Creative Conversations

creative conversations poster 2014-01

Creative Conversations is the library’s new speaker series that highlights scholarly and creative work being done by members of SPU community. The intent of this program is to focus on the creative process and stimulate conversations about this process among students, scholars, and others at SPU.

This quarter, we are really excited to have Rob Wall, David Nienhuis, Suzanne Wolfe, Myrna Capp, and Don Yanik join us for the series.

Rob Wall and David Nienhuis will kick things off with A Bite-Sized Introduction to the Whole Bible, followed by Suzanne Wolfe, presenting from her new novel The Iron Ring. Myrna Capp will talk about her work with Namibian music, and Don Yanik will finish out the series this quarter with a discussion on scene design and the process that goes into creating the worlds of plays. Go to our Creative Conversations website for dates, times, and more information.

Last quarter, Fall 2013, saw the debut of Creative Conversations, and we were delighted to see it be a success. We were privileged to have Jeff Keuss, Ben McFarland, David Wicks, Andrew Lumpe, and SPU MFA alum Shannon Huffman Polson speak about their various works. We witnessed a clear shift of focus from the presenting of finished works to the sharing of ideas, processes, and choices that go into creating finished works. Ben McFarland, for example, discussed the collaboration of art and science and the inspiration that he finds in the world around him. David Wicks and Andrew Lumpe talked about creating bPortfolios (blog portfolios) to meet the evolving needs of students who must have up-to-date portfolios in a world of technological progress. Jeff Keuss shared his musings on how Stephen King draws more parallels with the gospel than one might think. Shannon Polson read from her highly acclaimed memoir North of Hope, and talked about the emerging genre of memoir as creative non-fiction, as well as her journey through grief after the loss of her parents.

Join us this quarter for another intriguing series brought to you by scholars in our community.

 

 

Library Staff Christmas Picks

imagesCA5EXDCRThe first advent candle has been lit, twinkle lights are starting to grace houses and trees, and temperatures are continuing to plummet. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. After our successful Halloween book round-up, we knew we had to follow up with the Library staff’s favorite Christmas volumes as well. Pick up something to read for your travels home, or where ever you may be going this holiday season.  These books and films will also be on display on the main floor of the Library for your festive reading (and viewing) pleasure.

Liz Gruchala-Gilbert:

It’s a Wonderful Life, directed by Frank Capra

Amahl and the Night Visitors, by Gian Carlo Menotti

Kaitlyn Straton:

The Legend of the Poinsettia, by Tomie DePaola

Maryann Shaw:

Nine Days to Christmas, by Marie Hall Ets

Christina Nofziger:

The Polar Express, by Chris Van Allsburg  fcl

The Father Christmas Letters, by JRR Tolkien

Carrie Fry:

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, by Barbara Robinson

The Oxford Book of Carols, edited by Percy Dearmer

The Legend of the Christmas Rose, by Ellin Greene

Michael Paulus:

For the Time Being: A Christmas Oratorio, by W.H. Auden

Johanna Staman:

The Tomten, by Astrid Lindgren

Stephanie Rubesh:

O Holy Night: Masterworks of Christmas Poetry, by Johann Moser

A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens

Other favorite books and movies including Love Actually, Elf, and Jingle All The Way, are available through Summit and ILL.

Merry Christmas!

0978039921692_500X500

Thanksgiving and the Quiet Study Zone

untitled

Call number: PS3566.R36 I84

It’s a little hard to believe, but the quarter is already winding down and the holidays are just around the corner – and for this we cheer! But we also understand that between now and snow-laced, jingle-belled Christmas joy are those little things called Finals. For this we have quiet zones and ear plugs.

The Seminar Room on the second floor of the Library will turn into a quiet study zone during finals week. It will be available all day on Saturday, December 7th and Sunday, the 8th and then after 6:00 p.m. on Monday, the 9th, and Tuesday the 10th. Feel free to settle in with a beverage or quiet snacks. We’re also distributing disposable ear plugs to block out extra sound – ask for a pair at the Circulation Desk, Reference Desk, or the Tech Desk. Need some extra study tips? Or help with research? Come on by, we are happy to answer any questions and help out in any way we can.

But first, Thanksgiving. We are closed on Thursday, November 28th and Friday, the 29th, and have reduced hours on Saturday the 30th from noon to 8:00 p.m.  We go back to normal hours on Sunday (10:00 a.m. to midnight).

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and safe holiday travels!

