History & Facts

The Ames Library opened on January 9, 2002 and is named in honor of B. Charles Ames '50 and Joyce Eichhorn Ames '49. Learn more about the building's construction here.

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.

The library is a member of the Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois, a network of over eighty Illinois college and university libraries whose on-line catalog provides access to the thirty-eight 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 from other institutions.

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 and newspapers, a large computer lab, special project rooms, and an open study area welcome 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, print journals, videos, and special software (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 workstation clusters throughout the library, each with computers, a printer and help-phone that connects to the IT Help Desk. In addition to standard office software, these computers have software and resources pertaining to the disciplines in the area.

Novice researchers are encouraged to use computers located in the Information Commons on the entry level. By working close to the Library Service Desk, we enable student and faculty research in new areas with guidance in terms of accessing, evaluating, and using scholarly sources appropriately.

The Thorpe Center, located on the 3rd floor of the library, provides a wide variety of 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 Ames Library, the Center provides inviting spaces for students and faculty to work together to integrate audio and video into presentations and projects. Our studios, as well as scanners and multi-media stations for image and digital video editing, are available for student use. Media equipment such as digital cameras, video camcorders, LCD projectors, and slide projectors, as well as laptop computers can be checked out from the Library Service Desk.

The Tate University Archives and Special Collections is on the 4th floor. The University Archives is the repository for Illinois Wesleyan history. Among our 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 open 7 days a week when classes are in session. If you can't visit when we are open, check out our virtual tour.