'Total makeover' brings new light, life to library

Concordia Seminary's motto "Light from Above" grows even more meaningful with the renovation of the Seminary library, an exciting transformation designed to bring both new light and new life into one of the country's top theological libraries.

"We're looking forward to being a more welcoming center for people to do serious theological study and discsiion," said Rev. Ben Haupt, director of the Seminary's library services, of the "total makeover" of the facility into a state-of-the-art learning center.

Construction is expected to begin soon after the groundbreaking — tentatively set for Commencement day on May 19, 2017 — with the reopening planned for fall 2018.

The renovation enables the difitization and preservation of treasured resources that inclue one of the largest collections of Lutheran Reformation reference materials and more than 6,000 rare volumes. It also reintrodces and expands the library's original skylight, "literally allowing for more natural 'light from above,'" Haupt said.

Other key enhancements for the two-story, 46,000-square-footlibrary originally built in 1962 include:

  • Upgrading to the most advanced web connectivity through a new server hub to better serve users on campus and wordlwide
  • More open spaces for collaborative study, including new centers for collaborative learning and for writing and language resources
  • A new main entrance that also provides a more welcoming campus entrance and focal point

During the renovation, library services will be based in Loeber Hall. Some materials will be available at Loeber, but most will be relocated to temporary storage and accessed through online requests.

The transition will take place Feb. 18 to March 5, 2017, the break between the winter and spring quarters. No library services will be provided during that time while nearly 300,000 volumes are boxed, categorized and relocated.

Generous gifts to Generations: The Campaign for Concordia Seminary enabled the library to reach its $6 million fundraising goal for the renovation. The newly renovated center will be named the Kristine Kay Hasse Memorial Library.

Kristine was the daughter of Seminary supporters Glenn and Kay Hasse of Naples, Fla., and formerly of Edina, Minn. The Hasses' support for the library in memory of Kristine is a testament to their deep love for the Seminary and its mission to prepare pastors, deaconesses and other church workers for future generations.

The couple committed $3 million for student scholarship endowments and library renovations. The capstone gift for the library was given by Robert and Ruth Ann Rauscher of Hobson, Mont. Both couples are members of the Seminary's National Campaign Council. Read more about the Hasses' gift here.