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Self-Guided Tour: Welcome!

This self-guided tour uses works of art to help you navigate through some of the public areas of the library. Many of the landmarks on this tour fall into one of two categories: Northwest Coast art and art created by Lewis & Clark students and faculty. (For a more complete inventory of art in the building, please visit Art in Watzek Library.)

Library services and resources are mentioned along the way. However, some of these do not have a clear visual counterpart. To learn more about the library, please ask at the service desk. We would love to hear your questions!

Plan to spend about 20 to 30 minutes, depending on your pace. An elevator is available as part of the route.

Begin on the main floor of the library, just inside the gates. (If you are starting in the lobby, take the elevator or stairs up one level.)

Entering the library atrium, you're immediately face-to-face with an unpainted totem pole carved by Lelooska, also known as Chief Lelooska or Don Smith. Born into a family of partially Cherokee heritage, Lelooska became a prominent artist working in the Northwest Coast style; ultimately, he was formally adopted into a Kwakiutl clan. His family continues to operate an educational foundation in Ariel, Washington. On this unpainted pole, Raven sits atop a (mythical) Seabear.

Unpainted pole, Lelooska (Don Smith), 2nd floor

Lelooska (1933–1996), Kwakwaka’wakw (Kwakiutl Northwest Coast), unpainted pole, 1996. Gift of Lelooska Foundation (Ariel, WA), 1996.

You're next to the center of the library's operations, the service desk. Here you can borrow books and media, and pick up items from other libraries. (Watzek belongs to a wide regional network that includes several major research libraries.)

Textbooks for most classes are available at this desk for short-term loans, usually 3 hours; these are called course reserves.

Watzek is open 141 hours a week during a semester. Whenever we are open, someone is ready to help you at the service desk. It's an excellent place to ask questions.

For in-depth help with research and using the library, come to the Research Help desk. Librarians are at this desk on weekday afternoons, and are available to meet for one-on-one research consultations at other times. Every department and program at the college has a corresponding librarian; we strongly encourage students to get to know theirs!

Beyond the unpainted pole is an area with red and orange soft seating. Another Lelooska carving is mounted on the wall over this furniture. In the center of the panel, Raven is stealing the sun.

Lelooska cedar panel

Lelooska (1933–1996), Kwakwaka’wakw (Kwakiutl Northwest Coast), cedar panel, 1986. Gift of Lelooska Foundation (Ariel, WA), 1986.

Head toward the central staircase, bearing right around the stairs and continuing toward the gray-green wall ahead and to your right

What you see on this wall will depend on when you visit, since it frequently hosts temporary exhibitions. Students and other members of the community may apply to exhibit art in the library. When there is no special exhibition, this wall hosts the work of the Lithuanian photographer Antanas Sutkus.

Antanas Sutkus, People of Lithuania

Antanas Sutkus (1939–), People of Lithuania, 1976 onward. Black and white photographs. Gift of Herb Belkin, 1994.

When classes are in session, this is a popular area for collaborative work. Watzek is not a silent library—though we do have designated quiet zones—and this tends to be a lively part of the building.

Natural history cabinets across from the exhibition wall feature rotating displays curated by students in collaboration with the library.

Books are not all you can borrow from Watzek. Near you in this area is a cart of board games that may be checked out. We also loan equipment from the service desk: laptops, calculators, phone and computer chargers, external drives, whiteboard markers, art supplies, and noise-canceling headphones.

Continue along the gray-green wall toward the windows and look around the corner to the right.

This area of the building will house Watzek's Data Science Center (projected to open in October 2023). A central gathering spot for data science students and faculty activities, it will be open to all members of the college community for individual and group study as well as peer tutoring. There will be a number of medium-sized monitors for individual use as well as a large 75" monitor for collaborative work.

With the windows on your right, head toward the armchairs and small tables ahead.

Watzek permanently displays a number of pieces of student art, purchased from the annual show of graduating Studio Art majors. One such piece is Roxanne Davis's print, taken from a larger series, Why Can't I Just Eat Like a Normal Person?, that explores relationships with food.

