"Libraries are PLACES for learning," writes the Rev. Andrew G. Kadel, Director of the Christoph Keller, Jr. Library, in a new article on the library's planning, design and completion for a special forum on library construction in the current edition of Theological Librarianship, a journal of the American Theological Library Association. The forum examines how the services, holdings and physical spaces of theological libraries vary according to place, time and culture and how they are changing in the twenty-first century. Kadel's article describes the years of effort leading to the new library's dedication this academic year, including many decisions about how to house the library's collection given a new, smaller space and how to access new technologies and online resources. A major commitment during the project, Kadel notes, was for the library to be a gathering place. "The planners all agreed that the library should be a place for people to be," he writes, "not simply a place to a place to access information, check out books, or have books stored."The library's Main Reading Room, for example, features study tables, computer workstations, soft-seating chairs, and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Close and the Chapel of the Good Shepherd.
"In the evening, the stained glass windows glow invitingly, making a subtle contrast with the simple, modern, but rich wood fixtures in the library," Kadel observes, "reminding students, faculty, and visitors that this is a library housing rare theological works as well as modern resources to prepare leaders for today's Church."