Zen Bench



The Zen Bench is constructed of granite and redwood in the style of traditional Japanese carpentry and the joints are clearly visible in a celebration of structure. The redwood base is notched and fitted, and the top is solid granite — two-thirds smooth and one-third rough-hewn. On the top surface of the bench, there is an indented area filled with polished stones in water, symbolizing tranquility.

The bench was purchased and placed in the courtyard in 1999 as a memorial to Library staff member Steve Oserman. Steve began working in the Library as a shelver while in high school and continued during the summers while attending college and graduate school. Preferring library work to writing and teaching, he accepted a position as Reference Librarian. During the recession years of the 1980s, Steve and a colleague created an Employment Resource Center at the Library and he became widely known as the “job man,” was interviewed by local and national media, and spearheaded a national movement to encourage all libraries to develop services for those seeking employment. Later, with colleague Frances Roehm, Steve wrote the first book on Internet job searching. His death in 1998 prompted an outpouring of contributions to the Library, and it was decided to honor him with a lecture series and a piece of art. The Zen Bench was chosen because of Steve’s interest in Eastern thought and religion, and his love of the outdoors.

The Zen Bench is not currently on display.


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Physical Dimensions

53 1/2 x 24 x 16 1/2 in.