“Gerald Beasley is a librarian of outstanding experience and accomplishment who brings to the Avery Library a breadth of vision and a depth of expertise that will build on the distinguished tenure of Angela Giral,” said Jim Neal, Vice President for Information Services and University Librarian at Columbia. Giral retired as Director of the Avery Library in December 2003, after more than 20 years of service, marked by her commitment to the collections, noteworthy oversight of the Avery Index and library renovations, and brave experimentation with technology.
Beasley has a first degree in English Language and Literature from Oxford University and an M.A. in Library Studies from University College, London. He joined the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA), an international study center and museum, in 1994. He previously served as Assistant Curator for Rare Books at the Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine in London, and before that as Editor of the Early Works Catalogue at the British Architectural Library of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). He co-authored the RIBA’s five-volume catalog Early Printed Books, 1478-1840, last year’s winner of the prestigious Besterman/McColvin medal, awarded annually by the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in the United Kingdom for an outstanding contribution to bibliography. He is also co-author of three catalogs of the Mark J. Millard architectural collection for the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.
“Avery Library is well known for taking a leadership role in the field and I am honored and delighted that Columbia University has asked me to direct it at this exciting time in its history,” said Beasley.
As Director of the Avery Library, Beasley will oversee one of the most distinguished architecture and fine arts libraries in the nation. Founded in 1890, the Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library collects books and periodicals in architecture, historic preservation, art history, decorative arts, city planning, real estate development, and archaeology. The Library contains more than 350,000 volumes, including 35,000 rare books, and receives approximately 1,000 periodicals. Avery’s Drawings and Archives collection includes one million architectural drawings and records. The Library is home to the Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals, an operating program of the Getty Research Institute, which is the only comprehensive American guide to the current literature of architecture and design.
Columbia University Libraries is one of the top ten academic library systems in the nation, with 9.2 million volumes, over 65,650 serials, as well as extensive collections of electronic resources, manuscripts, rare books, microforms, and other nonprint formats. The collections and services are organized into 25 libraries, supporting specific academic or professional disciplines. Columbia Libraries employs more than 400 professional and support staff to assist faculty, students, and researchers in their academic endeavors. The Libraries’ website at http://www.columbia.edu/cu/lweb/ is a gateway to its print and electronic collections and to its services.