Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library Has New Director

Hannah Bennett, previously with University of Pennsylvania Libraries, will take the helm on October 7.

August 27, 2019

Vice Provost and University Librarian Ann D. Thornton has announced the appointment of Hannah Bennett as Director of Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library. Bennett, who will join Columbia on October 7, will lead Avery’s research services, facilities and collections strategies.

Bennett's previous post was 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. 

At the Fisher, she managed acquisitions for general and special collections, developed the library's first exhibition program and established the University’s first Materials Library. She also initiated a number of digital programs including the crowdsourced Ed Bacon Photo Project and others supporting Penn’s Arts and STEM divisions, along with a web archive for Philadelphia arts and historic preservation-related websites. The foundation of much of Bennett’s work at Penn resulted from her collaborations with the Art History Department faculty, 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 her four years at Penn, Bennett served as the Librarian for Princeton University’s School of Architecture Library, Assistant Director for Collections & Research at Yale University’s Haas Family Arts Library and 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 the University of York in England. 

“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.”

“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.”