Wmc's Hoover Library Opens New Chapter With Expansion

Dedication Begins 125th-year Celebration

October 09, 1991|By Staff report

WESTMINSTER — Formal dedication of the newly expanded and remodeled Hoover Libraryat Western Maryland College will take place at 2 p.m. Sunday on the main academic quadrangle and the library's front steps.

Guests will include Gov. William Donald Schaefer and former WMC trustee chairman William S. Keigler. They will receive honorary doctorate degrees inlaw and humane letters, respectively.

The event's keynote speaker is Lillian Moore Bradshaw, WMC Class of 1937, former president of the American Library Association and retired director of the Dallas Public Library. Welcoming remarks will bedelivered by WMC President Robert H. Chambers. The college's Board of Trustees and faculty will take part in an academic procession through the quadrangle.

This event also will begin WMC's 125th anniversary celebration. The ceremony will take place one day after the college's annual Homecoming

The two-year Hoover project -- which involved the construction of a three-story addition at the front of the building and the complete renovation of the existing structure, as well as the installation of a high-speed computerized card catalog and reference system -- doubled the size of the library to 72,000 square feet, enough room for its 163,000-volume collection to double as well during the next 20 years.

The total cost of the project is $10 million, with $8 million going to construction and $2 million to an endowment for operation and maintenance. It is the largest single capital project in the college's history.

When the library project was in the planning stages in mid-1987, Schaefer signed legislation approvinga $2 million capital improvement grant from the state. Two years later, he participated in groundbreaking ceremonies for the new portion of the building, alongside Chambers and trustee chairman William Keigler, board chairman from 1986 to last June.

Two of the library's most generous donors are Samuel and Elsie Hoover, in whose honor the library was named in 1975 and who donated $1.2 million to the recent expansion/renovation campaign.

Other focal points of the new facility include audio/visual media and microcomputing centers, group studyrooms, a commons, and an archives/special collection room. New facilities for existing services include a current periodicals reading room, a curriculum library, microforms, a reference area, a government documents section, a lecture room, and an exhibit area.

The new structure and the renovation were designed by The Hillier Group of Princeton, N.J.

On the third-floor of the library overlooking the rotunda staircase, in an area that some consider to be the most visually striking part of the addition, seven stained glass panels have been installed by artisan Tim Hirneisen of Art Glass Crafters in Monkton, Baltimore County.

Hirneisen's goal was to depict each of the seven liberal arts -- astronomy, grammar, rhetoric, logic, music, geometry and arithmetic -- in tandem with etchings of corresponding symbols from antiquity to the modern age.

For a window depicting logic, for instance, he made sophisticated etchings of chess pieces, computer characters and syllogisms on a separate clear panel of glass and placed them behind the corresponding stained glass panel for a layered effect. Each of the windows stands 7 feet tall and 3 feet wide, and the designs of all are oriented toward the window depicting astronomy.

The design allowed Hirneisen the opportunity to focus on more secular concerns in an art form that is most frequently associated with religion. But even more important to the artist than the work itself is the rare materials he used for the project.

"What's special about this project is that I used glass I've been saving for years for just such an occasion," Hirneisen said. "There is a lot of handblown European, English and German glass here, some of which is no longer being made."

The seven panels join an earlier depiction of the seven liberal arts located in the Alumni Hall Understage, which were installed as a gift from several graduating classes during the early years of this century. These windows portray the seven liberal arts as women with the accompanying traditional symbolism.

A colorful mural titledWeavings, which depicts the history of the college juxtaposed with events of global significance, has been painted in the library lobby by professional muralist Ellen Elmes, a member of the Class of 1969.

A professional muralist whose work is known throughout the mid-Atlantic, Elmes has blended the college's history with scenes of some of the most crucial periods in American and world history, bringing WMC's 125-year-old heritage together with the events that have shaped modern life.

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