GTS Celebrates the opening of the Christoph Keller, Jr. Libraryby V.K. McCarty Acquisitions Librarian, Christoph Keller, Jr. Library
One of the welcome changes GTS students and faculty came back from the summer to find was the new Christoph Keller, Jr. Library open and offering patrons a wide range of access to information, as well as helpful library staff and an appealing place to study. As each person visits the new library for the first time, it has been encouraging to see how the beautiful design is visibly uplifting to the community. The reading room, with its custom cherry woodwork, graceful glass staircase, and sweeping views across the Seminary Close, reflects the excellent architectural work of Beyer Blinder Belle, the firm which designed the Rubin Museum and the interior restoration of the Morgan Library.
The Keller Library features several upgraded technology initiatives. These include: a redesigned website for the online catalog, networked printers with scanning capability, a new microform reader/scanner, and the installation of state-of the-art interactive Promethean whiteboards in the group study rooms. The opening of the library also brings renewed access to the treasures of the GTS Library Collections which have been returned from storage, including its historic Bibles and Prayer Books.
As part of the Library’s continuing efforts to support academic study throughout the term, from reserve materials to bibliographic resources for class assignment research, Reference Librarian Mary Robison has made a point of meeting with nearly every class offered this term to welcome all our students to the services of the Keller Library. “I could tell that my talks were having an effect,” she said, “when students started asking me questions at lunchtime and wanted to meet with me about their research. I was thrilled!” This kind of assistance may be a unique offering in the academic community. Prof. Clair McPherson, a new member of the GTS faculty, says he's grateful for the collaborative environment fostered by librarians willing to help here at GTS. “You don’t get that kind of personal invitation at other universities on the part of the staff to come and use the library services. I’ve never seen anyone doing that before.”
The new library is named in honor of the life and ministry of the Rt. Rev. Christoph Keller, Jr., who served as the 10th Bishop of the Diocese of Arkansas from 1970 to 1981. His son, the Rev. Canon Christoph Keller, III, a recent Th.D. graduate of GTS, describes his father as “a thoughtful and caring human being, not outspoken but courageous in his convictions.” The Keller Library held its well-attended Dedication Service on October 14, 2011; the Rt. Rev. Mark Sisk, Bishop of New York and Chairman of the Board of Trustees, presided along with the Rt. Rev. Peter James Lee, Dean.
“This is not just a change in name,” explains Library Director, the Rev. Andrew Kadel, “but a sign of the transformation of the library both in its physical aspects and in its ability to deliver theological information in the 21st century.” The opening of the new Keller Library brings exciting changes to the Seminary as it strives to make a valuable contribution to the future of theological education. And it reflects dynamically what Drew Kadel calls the Library’s “continuing dedication to the seminary community as a center for scholarship and fellowship.”