jeff and this is a terrific opportunity for networking and professional development.

Election results for Diane Lopez.

While Stephanie and I set out to do a lot this past year, the pandemic taught us to scale our expectations and learn the limits of what we are able to do while valuing each other and our families. What we accomplished as a Section was plenty, and we are excited for the next year and what it may hold. We enjoyed the work with the Architecture and Planning Section and now move on to contribute to the society in different ways.         

This is not good bye. It is see you around,  

 Kai (and Storm) and Stephanie (and Hayley)


Image left provided by Kai Alexis Smith of Kai holding her puppy Storm.

Image right provided by Stephanie Beene of Stephanie holding her dog Hayley.