The Ames Library

FOL Newsletter Autumn 2014From the Friends of the Library Newsletter

The Seattle Pacific University Library building was rededicated on November 20 and given a new name — the Ames Library, named after Gary and Barbara Ames. At the ceremony President Dan Martin and Board Vice Chair Doug Backous thanked the Ameses for all they have given to Seattle Pacific.

University Librarian Michael Paulus spoke of the history and value of the Library, which has evolved dynamically over the past 123 years, and University Chaplain Bo Lim prayed that the Ames Library would be a place of access to information as well as transformation.

In the digital age a library is much more than a building, but a library building remains an important part and manifestation of what a library is for. Like a Gothic cathedral, a library building tells a story of the world that was, that is, and that is to come. Every day, students, faculty, and others actively use the Ames Library — and the information resources, technological resources, and human resources accessible through it — to interact with that story by discovering, creating, and sharing knowledge.

It is great honor to have our Library building named after Gary and Barbara Ames, who have done so much to advance the mission of Seattle Pacific and increase access to an SPU education, especially for high school graduates from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds.


GS2950: Digital Wisdom for Work


Led by University Librarian, Michael J. Paulus, Jr., and Head of Library Technology Ryan Ingersoll, this 1-credit class will help students assess and enhance their digital readiness for work. In addition to focusing on digital literacy and technological skills for professional development, this class will provide an opportunity for students to reflect on the relationship between vocation, technology, and career preparation. The course will also aim to help students define and develop “digital wisdom”, focusing on concepts that include digital identity, the integration of digital technologies, seeking information, and the ethics and values of creation, community, and citizenship in the context of technology.

2014 Friends of the Library Event: “The Archive of Seattle Pacific University: A Panel Exploring the Origins of SPU in Time and Place”

FOL Archives PanelOn Tuesday, March 11, 2014, 7:30-9 p.m. in Upper Gwinn Commons a panel of historians and archivists will explore the origins of Seattle Pacific University through the history of Seattle, the Pacific Northwest, and educational institutions in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

When the school that became Seattle Pacific University, Seattle Seminary, was founded in 1891, Seattle had recently emerged as the largest city in the new state of Washington and there was broad interest in establishing schools to prepare for the region’s future.

Inspired by a passion for mission and place, the seminary’s founders proclaimed their belief in “teaching for the future” and their ambition to provide a place where students would acquire a thorough “education for character.” In 1930, the school’s leaders wrote that they had witnessed the transformation of both their “great city,” “from a village in a deep and lonely forest … to the great metropolis of the Pacific Northwest,” and their “small denominational Academy located on a barren hillside into a leading liberal arts College, on a beautiful tree-covered campus.”

Each panelist will focus on a different facet of the content and nature of the historical record that enables exploration of these transformations and better understanding of the SPU that exists today.

The event is free and open to the public.

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

New Library Discovery System for 2014

Dear Members of the SPU Community,

Beginning January 1, 2014, we will have a new search tool for finding materials in the SPU Library and Summit libraries. Our library is one of the 37 Summit libraries transitioning to this shared system, which will enhance the discovery and sharing of resources within the Orbis Cascade Alliance.

The new interface is similar to our current SPU WorldCat system and other search tools you may have used before: you search for books, articles, and more using a single search box and then select from various options to filter your results.

Here are some key changes to be aware of once the new system is live:

  • The “Classic Catalog” and SPU WorldCat will be replaced by the new system after December 31. Learn more here.
  • Signing in with your SPU username and password will maximize your search experience. Learn more here.
  • You will see new “Get It” and “View It” tabs under each title to help you access and request items. Learn more here.
  • Journals A-Z will become eJournals A-Z. Learn more here.

Additional information and guidance is available here.

If you have questions or feedback, please speak with the liaison librarian for your area or any member of the library staff.

Michael J. Paulus, Jr.