Mary Ellen LoPresti
August 16, 1942 – January 1985
Mary Ellen LoPresti, or affectionally known as Mel, was one of the pioneering members behind the formation of the ARLIS/Georgia Chapter in 1975 (which quickly became the Georgia-Florida Chapter) that is now ARLIS/ Southeast. She served as the third Chair of the Chapter in 1977-78 and hosted the December 1977 annual chapter meeting in Atlanta, although she had taken the position of Design Librarian at North Carolina State University in Raleigh NC earlier that year.
She was born on August 16, 1941 and later graduated from George Peabody College for Teachers with a B.S. in Elementary Education, but followed it by completing her M.L.S. from Peabody several years afterward.
Before assuming the position of Design Librarian at Harrye B. Lyons Design Library at NC State University on May 1st, 1977, she was Head Architecture Librarian and Assistant Professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology Architecture Library. Prior to that she held professional positions in the Reference Department of Atlanta Public Library, and in the Cataloging Department at Georgia Tech, where she also served as Slide Librarian.
Mel served in a variety of capacities with several professional library organizations. Among them was serving as Chairman of the Museum, Arts and Humanities Division of the Special Libraries Association. She was also organizer and founding member of the Association of Architecture School Librarians in 1978, and served as the first President of the organization from 1979-80.
Mel worked tirelessly and effortlessly to achieve organization and to promote cooperation among art librarians, and visual resources professionals. It was with great sadness that she died following a short illness in late January 1985.
Mary Ellen LoPresti left a lasting impression on those who met her. Her service and impact on arts librarianship is well documented. Her tireless energy and determination served as an inspiration to many. It is because of these qualities that the Southeast Chapter of the Art Libraries Society of North America (ARLIS/Southeast) honored her memory by establishing the Mary Ellen LoPresti Publishing Award in 1985 that rewards excellence in art publishing in the southeastern United States and encourages small press, university press, museum press and other publishers to strive for excellence in their publications.
The following is a resolution passed by the Association of Architecture School Librarians in 1985.
In late January, Maryellen LoPresti died after a short illness. She left to her profession an outstanding record of achievement and loyal support. She left to her colleagues the memory of a warm and respected friend.
Maryellen, or as we knew her, Mel, served with distinction in an number of important library positions include the Architecture Library of the Georgia Institute of Technology and the Harrye B. Lyons Design Library of North Carolina State University.
Through a career characterized by service to her profession, Mel came to be recognized as an outstanding authority in her field. Her advise and counsel were sought by fellow librarian. She will be remembered by members of the Association of Architecture School Librarians as the organizer of the initial meeting of a group of librarians from the Southeast Region of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture. That meeting was held in Raleigh in the fall of 1978. Subsequently, Mel contributed her knowledge, time, and talent to the formation of our present organization. He serves as our first president from 1979-1980. As an advocate for the advancement of our discipline, her impact and service have been without equal. We mourn the loss of an honored colleague.
Now, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED: That the Association of Architecture School Librarians, in convention assembled in Vancouver, Canada on March 18, 1985, extend to the family of our departed friend and to her colleagues the condolence and sympathy of the organization she so faithfully served.