Notes from the Road: A Slew of Late Summer Visits
October 10, 2016
Submitted by Gillian Harrison Cain, Director of Member Programs
What better way to initiate and educate our new Member Programs Librarian, Roger Morales, than to have him visit a slew of ATLA members with me for two weeks straight?
Week One: Colorado
The first week of August found Roger and I in Colorado, enjoying the warmth of the sun and the welcome at several member institutions, including Gateway Seminary – Rocky Mountain Campus, St. John Vianney Theological Seminary, Colorado Christian University, and Naropa University. Nadine Ginkel at Denver Seminary also graciously arranged for us to use one of the Carey S. Thomas Library’s meeting rooms on several occasions.
At the library of the Rocky Mountain Campus of the recently renamed Gateway Seminary (formerly Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary), Barbara Russo was on hand for a tour and a chat. She was in the midst of sorting through a 5,000 volume donation, a task we heard was on the plate of several folks during our travels. During our conversation, Barbara made a great suggestion to get Theological Libraries Month materials to members earlier (like August) so that libraries can prepare for TLM in October prior to the semester starting. While we weren’t able to get that done this year, we’ll certainly be planning to do so in 2017.
Stephen Sweeney at St. John Vianney Theological Seminary spent a morning showing us the Cardinal Stafford Library. He shared with us that they’ve reorganized their main space from rows of tables to just a few tables and more couches and chairs, making a welcoming spot for seminarians to hang out in the library. We admired the beautiful cases a local carpenter constructed for the Heritage Edition of The Saint John’s Bible that has recently been donated to the library and heard funny stories about the still functioning dumb-waiter.
At Colorado Christian University, we sat down to chat with several members of the Clifton L. Fowler Library. Library Director Gayle Gunderson had a list of questions and topics to discuss, including the consortial licensing program and the ATLA Reciprocal Borrowing Program. Shane Ratzell and Alfredo Pinto joined us to share insights in their areas, Outreach & Instruction and Collection Management respectively. We ended our visit by taking a look at the display of some of the “gems” discovered during their massive 30,000 volume weeding project.
We concluded our Colorado visits with a tour of the Naropa University campus including the Allen Ginsburg Library. With two additional branches in addition to the main branch, Nic Weiss and his small staff (6.5 FTE) are kept pretty busy. As expected, the library has a large collection of Buddhist materials, 75% of their religion collection in fact, and contains not just academic but practical materials. Their Special Collections includes a significant amount of audio and video as well as the books the Allen Ginsburg used to teach literature.
Week Two: Ohio
While in Columbus, OH for the IFLA RELINDIAL SIG Meeting (Religions: Libraries and Dialogue Special Interest Group), we took to the opportunity to visit with several member institutions including Trinity Lutheran Seminary, Methodist Theological School in Ohio, and Pontifical College Josephinum.
Newly arrived at Trinity Lutheran Seminary’s Hamma Library himself, Library Director Evan Boyd spent an afternoon showing us around, explaining the intricacies of library consortia relationships in Ohio, and discussing his efforts to update the library’s website and encourage more use of the library’s electronic resources.
While we didn’t get a chance to see the organic farm at Methodist Theological School in Ohio, we did drive past it on our way out of their beautiful campus. At the J.W. Dickhaut Library, Beth Bringman further helped us understand the Ohio library consortia landscape with her fabulous “egg” diagram and showed us the proposals they’ve developed to reorganize to create more collaborative space for students in the library. David Powell and Library Director Paul Burnham were also on hand to chat and shared with us about the outcomes from the work of a library task force that convened over the summer of 2016. One outcome is that this fall semester they’re moving away from one-shot bibliographic instructions and are inviting students to a one-on-one consultations/librarian meeting with a librarian (David or Paul) to discuss their research projects.
The last stop on our whirlwind tour was the A.T. Wehrle Memorial Library at the Pontifical College Josephinum. Beverly Lane spent some time explaining how she and Library Director Peter Veracka split responsibilities to support both the college and the seminary and the history of how the school came into being. Despite being in the midst of construction, she was still able to show us a good bit of the library, including some very warm, welcoming spaces for students to sit. They use the Lynn-Peterson Alternative Classification for Catholic Books, a classification scheme previously unknown to Roger.
We greatly appreciate the library staff of all these libraries for their time, their hospitality, and their willingness to share their ideas, observations, and experiences with us.
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