By Denton Josey, Page Editor
The Gaines B. Stanley Sr. Theological Reading Room in the Stevens Wing of the library is a new area dedicated to Biblical studies.
In spring 2005, plans for the addition began. Dr. Mark Tucker, dean of Library and Information Services, said an interest in a theological reading room had existed for quite awhile.
“This concern goes to the heart of institutional identity, serving most directly the 3,000 undergraduates who study Bible each year, plus about half our graduate students,” Tucker said.
The $730,000 gift that made the room possible was donated by Gaines Stanley Jr. in honor of the life his father. A 1950 graduate of ACU, Gaines B. Stanley preached in a number of churches in Texas, Colorado and California. He currently teaches at the Southern California School of Evangelism.
Laura Baker, government document librarian and interim Learning Commons coordinator, said, “It was a very generous gift and it’s all because they want to honor their father. It’s just been a real blessing for us here.”
“The honoree is a beautiful, gracious, amazing, humble servant of God. It has been one of life’s greatest joys for me to get to know Gaines B. Stanley Sr., his wife Jean and their family,” Dr. Tucker said in an e-mail. “He and his wife are visionary leaders of a vibrant, outreach-focused, multi-racial church in Anaheim, Calif.”
During the summer the library staff moved the theological books to the new reading room. Though this may be a change for returning students, the consolidation is seen by library staff as an improvement.
“The books will be in a different location, but that won’t be a large learning curve,” Baker said. “Basically, if you are looking for anything related to the Bible you’ll go to the theology wing.”
Though the addition will impact a large number of students on campus, the Bible department is particularly affected by the change. Dr. Tucker said he hopes students are able to make a visual connection between the College of Biblical Studies and the Stanley Reading Room. He said it is designed to serve all students, faculty, staff and alumni.
“The Bible faculty has been helping with the plans since the beginning,” Baker said. “They are excited about it.”
Scott McBryde, graduate student in the Department of Marriage and Family Therapy from Allen, said he sees many benefits from the new wing. “I think it’s going to help the Bible department give its students their space to study,” McBryde said. “It will help students find what they need quicker.”
Dr. Tucker said the library wants the Stanley Reading Room to be as hospitable as the Learning Commons. “The environment and focus will be different, but our devotion to students should be equally apparent.”