Dozens of African-American missions
mobilizers gathered on the campus of
CIU for a one-day conference in October,
challenging a new generation of African-
American missionaries to spread the
gospel to the unreached, particularly
Muslims. Jointly sponsored by Urban
Discovery Ministries (UDM) and the
Zwemer Institute for Muslim Studies at
CIU, the conference featured messages
by UDM leader Dr. Michael Fariss, CIU
President Dr. Bill Jones, and The Rev. Ed
Thomas, a missionary to Muslims. From
the perspective of an African-American,
Thomas described his experience of
bringing Muslims to Jesus where he
minsters in Europe.
A national conference on African-
American missions is scheduled for June
22-24 in Washington, D.C.
Columbia International University
students said they needed more space
for quiet study. Library Director Cynthia
Snell was listening. She responded with
a comfortable, enlarged area for study in
the G. Allen Fleece Library.
Snell used student surveys and focus
groups to gauge library needs. So,
as soon as Christmas break began,
several stacks of books on the second
floor were packed up and the shelving
disassembled. Some books were moved
to the first floor while others were
donated to a CIU alumnus. In their place
is cozy furniture, new cubicles, as well as
new study carrels, each carrel equipped
with individual lighting.
Snell said the need for the action
became obvious during finals week of
the fall semester.
“We had more people in here than we
had chairs. We had people sitting on
floors,” Snell said. “It’s amazing how
many students use the library.”
Snell says even though a large number of
books were permanently removed from
the library, that doesn’t mean they are no
“We removed any book that wasn’t
being used that was published before
the year 2000 that was available through
PASCAL,” Snell said.
PASCAL stands for Partnership Among
South Carolina Academic Libraries. It’s
a rapid book-delivery service enabling
students to request and receive books
from academic libraries across the state.
“We created more study area the
students were requesting, without them
losing access to the resources we had,”
Plus, Snell notes that many of the books
that were removed still had a smoky
stench from a fire that caused extensive
damage to the library in 2010.
The changes are driven by Snell’s
philosophy on overseeing a university
“We need to service the students and
service the faculty because we have
moved to a faculty-driven acquisition
system,” Snell said. “The librarians do
not pick the resources. (The faculty)
knows better when it comes to what their
students need to be successful in their
And when it comes to future student
requests, Snell says she will evaluate
them and see what she can do.
“Recently, we had students looking
around, and they asked, ‘Where are the
beanbag chairs?’” Snell said.
The old ones had lost their beans. Snell
Beanbag chairs, at total of 10, are
Library Listens, Study Space Expands
Sam Doster and Avika Bartlett take a
walk on the red carpet at the CIU Winter
Formal in December. Attendees made
a Hollywood-type entrance complete
with black backdrop, stage lights, and
Paparazzi-style photographers. Everyone
was a rock star for a night.