Bracken Library hosts opening of new contemplation space

<p>A visitor fills a cup with coffee at Bracken Library&#x27;s newly-opened contemplation space Sept. 29, 2021. The opening of the area was celebrated with snacks and speeches from university faculty. <strong>Hannah Amos, DN</strong></p>

A visitor fills a cup with coffee at Bracken Library's newly-opened contemplation space Sept. 29, 2021. The opening of the area was celebrated with snacks and speeches from university faculty. Hannah Amos, DN

The contemplation space had its formal opening on the second floor of Bracken Library Sept. 29.

The opening drew a small group of people in the northeast alcove on the second floor. Faculty, including Matthew Shaw, dean of University Libraries, and Marsha McGriff, associate vice president for inclusive excellence, attended the event.

Both Shaw and McGriff gave speeches to introduce the new space in the library. Shaw highlighted the importance the space held for “contemplation, meditation and prayer” and thanked the attendees for their work on the contemplation space project. 

Matthew Shaw, dean of University Libraries, speaks at the formal opening of Bracken Library's new contemplation space Sept. 29, 2021. Shaw said the space will allow the library to be a space for both relaxation and learning. Hannah Amos, DN

“[The space] provides an accessible retreat where we can step away from the busy schedules and lives,” Shaw said. “I believe this contemplation space is a tangible way in which we are doing that to advance that goal of offering our students, faculty and community a quiet, nonsectarian place.”

McGriff told the audience how Shaw discussed the contemplation space with her and how the idea of the contemplation space was brought to fruition. She also mentioned the contemplation space in North Quad, and said these spaces create an inclusive area for people on and off campus. 

Chris Walker, Muncie Central High School principal, attended the event to celebrate the opening and gain ideas to implement contemplation spaces in Muncie Community Schools.

Brandon Million, assistant director of inclusive excellence at Ball State, said the contemplation space “helps create an atmosphere where everybody’s welcome [and] everybody’s valued.” 

Million also said the contemplation space aligns closely with Ball State’s Inclusive Excellence Plan. McGriff said the contemplation space can serve anyone, but people of religious minorities might find it more useful.

“Muslim students and faculty [and] staff in particular were praying in the bookshelves or praying in the stacks, praying in spaces where there was quiet,” McGriff said. “[Shaw] noticed a space and opportunity to provide a service.”

Bracken Library's new contemplation space stands empty on the northeast side of the second floor Sept. 29, 2021. The area is intended to give students and faculty a space to recharge, meditate and find quiet during the day. Hannah Amos, DN

The space has lights that dim down, as well as mats and pillows spread around the room for students to use. 

“My hope is that people will wander in one day and be able to think and sit and reflect,” McGriff said. “I have found through my practice that I am much more recharged and rejuvenated through practices [of] contemplation and meditation.”

Contact Hannah Amos with comments at


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