New Library Building Welcomes Scholars, Pastors, and the Community - Issue 1 (Fall 2013)
On May 13, 2013, the much anticipated new library at Princeton Theological Seminary opened its doors, and students, faculty, and visitors are enjoying the openness of study and social spaces in the new building.
The largest open public space, the South Gallery on the second floor has desks and soft seating options, and three small group meeting rooms. It affords a spectacular view across Mercer Street to the Seminary’s main campus, as well as window seating, perfect for reading and reflection.
The Korean Mission Room, dedicated to the longstanding relationship between the Seminary and Christians in Korea, is also available for study and reading. It features a portion of the Moffett Collection on Christianity in Korea. Samuel A. Moffett was one of the pioneer Christian missionaries to Korea. His son and daughter-in-law, Samuel H. and Eileen Moffett, spent most of their lives ministering in Korea before Sam came to PTS to teach missions and ecumenics.
The Reference Reading Room on the lower level, below an overlooking balcony, expansive windows, and refurbished light fixtures from Speer Library, is a popular study space. The light-filled Iain R. Torrance Atrium will be used for a variety of events, including lectures, receptions, concerts, and art exhibitions. On the first floor, the café is already a popular informal gathering spot for the PTS community, with windows looking out on Mercer Street, vending machines (including a self-service coffee machine), and café-style seating (including benches crafted from the trees lost during construction). The concourse on this floor offers ample soft and table seating, and new display cases for library exhibits.
The new building provides collaborative spaces to gather and share ideas and research, including small group meeting rooms and two multipurpose rooms. The Theron Assembly Room, named for Daniel J. Theron, a former Seminary professor and generous library donor, can be reserved for meetings, continuing education events, and public lectures.
Technology supporting research, teaching, and learning is evident throughout the building. Wall-mounted digital signage features library and campus events and interactive library maps. iPads provide access to the library’s catalog, and the Princeton Theological Seminary mobile app (iOS and Android) allows quick browsing of library resources on the go. Four seminar rooms, one on each floor at the west end of the atrium, feature document scanners, Smart Boards, audio and video (A/V) recording systems, and other tools. The Media Lab, equipped with a variety of PC and Mac workstations, regular and color printing, scanning, specialized software, and A/V equipment available for checkout to PTS students and faculty, is temporarily located on the second floor.
Other offices temporarily located in the new building include Special Collections (home to the Seminary’s archives and rare book holdings) and Digital Initiatives (the team behind the Theological Commons and the library’s other rich digital collections).
In an eco-friendly tribute to the past, some materials have been repurposed from Speer for use in the new library. In addition to the benches in the café and “disk style” lighting fixtures now in the Reference Reading Room, a number of tables throughout the new building have marble insets, recycled wall tiles from Speer Library.