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Staff Biography

Barbara Opar

Barbara Opar

Librarian for Architecture
Research and Scholarship
Bird Library

315-443-2905 (Bird Library)
315-443-3518 (Architecture Reading Room)

Subject Areas

Architecture, French Language and Literature

Research areas

Core resources - chaired the 2007-09 Association of Architecture School Librarians Task Force to revise the Core List of Architecture Periodicals; Chair of the 2011-2012 AASL Core Reference Works Task Force; Booklist and Exhibition Catalog List editor for the Newsletter of the Society of Architectural Historians, 2001 to date; subject advisor for the French Language and Literature section of The Best Books for Academic Libraries, first edition, Temecula, California, Best Books, 2002; moderator of a panel discussion on "Collection Development in the Architecture Library" at the AASL conference, March 2006; co-presented a poster session on architecture and design search engines and web resources at the 2003 ARLIS/NA conference.

Architectural technology and construction documents - contributed the Architectural Engineering chapter in Using the Engineering Literature, edited by Bonnie A. Osif,  New York, Routledge, 2006 with a revised edition due late 2011; "Concrete issues: Technical reference sources and architectural collection development", Art Documentation, v.12, (spring 1993), p 13-16; "Site Documentation: What the Architecture Student Needs"; Art Reference Services Quarterly, volume 1, number 3, 1993, p. 23-30; moderator of the 1994 ARLIS/NA session on "Managing Architectural Drawings"; presenter at the 1992 ARLIS/NA conference session on collection development, discussing technical reference tools. 


In addition to holding undergraduate and graduate degrees from Syracuse University, Barbara began her library career here at Syracuse as a graduate assistant with the School of Architecture, overseeing the operation of the Architecture Reading Room (ARR). While continuing to direct the ARR, Barbara now serves as the Architecture Librarian with the Syracuse University Libraries. Accomplishments include the establishment and organization of the architectural working drawings collection housed in the ARR. During her tenure as department head, Barbara coordinated the move of the Fine Arts Department to its new location on the fourth floor of Bird, which involved the consolidation of service points and staff training.  She regularized loan periods for the Fine Arts Collection.  Slide Collection resources were expanded and in-house databases created to document those holdings.  Barbara also directed the publication of the first e-book at Syracuse University: An Anthology of building technology: the field condition, by Theodore M. Ceraldi, 2001,

Barbara is also the subject librarian for French language and literature. She has co-sponsored and presented at the annual French graduate student colloquium.  

Barbara was elected to Beta Phi Mu and served the Board in a number of roles.  Active in the Association of Architectural School Librarians, she has twice served as President, was an editor of the Newsletter and currently serves as Column Editor.  Barbara has moderated the Architecture Section of the Art Libraries Society of North America. She has served ARLIS/WNY as President, Secretary, Newsletter editor, presenter and conference planner.

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