Comfortable Spaces and Curious Minds: An Invitation

My Alma Mater was books, a good library… I could spend the rest of my life reading, just satisfying my curiosity.
 (Malcolm X)

There are at least two things about this blog post that are unusual, if not unique:

  1. It involves furniture (rather than scholarship, research, resources, ideas, etc.)
  2. It concerns money.

Allow me to explain …

Every year the library earmarks a modest segment of its budget to “Improvements,” a general category, which is spent thoughtfully on making and keeping our library spaces as serviceable and as welcoming as possible.

In the past, these funds (amounting to about 1% of our overall budget) have been invested in improving network access, in adding more power outlets, in adding flat screen displays for marketing library services, and many other projects.

This past year we’ve decided that the time has come to address the aging and increasingly shopworn furniture in some of our library spaces.Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 3.02.46 PM

It is such a delight to see our students using the library as a place that is hospitable, welcoming, and so on. From my own office chair I enjoy watching how students make themselves at home and find their own version of “comfort” (there are many!) and get down to whatever work brought them into the library.

It’s important (isn’t it?) that what they sit on, and where they place their study resources, be comfortable, presentable, attractive, and so on.

And this year in particular Bethel’s Friends of the Library group (you can join here!) has taken up the challenge of trying to raise some supplementary money in order to move this important project forward.

As someone who knows and appreciates how much hospitality and excellent service matter to BUL, I’m inviting you to do what you can in donating to this worthy endeavor. What we’ve done already has made a difference; we’d like to do even more. And it’s simple to make whatever donation you are able to right here: (between now and July 15)

Thanks for your interest in BUL and how it serves this community. And thanks also for considering giving – every gift makes a difference.




You’ve Got This! Your Finals Week Survival Kit

Book Fort

Book forts are being built to keep exegesis writers in the zone, printers are tirelessly cranking out papers, and student workers are tackling the overflowing book returns. It is definitely that time of year when everyone on campus is cranking out assignments, projects, and more. I know it can be an extremely chaotic and stressful time for undergrads so that is why the library created the simple posters you can find around campus.

Finals Week Survival Kit

The Finals Week Survival Kit

The Finals Week Survival Kit is one poster, four departments, one mission.

We are here to make your lives easier!

The Library is providing extended hours, the Wellness Center has prizes and treats, Disability Services & Resources is providing cuteness overload with bunnies, miniature horses, and dogs, and finally the DC is keeping your tummies full of pizza and breakfast foods throughout the wee hours of the night.

We all believe in you and know you can do it!

You Got This

Here is the Finals Week Survival Kit Poster:


The Envelope, Please ….

I’m constantly amazed at BUL staff’s capacity to manage special projects as they come along, in addition to handling their day-to-day responsibilities. Every now and then, especially at this demanding time of the semester, it’s quite wonderful to be able to see real life examples of how our collective and concerted efforts – acquiring the best resources we can, making sure they are properly accessible whether in print or electronically, providing timely research assistance, etc. – make a difference; how it all “pays off” for a Bethel student.


One vivid instance is the annual Library Research Prize, generously sponsored by Bethel’s Friends of the University Library group. Very much like working at the reference desk, we never quite know what’s coming next, and every year we find ourselves deeply impressed (if not a little awestruck!) at both the number and the caliber of submissions we receive. We provide what we hope are clear and inviting guidelines, do what we can to get the word out via posters, etc., and then wait and see what is submitted, after which the entries are evaluated by our “panel of experts”. It is so intriguing to learn more about how students were drawn to their topic, what sort of guidance from faculty was most helpful, and what sort of research resources proved to be most beneficial.

Emma Beecken Hannah More Presentation

This year’s LRP recipient is Emma Beecken, a senior with a triple major in History, Elementary Education, and Social Studies Education, whose submission was based on her Senior Seminar paper, Hannah More’s Moral Imagination: Fiction that Reformed a Nation. More was a close friend and collaborator of William Wilberforce and other leading 19th Century British Evangelicals, as well as a bestselling author.

Watch her presentation in the library, Hannah More’s Moral Imagination: Fiction the Reformed a Nation in the Digital Library.

Congratulations to Emma! And we add our sincere thanks to all who make this event enriching and worthwhile to the Bethel community.