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Director Andrew Scrimgeour: Ready to Write a New Chapter at Drew University Library

Overlooking the Rose Window at the Library entrance, Director Andrew Scrimgeour sees the possibilities for what he likes to call "a great good place" at the center of campus life.
Photo: S. Kusnetz

Dr. Andrew D. Scrimgeour arrived on campus in August from Regis University to take on the position of University Library Director. After twenty years in the Denver area, he felt he was coming home to the northeast he loves. Raised on the West Coast, as a student he came east to Nyack College, and then to Princeton Seminary for M.Div and M.Th. degrees. After attaining an MLS at Rutgers, he became Director of the Library Development Program at Harvard for the Boston Theological Institute, which entailed administering and coordinating cooperative library programs for eight theological school libraries.

In 1980, Scrimgeour moved to Denver to become the Library Director at Iliff School of Theology, a job that enabled him to shape his own staff and program. Moving on to Regis University, he served as the Library Director and then Dean of Libraries. For two years he also held the position of Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, producing the university's self-study report for regional accreditation.

Among Scrimgeour's major achievements are the renovation and expansion of the main library at Regis, for which he enjoyed the fundraising process, and the development of a strategic plan which revitalized the libraries and established their role at the heart of the university.

Scrimgeour's academic qualifications include a 1999 Ph.D. from Drexel University. His dissertation, "Mapping the Intellectual Geography of Biblical Studies: a Cocitation Study in the Humanities," was a project that wedded his two loves of religious studies and information science, and is indicative of his scholarship over the years. In addition to regional library activities, he has been an active member of the American Academy of Religion and the Society of Biblical Literature, establishing and maintaining the archives of both organizations.

Place of Destiny

Scrimgeour articulates three themes for a library in a liberal arts university. (See the "Director's Page"in this issue.)

First, the library is a teaching institution. Knowledge and learning are a student's birthright. The library must meet the challenge of teaching research skills and perspectives--a challenge made more difficult in a technology-driven information age.

Second, a library is a dynamic continuum of resources, digital and print, that varies over time and across disciplines. Technology increasingly drives the program but also creates opportunities.

Third, the library is a "great good place," a phrase he takes from sociologist Ray Oldenburg. Drew, he thinks, should address the needs of library users, but in so doing restore some of the fine spaces within the building. The graciousness and comfort of the library should make the building a "place of destiny" for students and visitors.

Why Drew? Scrimgeour sees the University as unambiguously dedicated to the liberal arts, offering a distinct blend of undergraduate and humanities-focused graduate programs. He also reflects on the high calibre of Drew as an institution, an impression formed in his undergraduate days, when he read Drew scholar Will Herberg's classic Protestant, Catholic, Jew for a sociology class. Later, at Princeton, he experienced some of Drew's international stature in theology by studying with two major scholars who had been on the Drew faculty, Bernhard Anderson in Old Testament, and Karlfried Froehlich in patristics. Above all, the Library is at the right juncture for Scrimgeour, who feels his qualifications and experience match the necessary tasks and can enhance the hopes of the library faculty and staff to provide the best possible library services. He is eager to help Drew University Library write its next chapter.

Soon after the New Year, Scrimgeour will be joined by his wife, Dorothy, a medical social worker, and their 16-year-old daughter, Meghan. The Scrimgeours' son, coincidentally named "Drew," is a freshman at Skidmore. While accepted for admission to Drew University, he opted for Saratoga Springs when it became clear his dad was on his way to Madison. Clearly already at home in the Library and settling into life on campus, Scrimgeour welcomes the household move, as the University has welcomed him to its midst.

--Lessie Culmer-Nier
Team Leader: Acquisitions and Bibliographic Control

New Resources for Science Research

Each of the Library's new, Internet accessible, electronic resources in the sciences features a search engine that enables users to request a list of references on a scientific subject or by a particular author. The broad-based General Science Abstracts and the subject-specific BasicBIOSIS, for searching the biological sciences, provide abstracts or summaries of the more recent articles resulting from your search. Web of Science Citation Index also allows you to see which sources cite a particular article, offering yet another approach to the relevant literature.

