In 2005, Bryce Nelson was working at the University of Washington's Information School when his phone rang. One thing led to another, and some months later he ended up at Seattle Pacific University.
The unanticipated way in which he became SPU’s library director helped make these last six years especially rewarding. After 43 years as a teacher, academic, librarian, and library administrator, Bryce will retire in June.
Positions in the Seattle School District, the Lake Washington School District, and the University of Washington were good preparation for being SPU’s library director. Of particular use were his prior experiences with budget, facilities, technology, library software, teaching, personnel, and organizational politics.
Many of the things Bryce worked on at SPU were of value not only to the library, but also to the University’s overall teaching, learning, and research efforts. His personal mission statement for the library evolved from "Beat Wheaton" into a more pragmatic checklist. Over his six years, budget and usage statistics improved. Library furniture was rearranged, the Reading Room was restored, and the Lower Level included student production space. Unused paper journals were discarded, and more electronic resources were purchased.
In addition, the “Thursday Food For Thought” series brought faculty and staff authors into the library. A “Friends of the Library” group was created to support an endowed fund for library materials. The University Archives program was restarted, and an endowed “Work and Faith” collection started. And new hires and ongoing staff development all made for a wonderful library staff.
Bryce is married to Bonnie Nelson. They have two sons: Karl (married to Rebecca, with son Axel) and Eric (married to Alicia, with sons Wesley and Maxwell). The family is fortunate to see each other often.
Bryce is not planning to “retire” in the sense of “not working.” What he does next isn’t yet clear, but he will find ways to remain productive in education and libraries.
Posted: Friday, May 06, 2011