Avery Library's New Director

Avery Library Director Hannah Bennett

Vice Provost and University Librarian Ann D. Thornton is pleased to announce the appointment of Hannah Bennett as Director of Columbia University’s Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library.

Bennett, who will join Columbia on October 7, will provide leadership for Avery’s research services, facilities, and collections strategies in support of the research, teaching, and stewardship mission of Columbia University Libraries.

Bennett comes to Avery after more than four years at the University of Pennsylvania Libraries where she oversaw three divisions – the Fisher Fine Arts Library, the Penn Museum Library, and the Music Library as well as the Materials Library and Common Press Letterpress Studio. She has served in other management roles including as the Director of the Fisher Fine Arts Library and, most recently, the Assistant University Librarian for Humanities and Social Sciences.

At the Fisher, Bennett oversaw acquisitions for general and special collections, facilities revitalizations through a number of renovations, developed the Fisher’s first exhibition program, and established the University’s first Materials Library. She initiated a number of digital programs including the crowdsourced Ed Bacon Photo Project, numerous projects supporting Penn’s Arts and STEM divisions, and a web archive for Philadelphia arts and historic preservation related websites. The foundation of much of Bennett’s work has been her close collaborations with the faculty of the Department of the History of Art, the Weitzman School of Design, the Penn Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, the programs for Visual Studies, Art and Archaeology of the Mediterranean World, and the Kelly Writers House. 

Prior to Penn, Bennett served as the Librarian for Princeton University’s School of Architecture Library, which was preceded by appointments as Assistant Director for Collections & Research at Yale University’s Haas Family Arts Library and, earlier, as Research Librarian at the Ryerson & Burnham Libraries at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Bennett received her Master of Library Science from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana and a Master of Arts in Medieval Studies at University of York in England. She has a wide range of professional presentations and publications and has served within the Art Librarians Society of North America, the Association of Architecture School Librarians, and the Ivy Plus Libraries Confederation Art & Architecture Group.

“In her previous roles, Hannah has demonstrated an ability to foster innovation in collection development, space management, and faculty and student engagement, aligning the library with the evolving needs and expectations of users," said Christopher Cronin, Associate University Librarian for Collections. “At Columbia, Hannah will be applying this experience and her extraordinary vision for Avery to lead a team of highly dedicated and knowledgeable staff. I am excited to begin this new chapter in Avery's illustrious history with Hannah as Director.”

Founded in 1890, Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library is one of the foremost repositories supporting professional and academic programs in architecture, urban planning and design, historic preservation, art history, and archaeology. Avery Library comprises five important collection and stewardship areas: general collections supporting research and learning at Columbia University; rare books; drawings and archives; the University’s art properties collection; and the Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals.

“The Avery’s incomparable collections and services have been a critical bass note to my career in art and architecture librarianship,” said Bennett. “It’s an absolute honor now to be at its helm and, with its talented staff and faculty, to continue shaping the Avery’s pivotal role in the future of arts scholarship and education.”