Science Direct and IDEAL, from the publishers Elsevier and Academic Press, allow you to conduct a search and then link electronically to the full text of articles in hundreds of their respected scientific journals. Moreover, since the Drew University Library is an active participant in VALE, the Virtual Academic Library Environment consortium of New Jersey, Drew Library users have access, via Science Direct, to the full-text of the many science journals in electronic format to which all of our New Jersey academic library partners subscribe. EBSCO Online, although not limited to science journals, facilitates access to the full text of yet another electronic collection of journals. These resources are accessed via the Research Resources link on the Drew University Library Webpage. They can be searched in the Library and from all Drew networked computers on campus.

World-Wide Access

Off-campus users who have an account on the Drew network can configure their browsers to work with the Drew proxy server in order to gain access.

For help in using the Library's science resources: visit, telephone (973-408-3588) or email ( the librarians at the Reference Counter.

--Ruth Friedman
Team Member: Reference and Research Services, Technology

Friends Host Library Benefit Dinner: Freeman Dyson to Speak

Mrs. Bertha Thompson & Dr. Epsey Farrell of the Friends of the Library Advisory Board, planning the popular Mead Hall dinner

On Saturday evening, February 10, Kirby Theatre on the Drew campus will be the opening venue for a gala Mead Hall dinner that benefits the Library Endow A Book program. Guests for the fourth Living Library Dinner will gather first in Kirby Theatre to hear the reflections of one of the world's pre-eminent scientists, Freeman J. Dyson.

Dr. Dyson, Professor Emeritus of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, is a physicist with international stature who has also written several popular books that illuminate science for the general public. He is well known for his engaging views on ethical matters relating to science and technology. A champion of social justice who advocates respect for scientific and religious points of view, Dyson was honored last spring as the recipient of the international Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion, joining the ranks of past laureates who have included Mother Teresa and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. Sir John Templeton spoke of Dyson in a public ceremony in Washington, D.C. on May 16:For Dyson, science and religion are two great human enterprises sharing many common features. The most salient features are discipline and diversity, for without discipline there can be no freedom. Greatness for the enterprise, freedom for the individual...It is this dynamic interplay that makes up the history of science and the history of religion.

... When Dr. Dyson speaks, he speaks with the voice of science, but he does not claim that the voice of science speaks with unique authority. For him, religion has at least an equal claim to authority in defining human destiny.
The Honorary Chair for the Drew event will be Lewis D. Andrews, Jr., head of the Drew University Board of Trustees, who joins the Friends of the Library in hosting the evening. Following Professor Dyson's remarks, dinner will be served in historic Mead Hall. Members of the community will also have an opportunity to meet and welcome the new director of the University Library, Andrew D. Scrimgeour.

For more information about the dinner or the Friends of the Library, please call Deborah Strong at (973) 408-3471.

Recommended Reading:

Infinite in All Directions (The 1985 Gifford Lectures)by Freeman J. DysonNew York: Harper & Row, 1988, 321 pages

A Review 

Freeman J. Dyson
Photo: R. Hagadorn

Freeman Dyson expressed some surprise last spring when he was given the prestigious Templeton Prize, a nearly one-million-dollar award to the person who has contributed most to advancing religion in the world. The reader of his Gifford Lectures will understand why he was chosen. Others who have held this Scottish lectureship in "Natural Theology," such as William James, Alfred North Whitehead, William Temple, Reinhold Niebuhr, and Paul Tillich, have used the occasion to make major programmatic statements on philosophy of religion or theology. Given the intellectual temper of our time, Dyson, a distinguished mathematical physicist, perhaps makes a greater contribution to religion by approaching it indirectly.

Part One looks at "life in the universe as a phenomenon for us to explain" and Part Two looks at life "as a heritage for us to cherish and as a destiny for us to earn." The explanations of such difficult topics as theoretical physics and the origin and nature of life are non-technical, yet sound, lucid, and engaging. The moral and political reflections on nuclear weapons policy and information technology are informed, generous, and bold. Throughout, Dyson keeps the door open to religion, occasionally even taking a few steps beyond the threshold.

