Scope Drift? More of a Sharp Turn: Visual Resources Director One Day, Architecture Librarian the Next

  • Cynthia G. Frank University of Maryland - College Park
Keywords: scope drift, VRC, visual resources, librarian, branch management, budget, librarianship, mentor, architecture librarian, job transition


When the position of Director of Visual Resources was transferred from the School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (the School) to the University Libraries a dramatic scope drift occurred. There was a physical move down the hall within the School, from the Visual Resources Collection room to the Architecture Branch Library. The Director was reassigned as Visual Resources Librarian (with faculty status) and would run the Visual Resources Collection within the Library. Within a month, as the Architecture Librarian was moved across the street to run the Art Library, various subject librarian tasks were added to the Visual Resources Librarian job description. Training in reference interviews, selecting a mentor, and gaining access to collection development funds followed quickly, as did a new position title; the Visual Resources Librarian became the next Architecture Librarian. Although initially intimidated by the sheer numbers of databases and journal subscriptions, it became apparent that collection development skills, student employee supervision skills, budget management experience, image cataloging knowledge, and photography instruction sessions could all be applied to the new job as the Architecture Librarian. The growth of the image collection is one part of the architecture librarian’s job, along with all the other aspects of running the architecture branch library. The new librarian has been quite successful at this position, thanks to all the experience gained while running the School’s Visual Resources Center.

Author Biography

Cynthia G. Frank, University of Maryland - College Park

Cynthia Frank is a licensed architect, and the subject liaison librarian for the School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (the School) at the University of Maryland. Before becoming the librarian, she shared the job of Slide Curator, and then became Director of Visual Resources Center at the School. A graduate of the architecture program here, she worked for several architects in the Washington DC area, working on residential and institutional projects.

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