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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 Ames Library provides a setting conducive to interaction, consultation, study and reflection and is dedicated to serving the scholarly needs of the Illinois Wesleyan University community. Library faculty and staff develop and maintain collections that enhance the university curriculum and provide access to global information networks that assist research. They provide expertise in the management of the creation, organization, and distribution of knowledge in a changing environment. Library faculty promote information literacy by teaching the use of the tools of scholarship. In keeping with the mission of Illinois Wesleyan University, The Ames Library fosters inquiry and the pursuit of knowledge, intellectual and ethical integrity, excellence in teaching and learning, and respect for diverse points of view.
(March 2004)

As the intellectual heart of the campus, The Ames Library transforms individuals in their quest for wisdom and knowledge and the Illinois Wesleyan University community in its pursuit of excellence.

• Students trust that their needs are the library's top priority.
• Faculty eagerly seek the library as an ally in their teaching and research.
• Individuals and groups investigating new ideas and researching new fields turn to the library first for support, consultation and collaboration.
• Members of the IWU community rely on the library and its staff as a key resource for encouragement, innovation, and service in fulfilling the goals and ideals of the highest quality liberal education.
• Graduates leave the university with the realization that the library was indispensable to their academic accomplishments.

With our people, services, collections, and facilities, The Ames Library makes it easy for our users to navigate the research process and access the highest quality information resources. Motivated by our desire to understand, anticipate, and fulfill the research and information needs of our community, we continually evolve in our efforts to meet those needs. Our passion and commitment for our work inspire a zeal for inquiry in others and is central to our drive to excel. We enthusiastically reach out beyond the walls of the library, initiating and joining cooperative endeavors with others and delivering our services to individuals where they work and live.
(April 2004)

Informing and guiding our everyday work are the following enduring values:

• We value intellectual freedom as described in the American Library Association’s Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights: “Educating the American public, including library staff, on the value of intellectual freedom is fundamental to the mission of libraries of all types. Intellectual freedom is a universal human right that involves both physical and intellectual access to information and ideas. Libraries provide physical access through facilities, resources, and services and foster awareness of intellectual freedom rights within the context of educational programs and instruction in essential information skills.”
• We value the library as a place and space for our campus community. We are stewards and caretakers of our space, and value the efforts of our Physical Plant colleagues to make our library a welcoming and safe environment for students, faculty, and staff to work, rest, socialize, and collaborate.
• We value access to information. Through our collections and technology, we strive to streamline access to the content needed to create scholarship and creative works, either through our own collections, or through partnerships with other institutions.
• We value user privacy. We will never sell, give away, or share your library records. This includes what you share with us during research consultations or instruction sessions, your search history on the web or in databases, the books and other materials you have checked out.
• We value diversity and inclusion with respect to our users, spaces, collections, policies, and practices. We affirm and support the ALA's Library Bill of Rights, which states "Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation."
• We value our users’ perspectives. We are cognizant of the many roles we play in our campus community, and we seek out opportunities to listen and gather feedback from our students, staff, and faculty.
(October 2018)

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 the Center for Engaged Learning. 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 The 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 in addition to standard office software.

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 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. We look forward to welcoming you soon!