Grace Veach is the Dean of Library Services and Professor of Library Science/English at Southeastern University (FTE: 3798) in Lakeland,FL. She has been a member of ACL since 2002. You follow her library on Twitter @Steelmanlib.
Describe yourself using a book title: Quiet
What’s the best thing about being a librarian? There are lots of good things about being a librarian. First, if I mess up at my job, no one dies (at least, not yet!). I’ve always enjoyed the ability to take a look at all the new materials coming through and pick up bits of knowledge from them (that served me well on Jeopardy!) I can do a whole range of tasks in one day— it’s rarely, if ever, boring. Librarians are the diplomats of the academy; we can interact equally well with all Colleges and Departments, with students and faculty, with administrators and staff. We contribute to the mission of educating Christian young people. And I get to buy books with other peoples’ money!
What are you currently reading? I read about 20 books at a time in print and about 10-15 on my Kindle on the treadmill. (I can read the most boring classics on the treadmill, because even reading the most boring book is better than looking at the wall!) So on the treadmill I’m reading Count of Monte Cristo and a book called I Have Asperger’s. In print, I just finished Claudius the God and Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, and I’m reading Not Just Where to Click, How to Deliver a TED Talk, a book of poetry by Scott Cairns, The Way to Rainy Mountain, Fangirl, All the Light We Cannot See, and more. Regency romances are my go to comfort read.
Describe ACL in three words: Welcoming, Networked, Inquisitive
How do you, as an academic librarian, contribute to your campus? Wow. I’ve been here 15 years now, and I’ve been involved with a lot of different aspects of Academics. I started the Writing Across the Curriculum Committee in 2011 and have been chairing it since then. Last year we passed a Writing Intensive Initiative, which I’m running until we can hire a Director of Writing. I teach two face-to-face Composition classes every semester, and that’s one of the most fulfilling aspects of my work. I love being able to get to know students at a deeper level than the typical one-shot. This year I’m chairing the Gen. Ed. Committee and we’re working on a revision of the Gen. Ed. So I keep busy!
I began my career as a librarian...When I was 12 or 13, I offered to volunteer in our small town’s library, because it felt like home. That summer the job turned into a paying job and that was my job all through high school. I felt so mature when my boss (the librarian and the only other paid employee) would be gone and I’d be running the library for the day! When I went to college, the library was still my home, and I worked through college, eventually becoming a student circulation supervisor. One cool thing about that job was that I got to work in the Special Collections at Wheaton; I had the job of sorting through Madeleine L’Engle’s personal correspondence. No wonder I stayed in library work after that beginning! My first job out of college was at the Billy Graham Center Library, where I was mentored in librarianship by Ferne Weimer. Many of the connections I made at Wheaton (Dan Bowell, Linda Lambert, John Thompson, and of course, Ferne) were folks I was excited to become reacquainted with when I joined ACL.
How were you introduced to ACL? I became aware of ACL when I was at Wheaton College as a student worker and working my way through library school in the 1980’s, but joined when I came to Southeastern University in 2001. At my first conference, I reconnected with people who had been librarians at my undergrad library and people who I worked with in my first job out of college. These connections going back years are precious to me!
What do you value about ACL? I mostly value the networking and the many friends I’ve made. I feel like I know someone at just about every Christian college library– how valuable is that !?! I also enjoy the email list and the conferences, of course.