KSL celebrates its 25th anniversary with speakers and events


Matthew Chang, Staff Writer

Kelvin Smith Library (KSL) celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, during which a variety of events have and will be held. All events are free and open to the students and faculty of Case Western Reserve University, as well as to the rest of the Cleveland community. 

The first of this series of events occurred on Thursday, Sept. 30, when four guest speakers talked about the library’s history and its accomplishments over the years, while also highlighting the people who made this spectacle a reality. 

Speakers included Ben Vinson III, provost and executive vice president of CWRU, Ellen Stirn Mavec, president and chairman of The Kelvin and Eleanor Smith Foundation and a CWRU Board of Trustees member, Arnold Hirshon, vice provost and Lindseth Family University Librarian of KSL, and Louis Menand, the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of English and the Lee Simpkins Family Professor of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University.

Menand’s presentation, “How to Predict the Present,” explored why we write about history, how we should read it and why it is significant. Menand is a staff writer for the New Yorker and the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for History recipient for his book on American pragmatists, “The Metaphysical Club.”

The second event was held on Wednesday, Oct. 6, during which Bryan Garner gave a virtual presentation titled “Taming the Tongue While Chasing the Sun.” Garner is the author of more than 25 language-related books and the current editor-in-chief of Black’s Law Dictionary. The presentation highlighted KSL’s Special Collections exhibit of 100 items arranged from Garner’s personal collection of “English Grammars and Dictionaries.” During the presentation, he also gave a tour of the items in the Special Collection exhibit, as well as his main library in Dallas, Texas. Attendees had the opportunity to view the exhibition at the end of the presentation and interact with Garner virtually.

Elaine Westbrooks will give her presentation, “Building the Future We Want: Centering Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Libraries,” on Wednesday, Nov. 3, at 4 p.m. The presentation will focus on the responsibility library staff and faculty have in dismantling oppression within their institutions. Westbrooks will talk about her story of establishing a diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiative at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and how every library’s mission should accommodate aspects of the DEI initiative. Westbrooks is the current vice provost for University Libraries and University Librarian at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She also serves on the boards of the Digital Public Library of America and the HathiTrust Digital Library.

The last event will be held on Thursday, Nov. 18, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Many speakers from CWRU will speak about Johannes Kepler on the 450th anniversary of his birth. Kepler was one of the first to argue that the sun was the hub of our solar system. His work expanded across many subjects, not only in astronomy and physics but also in music. He discovered that the planets in the solar system followed elliptical orbits around the sun and other laws of planetary motion.  KSL’s Special Collection recently acquired an invaluable 1621 edition of Mysterium Cosmographicum, which laid the groundwork for many of Kepler’s pursuits.

On the evening of Nov. 18, the CWRU Collegium, Early Music Singers, Baroque Vocal Ensembles and Baroque Chamber Ensembles will come together to host a concert at the Maltz Center for Performing Arts in honor of Johannes Kepler. Guest artist Bruce Dickey, director of the Concerto Palatino and world-renowned cornetist, will lead the CWRU Historical Performance Practice Ensembles with music inspired by Kepler’s ideas.

“The 25th anniversary provides an occasion not only to reflect upon the library’s major contributions, but more importantly to inspire conversations about the continuously evolving role of the library in research and scholarship,” said Arnold Hirshon.