Roxanne Davis CAS '13, I Actually Don't Even Like Cake That Much

Roxanne Davis, CAS '13, I Actually Don't Even Like Cake That Much, 2013. Inkjet print.

Another piece of student art is tucked around the corner. Lawrence Kirk's small painting originally formed part of a red, yellow, and blue room-sized installation of similar paintings.

Lawrence Kirk CAS '16, from Central Control, 2nd floor

Lawrence Kirk, CAS '16, from Central Control, 2016. Oil on wood.

The cypress bench in this area was a gift to the library. It is meant to be sat upon, so please don't hesitate to use it!

If you were to continue along this side of the building, you would arrive at the College Writing Center. Students may meet with peer tutors on a drop-in basis, or with the director by appointment.

Turn your back on the cypress bench and go through the two wooden bookcases.

The library's newest books begin their time at Watzek on the New Books shelves you've just passed. This area also features occasional displays of more recreational reading. While our collection's primary focus is academic, we have more non-academic reading material than you might expect: fiction, poetry, drama, YA literature, picture books, graphic novels, art books, music scores, cookbooks, and field guides. (Not to forget DVDs, CDs, and LPs!)

Just past the New Books is a piece by the late ceramicist Ted Vogel, who from 1994 until his retirement in 2019 was an Associate Professor of Art and Studio Head of Ceramics at the college. Ted collaborated with a team at Watzek on accessCeramics, a digital collection of ceramics images that was one of the earliest projects to come out of the library's Digital Initiatives program. Birds and stumps were recurring themes in his work.

Stump Roost, Ted Vogel, 2nd floor

Ted Vogel, Stump Roost. Donated in memory of the artist by his siblings in 2020.

Head back toward the service desk.

The computers you're passing are a key resource for students, especially for printing. To your left, on the other side of the stairs, is another computer lab with Macs and two more printers, including a color printer.

Bear right around the soft red and orange furniture and follow the ramp or the stairs up.

Turn left to find an elevator and stairwell. Go up one flight to the top (third) floor of the building.

As you arrive on the top floor, look up and around to find the stained glass windows at either end of the long wing.

These windows, original to the 1967 building, represent the moon (eastern window) and the sun (western window) in a style evoking Northwest Coast art.

Moon window, 3rd floor 

Eastern window, stained glass by Anderson of Anderson Art Studio, Hillsboro, OR, 1967.


Western window, 3rd floor

Western window, stained glass by Anderson of Anderson Art Studio, Hillsboro, OR, 1967.

While most of the library's public-facing services are located on the second floor of the building, most of the circulating collection is on the third floor, where you are now. Students may borrow Watzek books for 12 weeks (except for course reserves, which generally circulate for 3 hours).

All of the library's study rooms are also on the third floor.

With the moon window to your right and behind you, go toward the large portrait of a woman ahead.

A recent donation to the library's collection of art, Eleonora de Toledo puts a contemporary, partially 3D spin on a historical figure.

Prince Lorenzo de Medici's Eleonora de Toledo, mixed media, gift of Mary Jean Thompson

Prince Lorenzo de’ Medici,  Eleonora de Toledo. Mixed media. Gift of Mary Jean Thompson.

This room houses Watzek's history books. While many subject areas taught at the college rely heavily on online collections, Watzek continues to collect print books at significant levels in a number of areas, history prominent among them.

To the left of Eleonora de Toledo is Watzek's most recently acquired piece of student art, which is visible from multiple spots in and across the atrium. James Bullock's Black Liberation Flag was part of a larger installation, Uncovering Identity, that formed a complete room with sculpture, photography, furniture, and plants.

James Bullock, CAS '21, Black Liberation Flag, 2020. Soft textile.

Continue toward the windows overlooking a grassy space and turn left. Pass through the doors ahead of you, under a sign reading Books G–K.

In the next room, turn left and follow the brick wall toward the interior windows. Another piece of student art, Junnan Lyu's The Unseen #4, creates a contemplative corner.

The Unseen #4, Junnan Lyu, 3rd floor

Junnan Lyu, CAS '17, The Unseen #4. Inkjet print.

