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Gift enables first phase of new vision for JKM Library

Posted Mar 19, 2013

Mark and Kathy Helge have made a gift to the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago (LSTC) that will allow the renewal and renovation of two levels of the JKM Library. Since 2010, the library staff, reference and periodical collections, and study space have been temporarily located in the east wing of the LSTC building. Over the last two and half years, the JKM Library staff have been culling the collection and evaluating library use to get a more accurate assessment of the library’s space needs. Work on reuniting the staff with the collection will begin as early as next month. With the improvements made possible with the Helges’ gift, all library operations will be consolidated in the west wing of the building by August 2013.

“We are deeply grateful to Mark and Kathy Helge, whose generosity and vision will immediately and directly benefit every student at LSTC,” said LSTC President James Nieman. “The treasures of this library and the staff who curate it, benefit many more students and scholars beyond this seminary community, especially those at McCormick Theological Seminary, our partners in the JKM Library Trust.” Nieman expressed his gratitude to the JKM Library staff for their work over the last several years.

Christine Wenderoth, director of the JKM Library, notes that since 2010, technology for and expectations of libraries have changed dramatically. “This move is a first step towards a more integrated use of the library by faculty and students of both LSTC and McCormick as they revise their curricula. JKM Library will provide information literacy instruction that will make students good researchers – that is, able to find the resources they need, not only for their classes, but also for the congregations and communities they will serve.”

Mark Helge earned a master of divinity degree from LSTC in 1978. In 2011, the Helges made a two-year matching gift of up to $1 million for new, renewed and increased gifts to the LSTC Annual Fund. In May 2012, the Helges received LSTC’s Distinguished Service Award to recognize their commitment and service to the seminary.

About the JKM Library
The JKM Library serves the students, faculty and staff of the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago and McCormick Theological Seminary. The library’s collection is a merger of the libraries of the Jesuit School of Theology, which closed in 1981; the Krauss Library, the original name of the merged collection when LSTC moved to Hyde Park in 1967; and McCormick Theological Seminary, which joined the Jesuits and LSTC in the Hyde Park neighborhood in 1975. In 2004, in an agreement worked out with the Chicago Province of the Society of Jesus, the name Jesuit was dropped, and the name officially became the JKM Library.

The library’s more than 424,000 items and nearly 400 periodicals make it one of the finest theological collections in the United States. The most important resource of the JKM library is its staff: four professional, two paraprofessionals, and several dedicated student workers. JKM emphasizes the instructional role of libraries, providing classroom and workshop instruction as well as the more traditional one-on-one reference service.

The wide range of patron services provided by JKM includes online database searching, interlibrary loan, and research instruction. The library’s online catalog provides access to the collection and is available on the internet at



Mark Van Scharrel
Vice President for Advancement

Jan Boden
Director of Communications

The Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago (LSTC), a seminary of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, forms visionary leaders who bear witness to the good news of Jesus Christ. It provides high-quality seminary and graduate education for women and men in a community that is global, multicultural, ecumenical, interfaith, and urban. LSTC faculty provides resources for the whole church through their research, writing, and workshops and presentations around the world. Graduates serve in every type of ministry setting as they work to realize the gospel vision of peace and justice.

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