This summer, the JKM Library will enter phase one of a three-phase modernization plan. The plan, approved by the JKM Board of Trustees and the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago Board of Directors Executive Committee, calls for the temporary relocation of library offices, periodical and reference room, computer terminals, circulation desk and study space to the third floor of LSTC’s east wing.
Patrons will continue to have access to all of JKM Library’s resources, but the stacks will be closed except for limited hours each week. Books and other library resources will be available by request through the online catalog. JKM staff will make two retrieval runs to the stacks each day to fulfill requests.
In a joint letter to their seminaries, LSTC President James Kenneth Echols and McCormick Theological Seminary President Cynthia M. Campbell, outlined the three-phase plan which responds to needs identified by the seminaries’ two accrediting agencies in 1997 and 2007.
“LSTC and MTS expended a considerable amount of time, energy and financial resources on a major campus modernization plan that would have fully renovated the JKM Library. However, these plans had to be abandoned when the economic recession affected both institutions,” the letter stated.
“The JKM Library, shared with McCormick Theological Seminary, is one of the largest and finest theological libraries in North America,” said the Rev. Dr. Christine Wenderoth, director of the JKM Library.
“We recognize that it is housed in a building that is now too small for the collection and which needs more study space and better lighting. Renovation will redesign and refurnish the library, creating interactive group study spaces where people and materials mix easily together, where the size of the collection doesn’t overwhelm the space, making its treasures are more accessible to students and scholars alike.”
Phase two of the new plan involves analyzing the composition and location of the collection and the way patrons need and use the resources of the library. The collection will be weeded and all volumes will be entered into the electronic catalog. A design for a modernized JKM Library, in an appropriate location on campus will be developed.
Construction of the new JKM Library will take place during phase three of the plan. It will realize the vision of a library that provides both better access to the collection and inviting study spaces to aid students and scholars in their work.
“While access to the JKM Library will be different for a time, its rich resources will remain available and integral to the mission of teaching, learning and scholarship. The collection will continue to be developed and enriched through the acquisition of new publications and other materials,” the presidents’ letter stated.
The JKM Library exists primarily to support the missions and programs of the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago and McCormick Theological Seminary. As the library staff responds to the changing nature of the dissemination of knowledge, their mission is to collaborate with faculty, students and staff as integral partners in the teaching, learning and research environments, and to provide access to and interpretation of relevant resources.
Secondarily, the library serves as a resource for the Church and the larger academic community, particularly the University of Chicago and the Association of Chicago Theological Schools.
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The Lutheran School of Theology (LSTC) is dedicated to bearing witness to the good news of Jesus Christ. Based in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood, it is the leading urban Lutheran seminary training students for purposeful vocations in the global community. Aligned with its Lutheran heritage and built on a foundation of intellectual rigor, LSTC’s innovative, nationally recognized curriculum gives students skills for visionary Christian leadership in the public sphere.