Books in this room cover most of the social sciences—anthropology, economics, sociology, gender studies, and political science—as well as law. The Lewis & Clark Law School has a separate library on its nearby campus. Students at the College of Arts & Sciences and the Graduate School of Education & Counseling are welcome to visit Boley Law Library and may borrow its materials.

Continue along the windows enclosing the atrium, and pause with the doors onto the landing of the main staircase behind you.

The four figures that stand near the top of the main staircase may look familiar if you have toured campus.

Lelooska (1933–1996), Kwakwaka’wakw (Kwakiutl Northwest Coast), wooden mold for The Angel, one of the Four Apostles, 1967. Gift, Trustees and Friends of Lewis & Clark College, 1967.

They are Lelooska's original carvings for the four guardians that sit on poles outside the Agnes Flanagan Chapel. The bull, the angel (above), the lion, and the eagle are traditionally associated with the four evangelists of the Christian Bible: Luke, Matthew, Mark, and John. Labels explain the symbols in each piece. The angel, for example, raises one hand in blessing and in the other holds a salmon, representing immortality.

Lelooska described the commission as "scary" in an interview with the historian Chris Friday (class of '82): "That scared the rats out of me, because here I've been raised with respect for the powers, the Divine Intelligence. I've never been able to find a suitable term for my concept of God—Divine Intelligence, Creator—none are adequate, in my opinion." In spite of his trepidation, the nearly finished work was well received by the friends he consulted, a Franciscan priest and a Jesuit. Lelooska described himself as "delighted and somewhat surprised" by their positive reaction.

The figures outside the chapel are cement casts of these wooden carvings.

Continue past the carvings. The moon window will be on your left, and the sun window on your right. Go toward the moon, turning right at the overhead sign for Books PS–Z and Digital Initiatives.

You've just passed much of the library's literature and art collection, two more areas that continue to rely significantly on print books. A small collection of graphic novels are also nearby.

Offices for Digital and Data Services are on your left after turning. This unit supports digital archives, statistical computing software, and high performance computing, working with faculty and other college staff to integrate technology into teaching and research.

Continue until you have just arrived in a new wing of the building. The door to your right is kept locked, but the Pamplin Society Room is well worth knowing about.

Every year, faculty select seven second-year students to join the prestigious Pamplin Society of Fellows. Members have exclusive access to this room.

Continue from the Pamplin Society Room toward the windows, and follow them along the length of this wing.

The formal gardens around the reflecting pool below are original to the estate that became the Fir Acres campus.

Books located in this wing include literature, math, science, counseling, and technology, along with some potentially more surprising pockets of cookbooks and photography books.

Both floors in this wing are designated quiet areas. You can find something approaching absolute silence here.

At the end of the windows, continue onto the balcony.

View of Pioneers Balcony, Watzek Library

The Pioneers Balcony brings a number of college-specific materials together in one place that is also a cozy spot for reading and studying. Yearbooks dating from 1947 line the far wall, and student publications are shelved just to the left of the entrance. On the long wall, a selection of historic photographs from the college archive has recently been updated with new images of the more recent past, showing the growth of a small college (with a first graduating class of five students) into the outward-looking, three-college institution that Lewis & Clark has become.

Opposite this balcony is the Oversized Books section. Below both balconies, an inviting reading room beckons with a fireplace, comfortable chairs, and current magazines and journals.

Leaving the balcony, turn right and follow the brick wall to the other side of the bookshelves. After passing another stairwell and three study rooms, take the first hallway that opens to your right.

The study rooms you have just passed are three of eleven in the building. They may be reserved in advance online or used on a drop-in basis.

Phyllis Yes, from The Bread Series, 2000-2001. Acrylic on canvas, acrylic with plaster of Paris on canvas.

The images of bread in this hallway are the work of Phyllis Yes, who taught in the Art department from 1978 to 2005. Yes was particularly known for her "Por She" project in the 1980s, in which she covered a 1967 Porsche in pink lace, ultimately driving it across the country.

As you enter the next wing, you return to a non-quiet section of the library. Books on education and music, including music scores, are shelved in this area.

