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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!

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.)

As you enter the library atrium, you're immediately face-to-face with an unpainted totem pole by Lelooska, sometimes known as Don Smith or Chief Lelooska. Though his family was Cherokee, Lelooska became a prominent artist 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 are now at the center of the library's operations, the service desk. At the Check Out desk, you can borrow books and media, and pick up items from other libraries. Watzek belongs to a large regional consortium that includes several major research libraries. Textbooks for most classes are available at this desk for short-term loans, usually 3 hours. These books are referred to as course reserves.

Watzek is open 141 hours a week during a semester, and whenever we are open, someone is ready to help you at the Check Out 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. Research librarians staff the desk on weekday afternoons, and are available to meet by appointment at other times. Every department and program at the college has a corresponding librarian, and we strongly encourage students to get to know theirs.

On the other side of the unpainted pole is an area with red and orange soft seating; another Lelooska carving is mounted high on the wall. 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.

Turning your back on the cedar panel, head toward the central staircase. Bear right around the staircase and continue toward the gray-green wall ahead.

This wall frequently hosts temporary exhibitions: what you see here will depend on when you visit. Students and other members of the community, as well as outside groups, may apply to exhibit art in the library. When there is no special exhibition, this green 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.

During the school year, 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 green wall feature rotating displays curated by students in collaboration with the library.

Books are not the only kind of thing you can borrow from Watzek; if you look around this area, you'll see a cart with selected board games that may be checked out. We also loan out laptops, phone and computer chargers, headphones, whiteboard markers, and art supplies, all available at the service desk.

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

Watzek has a number of pieces of student art on permanent display, purchased from the annual show of graduating Studio Art majors. Several examples are clustered in this area. These three photos are a selection from Jenny Rodriguez's larger series Behind Mirrors.

Behind Mirrors, Jenny Rodgriguez CAS '18, 2nd floor

Jenny Rodriguez, CAS '18, from Behind Mirrors, 2018. Inkjet prints.

The cypress bench in this area was a gift to the library. Please sit on it if it calls out to you!

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

Two more pieces of student art brighten this spot. Roxanne Davis's print is part of a 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.

To the left of Actually Don't Even Like Cake That Much and around the corner, you'll find a small painting. In that year's senior art exhibition, it formed part of a room-sized installation with red-, yellow-, and blue-striped walls on which paintings in a similar style were hung.

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

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

The College Writing Center is located farther along this side of the building. Students may meet with peer tutors on a drop-in basis, or with the director by appointment.

Turn your back on the windows next to Central Control and pass through the two wooden bookcases.

The library's newest books start out on the New Books shelves you have just passed through. Occasionally displays in this area highlight more recreational reading in the collection, chosen by library staff and sometimes student workers.

Just past the shelves, and tucked in a corner by the stairs, is a piece by the late 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.

Move back toward Lelooska's unpainted pole and cedar panel.

The computers you're passing are a key resource for students, especially for printing purposes. Students receive a 650-page printing balance every year. On the other side of the staircase to your left is a lab of Macs.

Bear right around the red and orange furniture under the cedar panel, and follow the ramp or three stairs.

To the left of the clock is an elevator, with a stairwell directly across from it. Take the stairs or the elevator to the third floor.

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

With the moon window on your right side and behind you, proceed toward the large portrait of a woman in front of you.

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.

Books in this room include history and anthropology. 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 quad and turn left. Pass through the doors ahead of you, under a sign reading Books H–K.

In the next room, turn left and follow the brick wall toward the interior windows. Another piece of student art creates a corner of mystery and contemplation.

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.

These are Lelooska's original carvings for the four guardians that sit on poles outside the Agnes Flanagan Chapel; they loosely represent the four evangelists described in the Book of Revelation in the Bible. Lelooska described the commission as "scary" in an interview with the historian Chris Friday: "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 concrete casts of these wooden molds.

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 shelved in that area.

After you turn, offices for Digital and Data Services are on your left. 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 worth knowing about.

Every year, faculty elect seven students who have just completed their first year to the prestigious Pamplin Honor Society. Members have exclusive access to this room.

Continue from the Pamplin Society Room toward the windows. Follow the windows along the estate gardens.

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, and 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 development of a small college with a first graduating class of five students into the outward-looking, three-campus 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 far white wall, continuing along it past another stairwell and three group 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, all of which can 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 a new wing, you return to a non-quiet section of the library. Books on education and music, including musical scores, are shelved in this area.

Head back toward the large portrait of the woman, with the moon window on your right. Just before you reach the stairwell and elevator, turn left at the marble plaque.

The names on the plaque include two presidents of the college (Morgan S. Odell and John R. Howard), the architect (Paul Thiry, who also designed Agnes Flanagan Chapel), and Aubrey R. Watzek, the lumber baron to whom the building is dedicated.

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, take the large staircase in the middle of the atrium, or the elevator (back in the direction of the moon window).

There are a few more stops ahead. But before we conclude: what have you not seen on this self-guided tour?

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 is 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.
  • 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!

When you're ready to leave the building, make your way through the gates by the service desk. An elevator that leads 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.

Information Technology is on the lower level of Watzek Library. 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.

After you exit the building and have gone through the pair of lampposts, look back at the concrete cast of an owl.

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

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

The owl has become an unofficial mascot for Watzek Library, appearing in a stylized form on the website, signage, and social media. While the concrete owl has moved from its original location, as historic photos show, it upholds a decades-long tradition of welcoming all who come to the library.

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.