New digital library collection showcases Small Center’s impact

Collage of covers of publications

Article by Mary Cross

Whether you’re a scholar interested in studying early images of Latin America or a high school student searching for float designs from Carnival’s Golden Age for a class project, the Tulane University Digital Library (TUDL), a project of Howard-Tilton Memorial Library, provides instant access to the university’s rare materials and collections anytime, anywhere. Now, TUDL is home to a new online collection showcasing the work of the Albert and Tina Small Center for Collaborative Design, the community design center of the School of Architecture.

“We're always on the lookout for resources across campus that we feel the public should know about,” said Jeff Rubin, library coordinator for digital initiatives and publications. “The work that the Small Center is doing is unique to both Tulane and the greater community.”

By working with nonprofit organizations and community groups, the Small Center provides design education to Tulane students while offering design services to underserved communities in Greater New Orleans.

Each item featured in the TUDL collection documents a collaborative project between the Small Center and local partners. Maggie Hansen, who served as the Small Center’s director through 2017, jump-started the TUDL project to ensure that the institute’s materials were being archived at the university.

“Over the past 13 years, the Small Center has done over 80 projects. For each project, a booklet is produced about the entire process from start to finish,” said Shoshana Gordon, who previously worked as a program assistant and AmeriCorps VISTA at the center.

“Maggie and I thought that it would be a good idea to make these booklets more accessible to the university and the public,” said Gordon, currently a graphic designer for local public art project Paper Monuments.

Each booklet contains designs, drawings and photographs detailing the stories behind projects, like the rainwater-collecting gardens built at Parisite Skate Park.

“We're going to continue to add projects to the collection as they happen, so the collection will grow and continue to document the Small Center’s community collaborations,” added Rubin.

Albert and Tina Small Center for Collaborative Design