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!

Book Review Tuesday

Eighty Days: Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland’s History-Making Race Around the World by Matthew Goodman


Jules Verne’s famous book Around the World in Eighty Days is the story of Englishman Phileas Fogg who bets his friends that he can circumnavigate the world in 80 days. First published in 1873, the novel was a great success and is still in print today. Several years after the publication of Verne’s novel, Nellie Bly, famous reporter for the New York World newspaper, set out to beat the fictitious Fogg’s 80 day timetable for travelling completely around the world. She left Hoboken, New Jersey in a steamship sailing east on November 14, 1899.

On that same day, another New York reporter, Elizabeth Bisland of Cosmopolitan magazine left New York travelling west across the United States by train. Bisland’s goal was to beat Fogg and Bly around the world. Would either woman be able to beat Verne’s fictitious hero? And which reporter would make it back to New York first?

In Matthew Goodman’s fascinating history Eighty Days, the tale of this extraordinary race is told, alternating between Bly and Bisland as they made their way around the world via train and steamship. The story of Nellie Bly was told in hundreds of newspapers around the United States, but Elizabeth Bisland did not get nearly the same amount of coverage. Goodman rectifies this by giving short biographical sketches of each woman, telling of their lives before and after the race, and often quoting from their own books about their travels, which lets both women’s voices come through.

It was an interesting time for travelling, as the completion of the Suez Canal and Transcontinental Railroad and the prominence of steamships and passenger trains made a journey around the world much shorter than it had previously been. Both Bly and Bisland dealt with storms, mechanical mishaps, late-arriving ships, strange food, unpleasant fellow travelers, dramatic changes in weather and temperature, and long periods of boredom punctuated by frantic rushes to catch the next train or ship.  Both women were pioneers in another sense too: in this period, a woman travelling by herself was almost unheard of, and for two women to travel alone in such a great hurry was completely new.

Goodman’s book is an excellent read, and whether you’re traveling via airplane, train, car or just in your favorite chair at home, you’re sure to learn something interesting in this excellent history of travel and of two fascinating and brave women who did what was considered impossible.

The library call number for this book is G440.B67136 G66 2013.

-Adrienne Meier, Social Sciences Librarian and University Archivist

Thursday Food For Thought


Spring Quarter’s Thursday Food for Thought lineup is three weeks in, with topics ranging from theater, to journalism, to young adult dystopian. Here is a list of our recent speakers, with links to the featured or associated books discussed:

If you haven’t yet made it out to the library’s Thursday Food for Thought program this quarter, join us next week May 2nd, for Rick Steele’s new book project, Ambassadors in Chains: Teaching Christian Prison Literature in a State Prison. Our final session will conclude on May 9th, with Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott reading from The Good Fight: how Conflict Can Bring You Closer. We look forward to seeing you there!   

Book Review Tuesday: Special Collections Exhibit

Reality:  an illustrated monthly magazine of spiritual, scriptural and experimental truth speaking of the presence and acts of the Holy Spirit in the world. Ed. Eld. W. Kellaway. Los Angeles, CA:  Reality Publishing Company, 120 North Spring Street, 1897-[1901].

Reality was a short-lived inter-denominational effort in service of the Holiness Movement up and down the West Coast and beyond at the turn of the last century. Edited by Eld. W. Kellaway, the son of a W. T. A. Kellaway of London, it enlisted columns from a range of contributors, including Miss Beryl B. Bishop (later the Rev. Beryl Boswell Bishop Collett?), the “Evangelist and Missionary of the Free Methodist Church” who served as its “Northern California Agent”, and seems likely to have been a daughter of the W. D. Bishop mentioned often in the Minutes of the Annual Conferences of the Free Methodist Church for California (not Southern California) throughout this period. References to events associated with other churches, just for example the Church of the Nazarene, abound. Vols. 2-4 of Reality came to Seattle Pacific via the Seattle Bible Training School of the Philadelphia Church and, before that, Wm. C. Stevens, himself a frequent contributor, and “superintendent of the Christian Alliance [later Christian Missionary Alliance] work on the Pacific Coast”. They appear to constitute the only extant run of the publication in WorldCat apart from that at the Huntington Library in San Marino, CA, which, unlike Seattle Pacific, owns also vol. 1.

Reality can be located in the Emmanuel Room with library call number BT767 .R43 v.2 – 4 (1898-1901).

– Steve Perisho,Theology and Philosophy Librarian

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