Dyson's message is "the unbounded prodigality of life and the consequent unboundedness of human destiny. " An unabashed lover of diversity, Dyson rejects those in science who would unify everything under one theory and those in religion who would claim finality for a single doctrine. For him, the essential qualitative features of life are looseness of structure and tolerance of errors. Diversity is celebrated so as to "give scope to the infinite variety of human souls and temperaments," a condition of freedom. But discipline is required to "submerge the individual fantasy in a greater whole." So, no premature unity, but always linkages. A diversifier wants to discover natural structure and create technological artifice.

A theological amateur, Dyson reports that Charles Hartshorne helped him to see that his view of God is Socinian. That is, "God is neither omniscient nor omnipotent. He learns and grows as the universe unfolds." This Dyson finds congenial and "consistent with scientific common sense." For him, matter, mind, and God differ in degree, not kind. What an amateur! A true believer of any stripe will find in this book a challenger who, rather than trying to cut you down, will invite you to expand your view.

Friends of the Drew Library can meet and hear Freeman Dyson at the February 10 benefit dinner described elsewhere in this issue. You'll enjoy him more if you come having read this book or the more recent (and shorter) The Sun, the Genome, and the Internet: Tools of Scientific Revolutions, Oxford, 1999.

--Charles Courtney, Professor of Philosophy of Religion

"Nephew from St. Louis: Portrait of Robert Guiness" from a show of works in oil by Rick Mullin, C'80, exhibited Fall Semester in the Library Lobby

Recent Gifts to the University Library

Through the generosity of William R. Huff, the Library continues to add books in the fields of mathematics and computer science, psychology, biology, and economics.

Dr. and Mrs. Norton L. Smith celebrated the graduation of their daughter, Marci, C'2000, with a donation to the Library. With their gift, they also recognized three professors who were especially influential during their daughter's four years at Drew: Professors James O'Kane, Jonathan Reader, and Wendy Kolmar.

Dr. Barbara D. Wright contributed a kind gift to the Endow A Book Fund.

Graduate Research Project... Investigating a Context for the Zimbabwean Revolution

What went wrong with the Methodist-led Zimbabwean struggle for national liberation? Why did the elitism of ninetheenth century mission bury its seemingly powerful message of social justice? Can the Church redefine itself in a way relevant to the present, or will it remain an accessory to stagnation and corruption?

Library student employee Jimmy Dube of the Caspersen School Wesleyan and Methodist Studies Doctoral Program is pursuing the answers to these questions in an ambitious research effort that will likely shape his dissertation.

Jimmy's research into these questions follows two themes: study of the early missions to find out exactly what was imported into Zimbabwean thought and how it grew, and research into current issues and religious life to try to envision a new paradigm for Methodism in Zimbabwe. Can Methodism find a way to present the Gospel that will be meaningful to Zimbabweans, or must it cede leadership to new churches now taking form?

In the Library, Jimmy pursues the two branches of his research in different ways. Persistent searching based on Dewey categories relating to Africa and Mission history is ferreting out older materials on Christianity in Africa, while computerized sources yield modern, social and historical materials worldwide. WorldCat complements the Drew catalog in locating books, while the Internet and the electronic resources of ProQuest and Lexis/Nexis deliver modern African events and the all-important social context of emerging religious structures and their historical roots.

Jimmy views the nineteenth century collections in the Library and in the Methodist Center as treasures, with the reference staff as the key to the obscure past. He wishes that Drew had stronger collections of modern African periodicals.

--Bruce Lancaster
Team Member: Reference and Research Services, Collections and Buildings Maintenance

Director's Page...More Than Books, Bricks, and Bytes: The Role of the Library at a Small University

The following essay distills some thoughts and themes that I have been sharing with the Drew community since my arrival in August. I would also like to register my appreciation to Professor Charles Courtney for his deft leadership as Acting Director, as well as to the Library faculty and staff who have so warmly welcomed me to Drew and the Library.

Academic tradition honors the library as the heart of the university. It is a noble sentiment that is sometimes rooted in reality. A more prosaic perspective states that the library's mission is to develop collections and provide services that directly support teaching, scholarship, and independent learning. It is an accurate summation. Both understandings are apt for liberal arts colleges and research universities. The distinction of the liberal arts college library is to be found in its focus on undergraduate teaching. All activities are filtered through a primary evaluative question, "How will this acquisition or that program strengthen the undergraduate student and more closely link the library with the classroom?" The research library has a different center of gravity. Its emphasis is on the infinitely varied needs of the faculty in advancing the frontiers of their specialized fields. The Drew University Library, as I understand it, is entrusted with both responsibilities and must keep them in creative tension.

