Atla Member Garrett Trott Shares New Book, ‘The Faithful Librarian’/
July 10, 2019
What does it mean to be a Christian librarian? A work to be published this fall by McFarland Publications, entitled, The Faithful Librarian, strives to answer that exact question.
For the longest time, if anyone asked that question of me, I would have just provided an awkward glance followed by silence. My journey to begin the discovery of an answer to that query began with a conviction: I understood that God desired me to give myself to him completely. Initially, I saw a pastoral or ministerial role as the ideal (and perhaps the only) means to do so, subsequently, this was my initial vocational pursuit. Due to some wonderful counsel, I chose an alternative path: librarianship. After the newness of this career path wore down, I found myself coming back to that conviction: how can I give myself completely to God when working in a library? What made this even more challenging was the fact that an even greater question loomed my mind: is it even possible to glorify God as a librarian?
After the newness of this career path wore down, I found myself coming back to that conviction: how can I give myself completely to God when working in a library? What made this even more challenging was the fact that an even greater question loomed my mind: is it even possible to glorify God as a librarian?
What I found most challenging at this particular time was that I did not have an answer to these questions. I sought some counsel from good friends, I did a bit of reading, but really could not arrive at an answer. It was about this time that I began my interviews for my current place of employment, Corban University in Salem, Oregon. Corban University is a member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU). When I was offered the position at Corban University, I was convinced that now, simply because I was working at a CCCU institute, I would know what it meant to be a Christian librarian. If I work for a Christian university, would that not make me a Christian librarian? A naïve assumption, but one to which I held dearly.
After the newness of the job wore off, that same question came back to me: what does it mean to be a Christian librarian? I was surprised. I thought I knew what it meant. The simplicity of my original assumption was accompanied by a restless heart that was not at peace over the issue. Looking back on this scenario, I am reminded of Romans 8:28 (ESV), “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” God allowed me to wrestle with this question again at this particular time because the pursuit of an answer would be incredibly beneficial.
Upon finishing my first year at Corban University, the Provost announced that the faculty would be working through a book during the next academic year: David Claerbaut’s Faith and Learning on the Edge. For those familiar with works related to faith and learning, you will acknowledge that Claerbaut’s work is one of several resources that discusses the faith and learning dialog. Claerbaut’s work provided a great introduction to the conversation.
Although it is a bit ironic, honestly, I had never heard of the faith and learning dialog prior to Claerbaut’s work. I was so involved with getting my feet wet, per se, in my first year as a librarian at Corban University that I really had little time to look at the bigger picture of what my colleagues were doing in relation to faith integration. Nor, did I find the time to dig into some of the resources in the CCCU that might have assisted in discovering more about the faith and learning dialog at that time. Regardless, I am thankful for Claerbaut’s work and its introduction to the faith and learning dialog.
I drank from Claerbaut’s work like an individual thirsting for depth and understanding. I found it refreshing, encouraging and engaging. It caused me to ask: “How could I glorify God through my day-to-day profession as a librarian?”
I drank from Claerbaut’s work like an individual thirsting for depth and understanding. I found it refreshing, encouraging and engaging. It caused me to ask: “How could I glorify God through my day-to-day profession as a librarian?” While Claerbaut does not directly answer this question, his work did provide a path leading to one. It was through that work (and several others subsequently read) that I began to understand how I could make a difference in the world for Jesus Christ through my profession as a librarian.
After reading Claerbaut’s work, I soon discovered a collection of essays edited by Gregory A. Smith, entitled, Christian Librarianship. This was another work that I savored and treasured. After reading these two works, the floodgates opened. I read whatever I could in relation to faith and learning, I began to direct my professional development opportunities toward integrating my faith in Jesus Christ toward my profession as a librarian. Needless to say, there were several efforts made that God used to shape and mold me, even though some did not come to full fruition. However, I have become very thankful for the opportunities to continually develop my understanding of how God can be glorified through my work as a librarian.
So, what is a Christian librarian? How can God be glorified through the work of librarianship? This book provides fifteen essays which answer those questions. Discover how librarians from a variety of differing institutions and contexts have manifested their faith through the profession of librarianship. The Faithful Librarian provides examples of glorifying God through the work of librarianship.
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