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Get to Know…Ivan Gaetz, Director of Tutt Library

Ivan Gaetz, the new director of Tutt Library, is a man of many interests. Gaetz (“pronounced ‘Gates’ as in Bill Gates, but without all the money,” says the CC Gaetz) is a Canadian who was raised in the Northwest Territories, south of the Arctic Circle in a town called Hay River. His parents were Pentecostal missionaries, and as a youngster he lived in a log cabin, traveling with his family by dog team in the winter.

Gaetz comes to Colorado College from Regis University, where he was dean of the library for 11 years. He earned a B.A. in Canadian history from the University of Alberta, followed by a Master of Divinity at the University of Saskatchewan. His interest in theology was not as much religious as it was philosophical, he says. Gaetz earned a Master of Theology from Regis College at the University of Toronto, a Master of Library Science and a Master of Education at the University of Alberta, and a Ph.D. in educational studies from the University of British Columbia. Along the way he also served as executive director of a medical organization, the Sub-Arctic Mission Association, in the Northwest Territories.

Gaetz says library science was a way to combine his various academic interests into a marketable career. “In library science one can be a generalist. It allows me to draw on my experience and interest in the humanities,” he said.

Quick facts about Gaetz:
Following the log cabin/Indian village period, he grew up on Gaetz Drive  in Hay River, N.W.T., named for his family. 
In 1991-2, he lived in Times Square and worked as a librarian at Columbia’s Union Theological Seminary.
Enjoys the wilderness, photography, and landscape painting.
He’s an Arctic fisherman, once catching a 45-pound lake trout. 
Favorite Canadian fiction authors: Alice Munro, Margaret Atwood and Annie Proulx (well, partly Canadian).
On his bookshelf: philosophy, history, biography and autobiographies; “big idea books,” he says. Also enjoys fiction featuring the American West and books about the Canadian Arctic.
Finds American impressionist painters most compelling, especially the work of Frederick Mulhaupt, and of course, any artworks by the Canadian “Group of Seven.”  
Big fan of the Daily Show and the Colbert Report.
Music—likes everything from Ian Tyson and Dwight Yoakam to Oscar Peterson and Lady Gaga.  Paganini is a favorite classical composer (loves the madness).
Enjoys playing racquetball – please contact Gaetz if you are interested in a poor-to-mediocre opponent!
Editing two scholarly online journals keeps him off the streets far too many evenings.
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Gaetz did not intentionally set out to collect university degrees. Instead, he took advantage of the various academic programs wherever he was working. For example, while serving as library director in Vancouver, where he was responsible for all the library resources and services for Regent College and Carey Theological College, he pursued a Ph.D. that among other things examined aspects of Continental philosophy, writing a dissertation titled “An Exploration and Expansion of Bernard Lonergan’s Intentionality Analysis for Educational Philosophy.”

Themes that tie together his academic studies and employment are epistemology and metaphysics, and in particular, the writings of Alfred North Whitehead and noted Canadian philosopher and theologian, Bernard Lonergan.  A Jesuit thinker, Lonergan’s understanding of the structure and operations of human consciousness has interested Gaetz since his undergraduate years in the mid-1970s. Gaetz believes that Lonergan’s theory has direct relevance not only to teaching and learning, but also has practical application to the realms of administration, management, and most aspects of social life and human culture.   

As a member of the Colorado library consortium, Gaetz was aware of the unique and compelling opportunities at CC. So when a search firm approached him about the position, he was intrigued.

Several things excite Gaetz about his new position, and the first he cites is the talent, creativity, and depth of experience among the existing library staff. He also is interested in the potential to develop open source technology for library computing systems, specifically library apps that enhance integrated library systems. Gaetz is a big believer in open source-based libraries, as that leads to open access resources, he says, and in particular, the development of scholarly, peer-reviewed open access journals.

 Gaetz also is enthusiastic about CC’s potential library building program and is serving on the “Extending our Reach” committee, part of the college’s strategic planning process. He says, “I jump at the chance to explore these ideas and to help the college reconsider an academic library suited to the ‘unique rhythm of the Block Plan,’ as the Sheply Bulfinch feasibility study states.”  Recognizing this rhythm, Gaetz is coming to see, involves suitable space for intense individual and group study, and creating meeting rooms that provide options for faculty wishing to provide for students varied on-campus learning experiences rich in discovery resources of many kinds.

Libraries have been transformed from their traditional modi operandi of lending books and banning food, drink, and any conversation louder than a whisper; now they focus on technology and online resources that tie into teaching and learning methodologies. “To be sure, however, the new does not really replace the old, but actually adds a whole new dimension,” Gaetz clarifies.  In addition to providing wider and more dynamic learning and information resources, today’s libraries also provide support space for teaching and learning activities, compelling gathering spaces for students, and social networking outlets. Two academic libraries he particularly likes are those at the University of Nevada—Las Vegas, which he calls a “showcase of today’s technology-rich academic library,” and at Loyola University in Chicago, which has an outstanding welcoming space designed for student interaction.

Although most of Gaetz’s experience is as a librarian, he also has taught faculty development seminars at Regis University, focusing on thinking deeply and critically about issues in educational philosophy. A book he worked on with Bern Will Brown, a noted northern Canadian writer and artist, is currently being considered by a Canadian publisher who has expressed strong interest. If published, “The Arctic Hareskins” will be the only monograph dealing solely with the life and culture of the Sahtu Dene aboriginal people.