I would like to touch on three themes that are central to my understanding of the role of the library in such a small university. First, the library as a teaching institution. The teaching library takes a dim view of stockpiling books, journals, media, and electronic texts as an end in itself. Resources that languish on shelves or in databases do not contribute to a student's education. Even special collections and archives must become self-conscious teaching tools and not the privileged precinct of the specialist. For example, Drew undergraduates are in an enviable position when they are studying eighteenth century life in England and America. The renowned Archives and History Center provides a dazzling array of primary source documents on religious and cultural history that brings a past era to life in a way that secondary texts could never rival.

Our students must become skilled in determining pertinent resources for their assignments. Knowledge of the bibliographic structures of scholarly communication and their cognate technologies is essential to academic success, the birthright of every college graduate, and the badge of the lifelong learner. Librarians must be superb teachers and comfortable in the classroom. In partnership with the classroom faculty, they must teach research strategies and the new technologies in a way that is informed by the curricula and advances in learning theory. Such instructional efforts tend, however, to be piecemeal in most universities. Bibliographic instruction must follow the lead of the "writing across the curriculum" initiatives of the past decade and become more fully integrated with the curriculum.

Second, the library as a dynamic continuum of resources. Libraries are in the midst of massive change. The explosive expansion of electronic databases and texts, as well as global interconnectivity, may be the greatest change in learning since collections of books replaced the oral traditions. Many librarians were amazed to see the use of libraries jump dramatically after the displacement of the card catalog by the electronic catalog and the addition of online periodical indexes. Few understood that the card catalog and paper indexes had been formidable barriers to the collections for many students.

But despite reports in the popular press, the virtual library is not imminent. The book as codex is flourishing and will continue to have its distinctive and distinguished niche in the pantheon of knowledge. Much authenticated scholarship is still published on paper, and academic presses are flourishing. The continuum of resource formats, however, is rapidly expanding. In this dynamic environment the library's role is not to be a professional lobbyist for any single type of information and knowledge, whether print or digital. Its mission is to provide the resources that a particular field of studying requires, regardless of format. That mixture is different for each area of scholarly inquiry and is constantly shifting. Instead of banging a single drum louder and louder, or giving the entire score to the brass section, the university library must honor the entire orchestra of information and scholarship. It must teach students how to hear and appreciate the full repertoire of research and knowledge. A tin ear for either books or for web-based documents will not serve the thoughtful citizen of the twenty-first century.

The complexity and pace of technological advances, coupled with modest university resources, demands the prideful coordination of several campus entities that have not always sung out of the same song book. Information services, academic computing, media services, educational technology, and the library must work together to ensure the most prudent and synergistic planning for the university. Discernment and stewardship should mark this essential collaboration.

Third, the library as a great good place. Despite the growing ubiquity of electronic resources, the library will continue to be an actual place on campus. It needs to be a special place, a "great good place," to use Ray Oldenburg's apt phrase. The library must be a welcoming place, sensitive to the real needs of students and the environmental elements that promote intellectual activities. Too many library buildings unwittingly reflect an era when educational pedagogy and a nineteenth century sense of decorum dictated spaces where students largely studied alone and properly erect in quiet rooms and alcoves, bereft of the essential comforts of food, beverage, music, and conversation. Such constraints are no longer acceptable as the dominant ethos of the modern, academic library. The successful venture of Barnes and Noble bookstores with Starbucks Coffee offers important cultural clues to some new connections that should be exploited in the university library. Some "unorthodox" areas might help position the library to be a more vital campus center for scholarly exploration, lively conversation, group study, group collaboration, and solo study.

The best resources, the latest technology, and the finest building cannot guarantee a vital library. A talented cadre of librarians is the catalyst. Such librarians are liberally educated, love to teach, know scholarly communication and contribute to it, have judiciously merged technology with traditional resources, and have a passion for the integrating function of the academic library. The motto for such librarians was penned by Wordsworth:What we have loved
others will love
and we will teach them how.
Therein is the secret that will keep the library at the heart of the university, for the library is books, bricks, and bytes. And so much more.

