Library Director Kelly Jacobsma
Jacobsma is the Genevra Thome
Begg Director of Libraries.
A member of the Hope library faculty since 1988, Jacobsma became
director of libraries on July 1, 2008, following the retirement of
long-time director David Jensen. Her appointment to the endowed position
became effective on July 1, 2009.
In addition to recognizing faculty members for excellence, endowed
chairs provide funding for summer research projects as well as some
salary support. The college has a total of 19 endowed chairs for
faculty and three endowed administrative positions.
Begg's interest in the college stemmed from the year early in the
20th century that her late husband Raymond had attended the high
school that Hope had operated in its earlier decades. Married only
11 years prior to his untimely death in 1956, they had visited
Hope and Holland together just once, because she wished to see
one of the places in which he had spent his youth. From that single
visit her relationship with and appreciation for the college grew.
"Genevra Thome Begg was a devoted and long-time friend of Hope
College," said Hope College President Dr. James E. Bultman. "We
at Hope are pleased when alumni support the college because of their
own outstanding experiences and when parents support Hope because
the college has made a positive difference in their children's lives,
but it is also very meaningful to us when someone outside of the
immediate Hope family values what the college has to offer and chooses
to support Hope and its mission."
Born and raised in Sparta, Wis., Genevra Thome Begg attended Ward-Belmont
Preparatory School in Nashville, Tenn. She was also a graduate of
Lawrence University in Appleton, Wis.
Following her husband Raymond's death, she established the Raymond
VanRenssalaer Begg Scholarship at Hope in his honor. She also added
to the fund over many years, and enjoyed corresponding with the dozens
of Hope students assisted by her generosity.
As she had received training in library science and worked for several
years in a library, she began planning to also give an endowed chair
for the director of libraries at Hope. She died at age 95 on November
2, 2007, and her love of libraries and the college resulted in her
bequest to establish the Genevra Thome Begg Chair.
"Our library has received national recognition for the high
quality of its work in serving undergraduate students, and Genevra's
generous gift of a chair affirms all of the library staff who have
helped build our outstanding program through the years," Bultman
said. "Kelly Jacobsma's vision for the program and her leadership
make her an ideal first recipient of the chair, and we are grateful
for the support that the endowment will provide as she and her staff
work together to continue and build upon the library's tradition
Jacobsma joined the library staff as a reference librarian, and
was promoted to head of public services in 1990 and associate professor
in 1995. She served as the library's acting director from January
to August of 1994 while Jensen was on a sabbatical leave. Among other
grant projects, she was co-director during 2001-02 of a joint initiative
with the department of English focused on information and literacy
writing funded through an SBC Ameritech Partnership Award for Independent
Her ongoing professional activities have included serving on committees
and in elected positions with the Michigan Library Association and
the American Library Association, and as a MeL (Michigan Electronic
Library) trainer on behalf of the Michigan Library Consortium. She
is a member of the American Library Association and the Association
of College and Research Libraries.
Prior to coming to Hope, Jacobsma was with Central Michigan University
for six years, first as a regional librarian and then as manager
of off-campus library services. She holds her bachelor's degree
from Northern Michigan University, and an MILS degree from the
University of Michigan.
The Hope library has 21 full- and part-time staff, who during the
school year are assisted by approximately 100 part-time student employees.
The five-story Van Wylen Library building, which opened in 1988,
is named for the college's ninth president and his wife, Dr. Gordon
J. and Dr. Margaret D. Van Wylen. The library provides 24/7 access
to thousands of digital scholarly resources including electronic
journals, books, reference works, images, music and databases in
addition to housing more than 370,000 volumes at the Van Wylen Library
and the Nykerk Hall of Music library.
In 2004, the Van Wylen Library was named the national winner in
the college category of the "Excellence in Academic Libraries
Award" presented by the Association of College and Research
more about establishing an endowed professorship