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.


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