Library transformation gets underway this spring

Library Campus Tour

From left, Glenn Hasse, Director of Campus Facilities Martin Hague, Seminary President Dr. Dale A. Meyer, Lisa Hoekstra, Director of Principal Gifts Michael Flynn, and Administrator of Public Services Dr. Beth Hoeltke take a tour of campus in October 2016. Photo: Jackie Parker

Concordia Seminary’s motto, “Light from Above,” grows even more meaningful as a $6 million renovation to the campus library gets underway this spring. The exciting transformation will bring both new light and new life into the learning center.

The first step in the transformation involves the move. In a two-week timeframe, almost 300,000 volumes located in the library will be boxed, categorized and relocated to a temporary storage facility, said Rev. Ben Haupt, the Seminary’s director of library services. The estimated value of the collection is $55 million and includes one of the largest collections of Lutheran Reformation reference materials and more than 6,000 rare volumes.

The current plan is to relocate the second-largest Lutheran library in North America to its temporary operations center in the lower level of Loeber Hall between Feb. 18 and March 6, the break between the winter and spring quarters.

At the October Board of Regents meeting, the Board authorized Seminary President Dr. Dale A. Meyer to sign contracts to begin renovation of the library. Through generous gifts to Generations: The Campaign for Concordia Seminary, the library will be revamped into a state-of-the-art learning facility and high-tech initiatives will be expanded across the campus, bolstering the Seminary’s position as a global leader in theological education and ensuring the ability to connect with pastors, teachers, students and lay members around the world.

With much gratitude, the library’s $6 million fundraising goal has been met, in large part because of Glenn and Kay Hasse, members of the Seminary’s National Campaign Council and long time supporters who have committed $3 million for student scholarship endowments and needed renovations to the library as part of the Generations Campaign.

Renovations to the existing library building are set to begin in June 2017 and is expected to take about a year to 18 months to complete. The library will be named the Kristine Kay Hasse Memorial Library. Kristine was a star high school golfer and “wonderful and mature girl” who treasured her Lutheran upbringing, said her mother, Kay Hasse.

In October, Glenn Hasse and his sister, Lisa Hoekstra, also donated a family Bible to the library that belonged to their grandparents, Matthias and Louisa Buehler, who lived on a farm in Cologne, Minn. It is a 1902 edition Bible, written in German.

“When the Bible was found, the meaning of it didn’t register fully,” said Lisa Hoekstra. “But it reflects the LCMS heritage, with it written all in German.” Once the renovation is complete, the Bible will be displayed on the main floor of the library. “Our mom’s parents would be speechless (to have the Bible on display),” Hoekstra said.

“This Bible is part of the history of our family,” Glenn Hasse said. “Just to know that it’s here is special.”

The Seminary’s two-story, 46,000-square foot library was constructed in 1962 and very little has changed, including the now-retro Danish modern furniture. The library’s collections include treasured original volumes from the Seminary’s founding fathers such as Dr. C.F.W. Walther, first editions of the Book of Concord and Lutheran composer J.S. Bach’s personal Bible.

Renovation plans call for more open space on the main floor, conducive to collaborative study, and specially designed areas geared toward Master of Divinity and deaconess students. The books on that floor will be those often found in a pastor’s study: commentaries, Luther’s Works and the latest theological periodicals.

“We want the main floor to feel as comforting and welcoming as walking into your pastor’s office,” Haupt said. “We want students to be able to talk about things that matter most to a person’s faith.” The area will include a coffee bar and conversation will be encouraged.

“There may be a little bit of noise, little interruptions, but that is what pastors’ offices are like,” Haupt said.

The second floor is being renovated primarily with graduate students in mind, including three classrooms and small, professional study spaces. The so-called “cages” now used by Ph.D. students in the library will be removed.

As for the basement, quiet will rule. About 90 percent of the library’s books will be housed there on movable shelves. A number of study areas also will be designed.

“The primary reason for this renovation is to create a compelling place for students to do theology,” Haupt said. “During the formation process, besides the classroom, the library’s the place.”

To learn more about the library transformation, visit

Endowmend Funds and Estate Gifts
Annual Support and Scholarships
Library and Learning Technology