The View (from downstairs)

Here is the latest message from Ryan Ingersoll, Head of Library Technology at the SPU Library:

Did you know the Tech Desk is more than just a place to print your documents? Not only is our goal to provide collaborative space, but also relevant technology tools for students to use in the creation of digital projects. All library computers are loaded with an extensive suite of software. Whether you need to create a brochure or flyer in Adobe InDesign, create floor plans in AutoCAD, or analyze data in IBM SPSS the software you need is here. Additionally, the Tech Desk provides a range of tools for check out including iPod touches and Flip cameras for movie creationMacBook Pros for use within the library (perfect for a study room!), headphones, and audio recorders.

What if you don’t know how to make a movie or use Evernote, for example? Ask the Tech Desk! Our staff is trained to provide assistance with many of the technology tools we provide. If we don’t know the answer we will research it for you. As you finish up your projects for the year we encourage you to stop by to see how we can help you. If you need one-on-one assistance send us an email and we will schedule a time with you. Visit our website to learn more about what we have to offer. Our knowledge base provides helpful tutorials and showcases the different tools we check out.

Q & A with new Librarian, Kristen Hoffman!

Kristen Hoffman joins the SPU Library staff as our new Psychology and Scholarly Communications Librarian. Learn a little bit about her below in our Q & A interview:

Tell us a little bit about your career background?

I started my library career in the SPU library as an undergraduate student worker in 2000.  I knew I wanted to be a librarian one day, so I was so thrilled to work as a student at the circulation desk.  Once I graduated, I eventually found a public library job to gain a different library perspective.  I went on to work in five public libraries over the course of several years.  Most recently I’ve been at Biola University, where I was a Reference and Instruction Librarian.

What are some of the things you’re responsible for as the Psychology and Scholarly Communications Librarian?

I work with the School of Psychology, Family and Community to purchase or subscribe to library resources, teach information literacy sessions, and assist students with research.  I am also responsible for the new library role of scholarly communications – issues related to how SPU’s scholarly information is created, disseminated, evaluated, archived, and accessed.

Any new book recommendations?

The digital scholar: how technology is transforming scholarly practice. This is a book I’m reading related to scholarly communications and is a helpful resource on digital scholarship and open education issues.

Welcome to the team, Kristen!

A History of the Library at Seattle Pacific University

Seattle Pacific University was founded in 1891 as Seattle Seminary, a school for educating young people in a Christian setting. Elementary and high school classes were the focus of the early years of the Seminary. During this time, there was only one building on campus: the Red Brick Building, now known as Alexander Hall. All parts of the school, including the library, such as it was at that time, were housed in Alexander Hall. The records from these early years are incomplete, and little is known about the location or size of the library in these first few years.

The first official campus library was located in the Administration Building, now known as Peterson Hall. Peterson Hall was constructed in 1904, and housed a chapel, offices, classrooms and labs along with the library. In 1914, as the institution began the change from Seattle Seminary (a high school and college preparatory school) to Seattle Pacific College (a four-year liberal arts college), it became apparent that a new and larger library would be needed. Registrar and Professor of History Omar A. Burns led the initiative to build a library collection for the small college. Burns solicited donations of books from pastors throughout Washington and Oregon, adding useful books to the collection and selling the books that were not helpful and using the proceeds to purchase needed volumes. Burns was so successful in this that new shelving had to be purchased in 1916 to house the collection he had built.

1It was estimated that Burns gave somewhere in the vicinity of $3,000 dollars’ worth of money and materials to the library. Upon Burns’ death in 1930, the Board of Trustees voted to name the library for him.


Seattle Pacific College catalogs from the period describe the Burns Library as containing more than 15,000 books and over 180 periodicals, all of which were catalogued using the Dewey Decimal system. The catalogs boasted that “many new books are added to the library each year” a fact proved by the regular notices of new additions to the collection in the student newspaper The Falcon. For the next two decades, the Burns Library served the SPC campus. However, by the late 1950s, the student body was outgrowing the Burns Library.3

The early 1960s saw the completion of many new and needed buildings on the Seattle Pacific campus. One of these needed structures was a new library. Weter Memorial Library was completed in 1963 after a substantial fundraising drive. The building was named for James P. Weter, father of longtime Seattle Pacific Professor of Classical Languages, Dr. Winifred Weter. The elder Weter was a Seattle lawyer whose large financial gift launched the process of constructing a new and badly-needed library for the College.4

Weter Library was a huge improvement on the Burns Library, with three floors worth of materials, study rooms, and lounge areas with comfortable furniture. A typing room, microfilm equipment and individual study carrels were also strongly advertised features of the new space.5


The building also featured a mosaic made of pre-cast concrete over its entrance. Spokane artist Harold Blacs made the sculpture, which depicts the development of writing and the various forms of alphabets used throughout history.7

Weter Library (now called Weter Hall) still stands in the middle of campus, across from the current library building.

