Befitting the abrupt move of teaching, learning, and academic conferences to digital platforms as a result of the pandemic, Guttman Chief Librarian Dr. Amy Beth facilitated a session titled Environmental Design Research and CoVid: Brainstorming research approaches to understanding our new normal & EDRA-Socializing at EDRA51 – the Environmental Design Research Association Annual Conference – hosted virtually from Tucson, AZ, in April 2020. Dr. Beth expounded on the unique global scenario thrust upon academia: “In recent months, the pandemic of COVID-19 has presented opportunities for virtual conferences and meetings that bring people together globally without the expense of travel and more. The EDRA virtual conference offered participants the opportunity to explore ways in which emulating the transactions and interactions of previous everyday environments has presented specific adaptations hinging upon stay-in-place environmental shifts.”
In addition, Dr. Beth developed the webinar Remote Research Methods: Conducting Research on the Built Environment While Remote for the American Institute of Architecture NY (AIANY) Social Science and Architecture Committee Meeting, held virtually from New York, NY, on May 7, 2020. This online program addressed how methods of research have shifted under the stay-in-place conditions imposed during the pandemic and, in Dr. Beth’s words, “have revealed both limits and newly experienced assets to both processes and findings.”
Dr. Beth holds a Ph.D. in Environmental Psychology from the CUNY Graduate Center. Her work focuses on libraries as environments of significant meaning for people over the course of their lives. Her research incorporates the life experience of space and place as described through the environmental autobiographies and narrative descriptions of architects who now work on library building designs and renovations and details the influence of environmental meaning in relation to library planning. She was a Co-Chair of the EDRA50 Environmental Design Research Association Annual Conference and serves on the AIANY Social Science and Architecture Committee.