Ames Library History and Facts

Virtual Tour

Construction Facts

Place and Spaces

Library History

The Ames Library opened on January 9, 2002 and is named in honor of  B. Charles Ames '50 and Joyce Eichhorn Ames '49.

The Ames Library is the intellectual heart of Illinois Wesleyan University. It is here that scholarly information, regardless of format, is gathered, organized, and prepared for dissemination to the University community. In addition, the library provides a place for interaction, collaboration, consultation, study and reflection.

This five-floor building was completed in 2002. Located on the university's south side, the building offers a variety of study facilities ranging from individual carrels to group study rooms. On the entry level, new books, current periodicals, newspapers, and a specially appointed public reading area welcomes library users. Books are in full view on all levels, with contiguous, quiet reading spaces that take full advantage of abundant natural lighting.

The Ames Library is arranged with the researcher in mind. When conducting research, a library user will find content on a given topic in the same physical location regardless of format so that ease of access is enhanced. For example, when searching in Ames Library for information on Martin Luther King, Jr., a researcher will find books, journal articles, videos, and electronic sources (available on scholarly workstations) all in the same place.

The Scholarly Workstations are personal computers with unique functions that relate to the physical collection surrounding them. There are seven workstation clusters throughout the library, each with six computers, a printer and help-phone that connects to the Information Services Desk. Each computer runs application software for writing, creating presentations, or working on spreadsheets. In addition, these computers have subject specific software and resources pertaining to the disciplines in the area, integrating spatially the print with the electronic collection.

Self-directed researchers are encouraged to use these computers for extended periods of time and to gather together all of the relevant print and electronic sources that are appropriate for the project at hand. By placing the computers within such close proximity to the print and media collection, we enable students and faculty to locate high-quality information regardless of its physical or virtual format, blending technology and tradition.

Novice researchers are encouraged to use computers located in the Information Commons so that they may interact with library faculty when assistance or direction is needed. By placing these computers within such close proximity to the Information Services Desk, we enable student and faculty research in new areas with guidance in terms of searching techniques, identification of the best indices, and evaluation of sources.

The Thorpe Center, located on the 3rd floor of the library, provides a wide variety of standard and emerging technologies for use within and outside of the classroom.  A collaborative endeavor between the Office of Information Technology, the Mellon Center for Teaching & Learning, and the library, the Center provides inviting spaces for students and faculty to work together and to integrate audio and video into presentations and projects.  The Center also includes rooms to practice presentation skills and record mock interviews and auditions.  Media equipment such as digital cameras, video camcorders, LCD projectors, and slide projectors are available for checkout, as are wireless laptop computers for use anywhere in the Ames Library. A large format poster printer, color printers, scanners, a laminator, and multi-media stations for image and digital video editing also are available for student use.

The Tate University Archives and Special Collections is on the 4th floor. The university archives is the repository for the history of Illinois Wesleyan and its present and former students, faculty and staff. Among the special collections are the papers of former U.S. Congressman Leslie C. Arends; the Gernon collection of first editions of detective fiction and mysteries; the Schultz collection of 18th and 19th Century British Drama, including The Beggar's Opera; and selections from the personal book collection of former President Minor Myers, jr. These collections provide students with many opportunities to do original research.

The library is a member of the Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois, a network of over fifty Illinois college and university libraries whose on-line catalog provides access to the twenty-two million volumes held by these academic libraries as well as 750 public and special libraries in the state. Materials not owned by Illinois Wesleyan University can be easily borrowed through inter-library loan.

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The Ames Construction Facts

Shepley Bulfinch Richardson and Abbot Boston, Massachusetts

Contracting/ Construction Management:
Feimley- Dickerson Company, Bloomington, Illinois

Mechanical and Electrical – BBA Engineers, Bloomington, Illinois
Civil – Farnsworth & Wylie, Bloomington, Illinois
Structural – Lim Consultants, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Landscape – Brown/Sardina, Boston, Massachusetts

Construction Details:
Groundbreaking, November 6, 1999
Construction begun, February 2000
Excavation, March 2000
Masonry completed, October 1, 2001
Dedication, October 6, 2001
Official opening, January 9, 2002
Cost, $26 million
Total Hours, 168,480 hours (representing 54 workers)
Building Length, 190 feet
Building Width, 114 feet
Building Height, 94 feet to the roofline
                              100 feet 8 inches to the top of the Rotunda
Volume, 2.2 million cubic feet
Square Footage, 103,000 square feet

Building Materials:
Exterior – Brick, trimmed with Indiana limestone
Rotunda – Honduras mahogany wood, thermal cut granite, polymix paint,cold cathode lighting and                     carpet
Main Flooring – Carpet, total amount 9000 SY (81,000 SF)
4th Floor Rotunda Flooring – Cork
All Other Flooring – Granite, total weight 54 Tons (108,000 Ibs)
Total Concrete Used – 13.8 million pounds
Structural Steel – 860 tons
Rebar Steel – 206 tons
Brick – 445,000 bricks (2.22 million lbs.)
Glass Windows – 11,816 square feet (approx. 73,850 lbs.)
Electrical Wire – 75.75 miles
Plumbing Pipe – 24.62 miles
Paint – 1,482 gallons
Roof Garden – 570 payers (110 lbs each)
Ames Plaza – 20,700 payers

Landscape, Total Number of:
Shrubs 800
Grasses 5435
Trees 160
Plants 1138

Stained Class Panels 4th Floor Rotunda:
8 sets, 16 total, weighing 35 pounds apiece. A gift from Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, the windows are originally from Pembroke College, Oxford. Restored by Terry Garbe & staff at “A Touch of Glass” Normal, Illinois. See the Pembroke Brochure for more information.

Other Library Facts:
Library Faculty 9
Staff 15
Number of Volumes in Collection 368,317
Approximate number of linear feet of books moved to form the library’s circulating collection:

  • from Sheean Library 21,413 feet
  • from Thorpe Music Library 1,011.25 feet
  • from off-site storage 2,664.916 feet

Shelving 936 rows, thistle color
Number of Group Study Rooms 16
Project Rooms 3
Auditorium seating 70
Comfortable Lounge seating 150

Number of Public Computers:
Information Commons 24
Library Instruction Lab 26
Express Workstations 6
Scholarly Workstations 42
Laptops for checkout 18
Number of furniture pieces with network connections 128
Number of data jacks 865

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This service is maintained by The Ames Library. Please contact us with any problems or suggestions.
Last revised: February 2, 2007