Globalization for the Theological Librarian

I had not thought about “globalization” as documenting worldwide Christianity; but of course learning about and respecting other people and cultures requires information, and that information has to come from somewhere. As an adult I developed a fascination with history. I took an archives class and interned in the special collection/archives of Samford University, and was astounded by the thought that today will one day be history. What needs to be documented today? What needs to be remembered 50 years from now? And how do we preserve that documentation?

The questions are more complicated when they concern another part of the world. In America most of us do not have experience with the rest of the world. As far as American culture is concerned, the melting pot really has melted. But we must not remain so America centered that we do not interact with other cultures. Marginalizing other cultures does them a disservice. And as far as missions goes, we are not called to make disciples of America, but disciples of Christ.

We as librarians can facilitate globalization in our schools by forging partnerships with international schools and along our respective denominational lines. These partnerships will allow our faculty and students to not just learn about other cultures, but to interact and partner with our brothers and sisters all over the world, learning from each other on many levels. Sharing resources and stories, and preserving those as history, can only benefit both cultures. What an exciting prospect!

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Surviving Grad School: or anything else

Two and one half years ago I found myself needing a career.  My husband of 26 years had left and I had to support myself. I immediately landed a third part-time job at 2nd & Charles, a used book store, which put me on the path to library school.

I am now in my last semester of a Master’s in Library Studies degree.  Before returning to school I had spent the previous 26 years as a housewife, raising and homeschooling my four children, working part time doing background checks, and teaching martial arts (stories for another day).

Since starting school 1 ½ years ago I have finished that divorce, suffered from fatigue related to an illness, worked 2 or 3 part time jobs at a time to support myself and my youngest, tried to help my four children in college, cared for one of those kids who has chronic daily migraines, taken 2-3 classes at a time, and maintained a 4.0 GPA. My father passed away as the current semester started 2 weeks ago. Writing it out in a list like that is overwhelming… but right now I need to remind myself of what I’ve already been through and survived, and even thrived.

I started this semester behind due to the death of my dad. When I got home from Texas I felt so overwhelmed with work and school and the never ending job hunt, in addition to grieving Daddy’s loss and worrying about my mom. It has been a very long two weeks. Yesterday I took some time to ponder all of these things. In an effort to keep moving and get through the last leg, I thought about this journey I’m on and how I have managed up to this point. It occurs to me that my list might be of use to someone else. These are the things that keep me moving and sane.

  1. Accept the fact that you do not have to have a 4.0 GPA.
    1. Read the abstract, intro, and conclusion. Skim everything else for relevant or interesting information.
    2. There is just not time to edit every paper 3 times. Sometimes not even 1 time. Turn it in and move on to the next thing.
  2. Work smarter. I recommend the book, Do More Better by Tim Challies.
    1. Todoist is a great tool. Pick some kind of planning system and stick with it.
    2. Evernote is also a great tool.
  3. Do the next thing.
    1. Plan out the big projects in advance. Look at the big picture, divide it into weekly and daily goals and tasks, and then keep working on the next thing.
    2. Work ahead whenever possible.
    3. Above all, do not wait until the last minute to start something!
  4. Be realistic in my expectations of myself. If you cannot do anything requiring thought after 9:00pm (or before 9:00am), don’t even consider those times for doing homework.
  5. Budget your money, your time, and your energy. I had to learn to budget my energy last semester when I had an overloaded schedule and fatigue. It can be done.
  6. There is not enough time or energy to do everything. My house will not be neat, my meals will not take a lot of time, I will not be able to do everything I want to do. But this season of life will end, keep your eye on the goal.
  7. Remember that it does take time to live life. Kids, parents, laundry, meals, groceries – all that life stuff takes time and has to fit in somewhere.
  8. I must also plan down time for myself. I have a list of things I enjoy that take very little time, planning, or money. Every day I try to work in something from that list. An audio book while I drive, reading something for fun while I eat, crocheting during class, dinner with a friend, a walk or a hike, and occasionally even the ultimate pointless pleasure: watching TV for an hour and playing with my Legos. Write your own list.
  9. Plan time to exercise. I have been very active in martial arts the last 8 or 9 years, and suddenly there was no time for it. But I have learned that if I will plan time to exercise I am more productive afterwards. I do a short stretching routine several times each day, I walk during my lunch break, and plan longer walks or workouts on the shorter work days or days with no class. This is the first thing I tend to cut out when time is short, but I always regret it when I do.
  10. Communicate with professors when conflicts or the unexpected emergencies happen. My professors have all been very understanding when I had even normal trips or life that interfered with class or schoolwork; when Daddy died they were all very considerate about assignments and missed classes. But if they don’t know why you are not in class or why your assignment was late they can’t give you extra time or extra help.
  11. Work on relationships. You need people, even when you are so busy you are overwhelmed.
    1. Family
    2. Friends
    3. Co-workers
    4. Classmates
    5. Teachers and Mentors
  12. Plan time to think and ponder life. I am an introvert, and I need time to sit with my journal and my Bible and a cup of coffee every morning.
  13. Lastly and most importantly, overarching all the things listed above, is my faith in God. I know that I am fulfilling His Purpose for me, and I trust Him to lead me each step. He will give me the strength and the resources to do what He has called me to do. I trust Him no matter what comes in the future, whether good or bad; I have seen Him work for my good even in the midst of terrible circumstances. I would never have chosen this life for myself, but I have never been happier than I am right now. His Plan for me is far better than anything I imagined.
    1. Stay in the Word.
    2. Stay in the church.

