Friday, August 20, 2010

Welcome, New Students!

The library joins the seminary in welcoming all new students in the Theo School and the GDR! The new academic year always brings together two different trajectories, a circular one and a linear one. Students are on a linear track, towards the goal of a degree, while staff, faculty and administrators are on a circular track that returns to its beginning each Fall. It's a good combination, because a (tiny) circle and a straight line together make an exclamation point, a feeling of excitement!, as this lovely little book shows.

Those of us who work for educational institutions hope we have something helpful to share: a body of knowledge, a way of thinking, a useful service, an attentive ear. But a fact in which we needn't hope, because the reality of it is sure, is that each fall the new and returning students restore hope in our work. You are the other half that makes us whole, and we like to think the reverse is also true, at least for now, while you are here, and to some extent.

Keats called Fall the "Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness." Mists are a paradoxical thing. They can be agents of deliverance, as they were in the Trojan War, according to Homer, when, sent by a god, they protected a hapless mortal from harm (see question 4 on this quiz). But they can also work towards concealing something we would rather see. A dialectic of concealment and revelation informs some aspects of learning, especially where questions of deep identity are concerned. Our hope is that from this delicate dialectic a "mellow fruitfulness" will emerge in our conversations, our studies, and perhaps even our research in the library. The library staff is available to help in whatever ways we can.

As a start, we commend to your bookmark list this page from the library website, which links to several services we offer.

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