Theological Libraries Month

September 30, 2011

Join the Montgomery library staff in celebrating Theological Libraries month this October!

The Montgomery Library is hosting several events, including a kick-off reception, a lecture on the King James Bible by Rev. Dr. Carl Trueman, and a book contest for students.

Theological Libraries Month was started by the American Theological Libraries Association (ATLA) to raise awareness of theological libraries and their resources.  Theological libraries are more than just repositories of information.  They also play a central role in the educational process, and connect users to the information they need.

Events during Theological Libraries month (all events at 1:00pm):

  • October 4th: Opening event on the library lawn with refreshments and the unveiling of a month-long faculty book contest.
  • October 10th-24th: A rare Bible display in the main lobby.
  • October 18th: Lecture by Rev. Dr. Carl Trueman commemorating the 400th anniversary of the King James Version of the Bible.
  • November 1st: Closing event in Library with refreshments and the announcement of the contest winner.

The following was reprinted from Westminster Lives, written by Barry Waugh (MAR '80, MDiv '81, PhD '02).

Montgomery Library and its Librarians

On May 22, 1963, the library, named for James H. Montgomery and his sister Marguerite, was dedicated for use.  The library has grown steadily over the years being enriched in the early years by the collections of Robert Dick Wilson, J. Gresham Machen, Geerhardus Vos, C. W. Hodge, and John Macleod, and has continued to grow with donated books from alumni and faculty.  It was said in The Presbyterian Guardian that the new building “contains all the necessary facilities for almost unlimited expansion of our book collection.”  The Montgomerys had been supporters of Westminster for years and Marguerite, until her health was failing, would make the trip to convocation and again in the spring for commencement every year.  The new library left the former library building, the carriage house, vacant for use as the classroom building.  The library currently has over 140,000 volumes and regularly receives approximately 700 periodicals.

At the time of the dedication, Arthur W. Kuschke, Jr. (BDiv ’39, ThM ’40) was the librarian.  Rev. Kuschke was a native of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania and graduated from Wheaton College, before attending Westminster and receiving the BDiv and then the ThM.  For seven summers, he worked as a counselor at a boys’ camp in the Pocono Mountains.  For a few years following his Westminster education, he preached at churches in New Hampshire and New Jersey for short terms.  He was ordained as an evangelist by the Presbytery of Philadelphia (OPC) in May 1940.  Before serving as the seminary librarian, Mr. Kuschke worked for four years as the Assistant to the Field Secretary of Westminster.  Rev. Kuschke died on July 1, 2010, after many years of service to the Lord.

One of Arthur’s writing efforts was contributing to The Presbyterian Guardian.  In March 1939, he reported an incident that shows how times have changed.  “Toward the middle of January one of the students came down with a case of scarlet fever.  Professor Kuiper said it was a long time since he had seen the students all look so blue.  We expected to be quarantined for months.  However, we were confined to the campus for only ten days and then, when the doctor had made sure that no one else had contracted the disease, we were allowed to come and go as usual.  But the student who was sick is still sealed up in one corner of the building.  Happily, he has only a light case.  We converse with him by shouting through the barrier.”  During this quarantine period all of life was centered around Machen Hall and the carriage house.  The students were isolated and could not leave even for church on Sunday.

In the early years students served as the librarians until Leslie Sloat (‘33) became the first fulltime librarian, serving 1939-1945, followed by Arthur Kuschke (1945-1979), who was succeeded by Robert Kepple (1979-1984), John Muether (MAR ’79) (1985-1989), Darryl Hart (MAR ’81) (1993-2000), and Sandy Finlayson (2002-now).  Grace Mullen is currently the Assistant Librarian and Archivist and has served several times as the acting librarian in the absence of a library director.