Henry Pisciotta, Arts and Architecture Librarian, Retires After Decades of Service

Pisciotta leaves behind a legacy of innovation and collaboration at Penn State University Libraries

After 23 years of dedicated service at Penn State University Libraries, Henry Pisciotta, the esteemed arts and architecture librarian, will retire on January 5, 2024. With nearly 50 years of experience in arts libraries, Pisciotta has made significant contributions to various disciplines within the University, including architecture, art education, art history, graphic design, landscape architecture, photography, and visual arts. Throughout his tenure, he played a crucial role in modernizing library resources, facilitating research collaborations, and supporting the growth of the College of Arts and Architecture.

A Pioneer in Digitalization Efforts

Pisciotta’s impact on the College of Arts and Architecture was evident from the early stages of his career at Penn State. In 2000, shortly after his appointment, he secured a substantial grant of nearly $800,000 from the A.W. Mellon Foundation. This funding facilitated the transition from traditional slides to digital images in the college’s teaching and research materials. Pisciotta’s forward-thinking approach ensured that students and faculty could access a more versatile and comprehensive collection, keeping pace with technological advancements.

The Stuckeman School and Library Space

Pisciotta’s involvement in the design committee for the Stuckeman Family Building further exemplified his commitment to enhancing the learning environment for students. The Stuckeman School, which brought together the Departments of Architecture and Landscape Architecture under one roof in 2003-04, faced several challenges during its construction. Pisciotta’s unwavering dedication to providing a library space within the building, despite budget constraints, showcased his understanding of the importance of accessible resources for students and faculty.

Expanding the Graphic Design Program

As the Stuckeman School expanded to include the graphic design program, Pisciotta played a pivotal role in ensuring the availability of relevant resources. He orchestrated the transfer of selected graphic design publications from the main University Library to the Architecture and Landscape Architecture Library space in the Stuckeman Family Building. This strategic move created a “hot spot” for popular materials, making it easier for students to access essential references and stay updated with the latest trends in graphic design.

Collaboration and Research Support

Throughout his career, Pisciotta worked closely with faculty members to coordinate teaching materials and provide research support. One notable collaboration was with Ute Poerschke, a professor of architecture, on a multi-year project exploring the work of local architect A. William Hajjar. This research, supported by a Raymond A. Bowers Program grant, resulted in conference presentations, exhibits, and publications. Pisciotta’s expertise and passion for uncovering historical design principles made him an invaluable asset to the project and the broader research community.

A Legacy of Service and Leadership

In addition to his role as arts and architecture librarian, Pisciotta served on numerous task forces, committees, and advisory boards at Penn State. His contributions extended beyond the library, including involvement with the Palmer Museum of Art, the Department of Art History, and the Office of Physical Plant. Pisciotta’s dedication to collaboration and his commitment to enhancing the university’s academic and cultural landscape have left an indelible mark on the institution.


Henry Pisciotta’s retirement marks the end of an era at Penn State University Libraries. His innovative spirit, dedication to service, and commitment to supporting the arts and architecture community have laid a strong foundation for future librarians and researchers. As Pisciotta embarks on the next chapter of his life, he plans to continue pursuing passion projects while enjoying quality time with his wife, Erika Linke, who recently retired as the associate dean of libraries at Carnegie Mellon. Pisciotta’s legacy will endure through the countless students, faculty, and researchers who have benefited from his expertise and unwavering support.

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