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Member of the Month - February 2015

Elizabeth Ponder - February 2015

Elizabeth Ponder is the Manager of Instruction & Information Science at East Texas Baptist University in Marshall, Texas. Elizabeth has been a member of ACL since 2013.

Describe yourself in three words: Curious, Introverted, Sarcastic.

What are you currently reading? The Blue Parakeet by Scot McKnight, Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God’s Work by Tim Keller, & The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein.

Describe ACL in three words: Connecting, Inspiring, Leading.

What do you value about ACL? During my interview process at East Texas Baptist University, then president, Dr. Dub Oliver, asked me as a Christian why I had chosen librarianship as my profession. My somewhat sarcastic retort was that there really hadn’t been a librarianship track at Super Summer (Baptist Youth Camp), but I felt like I was called to service within education, specifically librarianship. After being hired, I was asked to serve as the Program Coordinator for our ETBU Center of Excellence in Christian Scholarship (CECS), which helps our faculty focus in on faith and learning. Both of those experiences helped me begin to wonder about my faith and my discipline, beyond the somewhat obvious, but important, servant piece of librarianship. I then began searching for an organization that supported and helped Christian librarians develop and was so pleased to find ACL. This past summer I was able to attend my first ACL Conference and I must say overall what I have valued about ACL is the connection that I have with other Christian librarians. So often our discipline can be ultra-secular and it can feel a bit lonely to be one of the few that is speaking into the world of librarians through a lens of faith. Being a member of ACL has allowed me to express my thoughts to and solicit advice from fellow librarians on similar paths. Quite honestly, I'm enjoying the company! ACL has helped me to think deeper about my vocation and about information in light of a Christian worldview.

What do you as an academic librarian contribute to your campus? On my campus, I serve as the Manager of Instruction and Information Services - a fancy way of saying that I handle instruction and reference. I am fortunate in that I get a lot of face time with the students and the faculty at ETBU. Since I have started this position, I have had a real sense of calling in helping Christians understand the importance of good stewardship with information and ultimately, I hope that helping students understand the information world is one of my primary contributions. I am passionate about information literacy and how that can be viewed through our call as Christ followers to be bearers of the truth. When I talk to students I try to help them think about how we can use credible information as a means for conveying the truth to others. It is such an exciting time in the world of information, but one of the challenges that comes with that is that I believe it is harder than ever to make sure that the information we share is the truth.

In your own words: I was the undergrad student who sat in my senior year of education Children's Literature course and thought, "Oh yeah, I forgot I wanted to be a librarian." Truth be told, while lots of kids play doctor or teacher, I remember playing librarian with my little sister when we were young. I'm fairly certain the books were organized and there was a due date, although I'm not sure if I charged late fees! The story goes on from there. I had taught Reading in the middle grades for a few years (and enjoyed it!) when life circumstances directed me back to pursuing my MLIS from The University of North Texas. During the time that I was a grad student I was able to work at my local public library in Adult Services and upon graduating, moved on to serve as the Collection Development Librarian. From there I moved to Marshall, Texas to combine my passions - librarianship and education - by serving as the reference and instruction librarian from East Texas Baptist University. I continue to be thankful for the ways that God has allowed me to work in His world and in the words of Tim Keller, to participate in work "as a vehicle for God’s loving provision for the world."