Celebrating fifth anniversary of rare art history library offering resources for student, faculty and community research projects 

MCC Art Department Chair Gingher Leyendecker and Dr. Carole Drachler in the Art History Library at MCC.
MCC Art Department Chair Gingher
Leyendecker and Dr. Carole Drachler
in the Art History Library at MCC.

MESA, Ariz. – Oct. 11, 2023 – Mesa Community College (MCC) celebrates the fifth anniversary of the opening of its rare art history research library, the Dr. Carole Drachler Library of Art History, a treasure trove of data critical to numerous college and community research projects.

Situated on the college’s Southern and Dobson Campus, the Dr. Carole Drachler Library of Art History opened to students, faculty and staff as well as the general public in 2018. It was built with a $250,000 gift from retired MCC art history professor Dr. Carole Drachler and her husband, Dr. David Drachler, and consists of more than 3,000 art and art history books collected by the Drachlers from their world travels. The collection includes rare items from the groundbreaking 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, also known as the Chicago World’s Fair. Dr. Carole Drachler also donated 17,000 slides which were digitized and are currently available for classroom use.

An art history professor within the Maricopa County Community College District for nearly 40 years, Dr. Carole Drachler retired from MCC in 2009 after teaching there for 34 years. Her classes were some of the most popular on campus, packing the lecture hall for each of the five class sections she taught each semester. A past lecturer for the Arizona Humanities Council, Drachler considers the advancement of the arts in Arizona to be of paramount importance “to ensure that future generations may continue to enjoy and benefit from the well-documented pleasures and advantages of an art education.”

In its five-year existence, “the library has become a major resource for anyone requiring in-depth research,” said MCC Art Department Chair Gingher Leyendecker. “For the department as a whole and for our students, the Drachler library has offered not only a wealth of information but a space for students to gather and study.” She added, “It is a welcoming, comfortable space and it is exactly how Dr. Drachler envisioned the space and its use. She wanted it to be a little treasure, an artistic experience.”

Art History faculty member Lindsey Pedersen pointed out that students find the library to be a valuable and convenient resource for many class research projects. “For students in the Art from Renaissance to Modernism course, the Drachler library offers hard-to-find materials for their portraiture projects,” she said. “They are required to gather information on specific artists and paintings to create and present a report to their peers and also to inform the portraits they create at the end of the semester.”

Another course, Art from Prehistory through the Middle Ages, requires students to engage in a semester-long project researching a particular time and place to prepare a "Global Reporter" presentation.

Pedersen shared that a future proposal for a student honors project involves using travel guides in the Drachler Library to study the relationship between architecture and tourism throughout history.

Faculty also benefit from the library and its voluminous materials. “Our art and communication faculty keep copies of their textbooks and related materials in the library so students can study them and consult books regularly to enrich their teaching,” she added.

“We are developing a teaching collection of visual aids and materials to enhance learning in our art history classes. The teaching collection will be available in the Drachler Library of Art History for all faculty to check out and use in the classroom,” Pedersen noted. “Faculty appreciate that the library functions as a space for students to work with tutors, meet with instructors and collaborate on group assignments in the facility.”

Leyendecker notes that since the building in which the library is located houses communication and theatre departments in addition to art, it is often used for a variety of activities. “Students in other fields of study do homework, practice speeches, and meet with their peers for study sessions.”

Library walls showcase mini exhibitions, from student-led ideas to artwork revolving around important dates such as Hispanic Heritage Month, Black History Month and Women's History Month, among others. In the words of Dr. Drachler, “Art elevates us. It makes us feel like we’re immortal. It opens up the world.”

Leyendecker commented, “The space has taken on a life of its own, and is an important hub for learning and exchanging ideas. We will be forever thankful for Carole Drachler's donation and service to our department and our college.”

An event to celebrate the anniversary of the library’s opening is planned in the near future.

The library’s hours are 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Fridays. Learn more about the Dr. Carole Drachler Library of Art History on the college website, Mesacc.edu/departments/art.

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Media contact: Dawn Zimmer, dawn.zimmer@mesacc.edu, 480-461-7892

Mesa Community College is nationally recognized for university transfer, career and technical programs, civic engagement, service-learning and innovative approaches to education. Host to more than 24,400 students annually, MCC offers degree and certificate programs at its two campuses and additional locations. On average MCC students provide 23,000 hours of community service annually. For more than 50 years, the college has served as a resource for education, workforce development and lifelong learning. MCC is transforming student success through Guided Pathways with Integrated Support Services and a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. MCC is a Hispanic Serving Institution. Nearly 50% of MCC students are the first in their families to attend college. MCC has the largest indigenous student population of all the Maricopa Community Colleges. The American Indian Institute serves students from 22 federally recognized Arizona tribes and out-of-state tribes. Our diverse student body includes hundreds of international students from around the world. Award-winning faculty are dedicated to student success, providing the education and training that empowers MCC students to attain their goals. Located in the East Valley of Phoenix, Arizona, on the traditional territories of the O'odham, Piipaash and Yavapai Peoples, MCC is one of 10 colleges in the Maricopa County Community College District. Visit mesacc.edu to learn more.

MCC is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), hlcommission.org.

The Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) is an EEO/AA institution and an equal opportunity employer of protected veterans and individuals with disabilities. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, or national origin. A lack of English language skills will not be a barrier to admission and participation in the career and technical education programs of the District. MCCCD does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability or age in its programs or activities. For Title IX/504 concerns, call the following number to reach the appointed coordinator: (480) 731-8499. For additional information, as well as a listing of all coordinators within the Maricopa College system, visit maricopa.edu/non-discrimination.

Source Details

Publication Date: 
Wednesday, October 11, 2023