Librarianship as Ministry

A reflection on this week’s reading for Theological Librarianship class.

In my job search I have been asking myself questions about “calling” and “ministry”. This week’s readings seem to fit right in with my thoughts. Dr. Morris’ description of a typical day could describe a typical day in a secular university as well as in a Christian one. Beth Bidlack’s comparison of a seminary library with a university library of religious studies could also be extended out to a secular college library. I’m not saying all of these are the same, but the vocation of librarianship in general involves serving our patrons, and this is ministry. “Whatever you do, do as unto the Lord.” This scripture passage doesn’t just apply to a Christian environment, it means wherever you work. A librarian catalogs, answers reference questions, teaches a class, even shelves books to help people find information. I show the love of Christ in my conversations, even in a secular environment. I believe that we are each called to and have a ministry in our professions, no matter the environment.

The other side of that is the special nature of a seminary, where men and women are being trained for ministry in the church. My conclusion for myself is that work in a seminary library requires a different level of commitment; I must be committed to the spiritual work of the institution, and be in agreement with what is being taught, particularly if I am teaching. Seminary takes calling and ministry to a deeper and more direct level.

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