The current library building – known as the Second Century Library during its development and construction – was completed and opened in 1994. A handsome brick 4-story structure, the current library has seen many changes in the academic library world. When the collection was moved from Weter Library to the current library its call numbers were changed from the Dewey system to the preferred academic system: the system used by the Library of Congress. The books and periodicals used in the Burns Library and the microfilmed articles used in the Weter Library have been joined by e-books, digital journals and wireless Internet connections. Like its predecessors, the current Library is widely used as a study space and for student and faculty research, where scholars can discover, create and share.


Adrienne Meier, Social Sciences Librarian and University Archivist

Collection Development 101

Ever wonder why the SPU Library does not have that expensive textbook that you need or the latest John Grisham novel, but you do find books with dull brown covers, unexciting titles, and maybe even a speck of dust? Well, the content of those books may not be quite as unappealing as they seem, so what follows is a little Collection Development 101.

The mission of the SPU Library is to support the teaching, learning and research goals of the University. We do this by collecting materials – books, journals, electronic resources, DVDs, CDs, and even a puppet or two! – that support courses in the undergraduate and graduate curriculum, materials expected in a library of a university of our size, and materials that reflect SPU’s mission, history, and signature statements.

The primary responsibility for this work lies with the subject liaison librarians, and they use a variety of resources to help them in this endeavor. The liaisons receive recommendations from faculty (and others), they consult the professional literature for resource reviews, and they also use special library tools that provide guidance.

Besides deciding what to add to the collection, the liaisons must also decide the best format to acquire. For example, CDs are procured for the music department and the aforementioned puppets for the education department. Lately, the library has also been collecting more and more eBooks.

Collection Development is not just about selecting new materials though. The library often receives book donations, and the liaisons must decide how to best handle these items. It also stands to reason that if new items are continually being added to the collection, other items may be deselected, or “weeded” as we like to say using library lingo. Weeded items are materials that no longer meet the library’s mission. (One indication may be that speck of dust noted earlier.) These items are handled in a variety of ways, but one place you may find them is on the Book Sale cart on the main level.

Still wondering why the library does not have that expensive textbook? The reason is that one criterion we use when making collection development decisions is to purchase items with lasting value and because many textbooks are continually being updated they do not meet this criterion. And although we may not have that John Grisham novel either, should you need a break from your studies, please do check out the Popular Fiction Collection on the library’s main level. And in the meantime, enjoy our collection!

-Becky Paulson, Acquisitions Librarian


“Library Perspective,” by Gary R. Fick; Professor of Natural Sciences; Sciences & Psychology Librarian

I’ve worked in libraries for almost half a century, including SPU’s library for over the last 38. In about two months I’m going to retire. I’ve worked part-time first as a page in a city public library system shelving books and checking out materials for patrons, then as a guard at the same small urban branch, and finally at a large university library reference desk helping students locate books and journal articles to find the right information for their assignments.

With a newly-minted Master’s degree in librarianship, I was hired full-time as the science specialist for Seattle Pacific College way back in 1974 when bell-bottom pants and paisley shirts for guys with long hair and side-burns were all the rage.  I’ve worked at Seattle Pacific ever since, including a decade in library administration, first as an associate director and then as the University Librarian who helped design and build the present brick building we now call our campus library.

So, as old-timers like me tend to say, I’ve seen it all. Over the past 48 years I’ve watched and experienced the ways we’ve changed going about collecting and storing data. At first card catalogs, vertical files, flat files, hanging files, print periodical indexes and the Dewey Decimal System were used to organize and locate books, encyclopedias, newspapers, magazines, journals, micro-cards, microfiche, microfilm, filmstrips, 16mm films, 8mm film loops, LP records, and audiocassettes back in the 70s for Seattle Pacific. Then came online computerized library cataloging systems, dial-up DIALOG subject databases, desk-top computers, email, the world wide web, CD-ROM databases, videocassettes and CDs. Finally, DVDs replaced videocassettes, the Library of Congress replaced the Dewey Decimal System, and many forms of storing data have morphed into internet databases with e-books, full-text, PDF, and HTML documents, all facilitated via laptops and iPads. Instead of access just to our collection, we now belong to a consortium of academic libraries that shares collections, and together we offer a demand driven acquisitions program that provides specific e-books when patrons want them.

That’s what you see when you walk into the library or go online these days, but what I’ll miss most when I retire are the many ways I’ve had a chance to help people both find the information they need and teach them how to find it in better ways. While at SPU I’ve worked with most segments of the community, but for the past 17 years I’ve focused on serving both students and faculty as a liaison librarian. I’ve found helping people learn to be very rewarding.

For me these professional interactions have been enhanced through a time-worn truism. Walking a mile in the other’s shoes by also being a classroom teacher in Biology, a library administrator, a chair of faculty governance, and even a student in an introductory Spanish language class has allowed me to experience SPU from varied perspectives. And, in so doing, has helped make me a better librarian.