Dr. Andrew D. Scrimgeour

"Episcopal Church," John Vachon, March 1941, King William County, Va., from an exhibit of materials on loan from the Library of Congress archives of the Farm Services Administration. The travelling photography exhibit, "Picturing Faith: Religious America in Government Photography, 1935-1943," was displayed in the Methodist Archives in the fall with the support of the Lilly Endowment, the Florence Ellen Bell Center for Methodist Studies, and the University Library. Dr. Kenneth Rowe coordinated the exhibit.

Library Faculty Active in Research, Resource Sharing

The Library faculty are active in pursuing professional goals and personal research interests. As librarians, they also hold leadership roles and participate in several professional and consortial groups that directly benefit Drew Library users. The sharing of library resources, cooperative purchasing, and improvements in technological access are some of the ways in which such relationships benefit Drew and its partners in these groups. Recent creative and professional work from the following people is a mark of their ongoing scholarship and service to the profession.

Suzanne Selinger delivered a series of lectures in Switzerland last summer related to her 1998 book, Charlotte von Kirschbaum and Karl Barth: A Study in Biography and the History of Theology (Pennsylvania State University Press). On July 14, she gave a talk on von Kirschbaum and Barth at the Stadt- und Universitaetsbibliothek Bern. The lecture was jointly sponsored by the StUB, the Lehrstuhl Systematische Theologie der Universitaet Bern, and the Arbeitsstelle fuer feministische Theologie der Landeskirche. On July 18, she lectured at the annual Barth-Tagung in Leuenberg. She also spoke to a women's theology group in Geneva and met with members of the Barth family and did research at the Barth-Archiv in Basel. The Leuenberg lecture, in a revised form, will be published in the Zeitschrift fuer dialektische Theologie later this year.

Ken Rowe continues to edit numerous books and several series. His own most recent project is a two-volume work, The Methodist Experience in America with Russell Richey and Jean Miller Schmidt (Abingdon Press, 2000).

Jody Caldwell serves on the editorial board of Clip Notes (Association of College and University Libraries) and wrote several entries for the American National Biography (Oxford, 1999).

Linda E. Connors presented a paper, "'We are quite the best country in Europe': Representation of Germany, Austria, and Italy in the British Periodical Press, 1846-1851" at the eighth annual conference of the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing in Mainz, Germany. The July conference was part of the International Gutenberg Conference celebrating the 600th anniversary of Gutenberg's birth.

Lessie Culmer-Nier is one of forty-five international delegates serving on the governing and advisory board of OCLC Users Council. She is one of four delegates representing Palinet, our regional library network. Based in Ohio, the Online Computer Library Center is a nonprofit organization that provides computer-based cataloging, reference, resource sharing and preservation services to 37,000 libraries in 76 countries and territories. OCLC was founded in 1967 to improve access to the world's information and reduce information costs, and conducts ongoing research to develop technologies to support that mission.

Jean Schoenthaler was re-elected vice president of the 900-member Highlands Regional Library Cooperative, the largest of four regional cooperatives in the state. Multi-type library regional cooperatives were mandated and funded by New Jersey law during the 1980s to foster resource sharing. While on sabbatical last spring, she also undertook a review of papers of the Wendel family of New York, who have historical philanthropic ties to Drew.

Andrew D. Scrimgeour has been invited to give a talk at the World Bank in Washington on the prospects of digitized academic books for the Third World. He continues to be the archivist for both the American Academy of Religion and the Society of Biblical Literature and a trustee for Scholars Press. He was recently elected to the steering committee of the Virtual Academic Library Environment of New Jersey, a consortium of academic libraries throughout the state. VALE promotes student and faculty access to scholarly materials through collaborations in purchasing and in applications of cutting-edge technology.

New On-Line Reference Service

Questions in the night?

Go to the Library's E-reference web address at: Questions emailed to the Reference Counter will be answered by 10 p.m. the next weekday.

About Visions


Dr. Andrew D. Scrimgeour, Director
Drew University Library, Madison, NJ 07940
(973) 408-3322

PHOTOGRAPHS: Randall Hagadorn, Shelley Kusnetz, A. Magnell

A complete online archive of past issues of Visions
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VISIONS is a semi-annual publication.
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