From the Director: The Library as a Place of Memory, Perception, and Expectation

In his Friends of the Library lecture last April, publisher Gregory Wolfe discussed how those who mediate or curate cultural works are stewards, critics, and provocateurs. These roles are oriented, respectively, toward the past, present, and future.

In last spring’s Friends of the Library Newsletter, I wrote about how the roles of a library are oriented similarly to the three dimensions of time (see “From the Director: The Past, Future, and Present of the Library”). Augustine famously described how the past, present, and future are present to us through memory, direct perception, and expectation. Libraries help preserve and present these experiences of temporality for individuals as well as cultures. As an archive, a library sustains memory by bringing historical collections forward in space and time. As a site of discovery, creation, and sharing, a library is a place of dynamic activity in the present. And through this activity, directed toward anticipated outcomes, a library is a space that opens to the future.

In his lecture, Greg also shared his personal motivations for becoming a publisher, which included a desire to create community through communication. Here, too, the work of the publisher is consonant with the work of a library: a library is created for and sustained by a community. All the things that constitute a library—collections, staff, services, spaces, and systems—function to mediate these resources to a community for its formation.

An early publication for the institution that became Seattle Pacific University boasts of its proximity to “city libraries and markets” (see Thirteenth Annual Catalogue of The Seattle Seminary, page 11). But when the founders drafted the institution’s bylaws, it was assumed that the school would have its own modest library (books on hygiene and foreign missions are mentioned as particular needs). Throughout the following century, the SPU Library grew to become an essential resource for developing the community of learners and scholars at SPU.

This year’s Annual Report documents the many ways collections, instruction, tools, spaces, and personnel make the SPU Library a place that sustains memory, perception, and expectation for the community at SPU and beyond (see “SPU Library Annual Report 2012-2013”).

Michael J. Paulus, Jr.

University Librarian and Associate Professor

Seattle Pacific University

This article originally appeared in the Autumn 2013 Friends of the Library Newsletter. If you would like to receive this biannual newsletter, send an email to Jo Krogh at kroghj@spu.edu.

Book Review: When We Were Orphans

When We Were Orphans, by Kazuo Ishiguro

When We Were Orphans

“The past may be set in stone, but our memories of it are not.” Novelist Kazuo Ishiguro is famous for writing stories that contain this truth. The shifting nature of memory certainly sits at the center of his feverish mystery novel “When We Were Orphans.”

Narrated by (the fictional) Christopher Banks, a famous detective in Britain between the two World Wars, as journal entries dated from 1930-1958. His parents mysterious disappearance when he was nine leaves Christopher was orphaned in Shanghai. His father was a businessman within the colonial opium industry, and his mother was a society crusader committed to ending that very industry.

Christopher leads us to believe that his parents’ disappearance resulted from their stand against powerful interests within the opium trade. But his accounts of his childhood reveal both self-doubt and over-confidence about the facts of his past. I began to mistrust his reliability as a narrator as more inconsistencies emerge. His active imagination and proclivity for creating elaborate detective roleplaying games as a child also help to create doubt in the mind of the reader.

After Christopher is sent to England to live under the guardianship of his Aunt, his games turn into the real ambition of becoming a detective. Upon graduating from Cambridge he steadily gains influence in London society, becomes part of a fashionable “set”, and solves many high profile cases. Nevertheless, he is haunted by a desire to uncover what happened to his parents. Part of Christopher remains lost in his childhood remembrances and fantasies, and he determines that he must return to Shanghai—he must scour the city as well as his own memories.

On his arrival, Shanghai is teetering on the edge of chaos and absurdity, and serves as an analog for Christopher’s confused state of mind in the latter half of the book. Ishiguro depicts the city as it was during July 1937, just as the Second Sino-Japanese war is breaking out in the streets. The very space of Christopher’s childhood trauma collapses around him as he aimlessly attempts to sleuth out clues. In vivid passages describing rubble-strewn streets, Christopher is a man wandering inside a constantly shifting labyrinth. And no detective work can be done when no leads can be followed.

“When We Were Orphans” is almost self-revelatory at times—I found myself wondering about the nature of my own past, while reading about Christopher trying to recreate his. Such thoughts are somewhat uncomfortable, but also provoking and satisfying. By the time I reached the end of this unconventional mystery novel, I felt as though I’d travelled far with Christopher and personally.

The call number for this book is PR6059.S5 W47 2001, and it lives on the third floor.

- Zach McNay, Access Services Specialist