Head back toward the large portrait of the woman. The moon window will be on your right again. Before the stairwell and elevator, turn left at the marble plaque.

The names on the plaque include two L&C presidents (Morgan S. Odell and John R. Howard), the architect of the library (Paul Thiry, who also designed Agnes Flanagan Chapel), and Aubrey R. Watzek, the Portland lumber baron the building is named for.

Continue just past the beginning of the plaque and look around the corner to the right to take in one more piece of student art.

Sarah Essex's painting combines views of several locations, including Portland and the Bay Area.

Sarah Essex, CAS '17, Under the Hawthorne Bridge / Salt Point State Park / Albany Bulb. Oil on canvas

The atrium below you was once open to the elements. Now, during the academic year it is a busy crossroads of students printing papers, borrowing materials, meeting their friends, sheltering from rain, and even occasionally taking part in or watching short performances.

When you're ready to return to the main floor of the library, use the main staircase or the elevator (back in the direction of the moon window).

You're near the end of this self-guided tour. What have you not seen so far?

Students frequently express that it takes them months or years to become aware of everything Watzek offers. A short tour cannot give you a complete view of this complicated building or all of the complex services it houses; it's intended to pique your curiosity and inspire you to explore and ask questions. Here are some points of interest that have been skipped in the interest of time and a manageable route:

  • The library classroom, where librarians give workshops on research and library resources. Many classes visit the library classroom every year to introduce students to basic and specialized tools and techniques.
  • Librarians' offices, where students can receive one-on-one support in research consultations.
  • Opportunities for student employment and learning. Watzek is one of the largest employers of students on campus; students can also pursue practicums in the library. Awards recognize excellence in the areas of library research and data visualization.
  • Special Collections and Archives. Special Collections connects students with rare books and materials that support classes in a number of disciplines. Many classes work with Special Collections every year. The College Archives collects and makes accessible a historic and living record of the college.
  • Extensive electronic resources: databases, ebooks, and streaming media. Watzek provides access to approximately 200 databases that allow for sophisticated searching, sometimes in very niche subjects. Ebooks and streaming media are a growing area for Watzek, a trend that has only accelerated with the pandemic.
  • A prayer area.
  • Lockers that may be rented for a semester.
  • DVDs, CDs, LPs, and children's and young adult literature.

 Please ask us if you're curious about any of these services or resources!

To leave the building, exit through the gates by the service desk. An elevator leading to the ground floor is available near the stairs.

High on the walls of the lobby are two more examples of Native American art.

The Sisiutl is a sea monster common to a number of Northwest tribes. Lelooska refers to it in an interview with the historian Chris Friday as a "Lightning Serpent."

Lelooska, carved monster, entryway

Lelooska (1933-1996), Kwakwaka’wakw (Kwakiutl Northwest Coast), Sisiutl, 1985. Gift, Lelooska Foundation, Ariel, WA.

Blanket presented to Lewis & Clark College by Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians, entryway

Blanket presented to Lewis & Clark College by the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians at their annual meeting in September, 2006, in appreciation for the college's ongoing efforts to build relationships with member tribes. Dedicated at Watzek Library on November 2, 2007.

Also on the lower level of the building is Information Technology. The college community can find immediate support at the IT service desk, where a wide variety of equipment may also be borrowed. To find the service desk, follow the stickers on the floor.

Once outside and past the pair of lampposts, look back at the cement cast of an owl.

Lelooska (Don Smith), Owl, northern entrance of Watzek Library

Lelooska (1933-1996), Kwakwaka’wakw (Kwakiutl Northwest Coast), cement cast of an owl carving, 1967(?).

Lelooska's owl has become an unofficial mascot for Watzek Library, appearing in a stylized form on the website, signage, and social media. While the cement owl has moved from its original location, as historic photos show, it continues to greet visitors to the library as it has since the building's opening in 1967.

Thank you for visiting Watzek Library!

Please let us know if you have questions about this tour or about library services! Stop by the service desk to speak with someone in person, or send us an email at If you can see an orange Chat button right now, someone is available to help you there, too.