Theological Librarianship

I am in a Theological Librarianship class at the University of Illinois. Each week we write a short essay from our class readings. It occurred to me that this blog would be a good place to post those. Here is the first:

There is a book my children loved called “The Library Dragon”, about a librarian who was a dragon. We librarians often have a reputation of being the dragon guardians of books. As the library dragon learned, the books we are entrusted with must not be our primary focus. Rather, our patrons and colleagues must be our focus. Our job is connecting the people of the past (the books), with the people of today (students and faculty). Thus we form relationships and community with our current colleagues and patrons which reaches back to include the people of the past through books.

As I scanned the readings this week I was struck by a common thread running throughout the history of the ATLA and theological librarianship – an emphasis on relationship and community. ATLA was created to preserve, catalog and share resources, but the underlying purpose has always been to connect those resources to the students and faculty that we as librarians serve. This carried over into serving each other within the ATLA. Each mention of a committee or organization seemed to include a mention of fellowship that was enjoyed and friendships that were formed. Even last week’s class gave the sense that relationship and community are an important part of what we do.

Theological librarianship is about relationships and community. We connect with our colleagues, with our students and faculty, and with the past. Through each of these is a common search for connection with God.

Welcome to LS 566

Tweeting twitter, blogging blog… just when I was beginning to back away from social media. I understand the concept of the Personal/Professional Learning Network (PLN), and probably it will be beneficial in the long run. But I find that all too often social media removes me from where I am in the moment, and it distracts me from living life here and now, from seeing and paying attention to the people I am with. On the flip side it keeps me in contact with family and friends all over the world, and the point of the PLN is in part to develop contacts and colleagues that I would never be able to meet or keep up with otherwise. So here we go.

TweetDeck made the twitter thing much easier. Last year I started a Twitter account, followed a few funny people, never tweeted… and ultimately put it out of mind. So I can see myself getting on TweetDeck and only looking at what I have to when I am pressed for time. It was easy to get on, I went to the web page and it automatically signed me up.

Feedly is my next task, and watching Dr. MacCall put our blogs into his Feedly makes me sure it will not be a problem getting that going either. That will be tomorrow’s project.

Here’s the think about me and technology. I’m of the generation that first saw computers in high school, first used them in college, and owned one when they were still fairly new. It may take me a bit longer, but I have discovered I can figure out how pretty much anything works. Then I either get sucked into the #thisissocool and spend too much time playing with it, or #ireallydontcareihavestufftodo and walk away. How’s that for hashtags?

Mostly I have #senioritis and want to finish school and find a full time job. But I am also pretty excited about my classes this semester (Metadata, Cataloging, and Theological Librarianship), and pretty overwhelmed that I am starting everything a week late due to the death of my father. So bear with me while I try to catch up and keep up.