Member of the Month

Kathy Kempa – 01/2018

Kathy is the Reference and Access Services Librarian at Southeastern University’s Steelman Library in Lakeland, FL (6,000 FTE).

Describe yourself using a book title: Life After Life by Kate Atkins. I keep trying to get it right.

What’s the best thing about being a librarian? For me, the best thing about being a librarian, is the variety of ways we can help students, faculty, and the public.

What are you currently reading? I am currently reading 21 new historical fictions published by independent presses for Foreword’s 2017 INDIES Awards. (I am reading three books per week in order to complete the 21books by May 15, which is their publishing deadline).

Describe ACL in three words: Christian / Caring / Sharing

How do you (or How have you), as an academic librarian, contribute to your campus? As the reference and access services librarian, I answer reference questions in person, online, and by phone; I teach information literacy (one-shot) which could be comprised of library skills, database use, style formats, and/or framework concepts; I supervise and oversee the staff and functioning of circulation, stack control, ILL, course reserves; I am the library liaison to the Nursing, Science, and Math Departments; as a faculty member, I attend meetings and contribute to several faculty committees.

One thing I wish I had known as a beginning librarian… is how rewarding and challenging it is to be a Christian, academic librarian. Most of my library career I was a public librarian. I was a cataloguer, library director, manager of a system-wide ILL department, children’s services librarian. While each of those positions offered variety and friendships, I tired of them after some years. Now, I am constantly learning and stretching beyond my current skills as an academic librarian. I love the freshness of each new school year and the sweet heartache of watching my favorite students graduate. And I am truly grateful to be able to work in the Lord’s House. I really do feel as if I am a tree planted beside running water, producing fruits in all seasons.

What do you value about ACL? I really value the members of ACL. I see how generous they are about sharing their time and talents in their work. I see the dedication and commitment of members who see their library work as “service” rather than as “career.” And I love that members, both working and retired, are all striving to show Christ in what they do. Both the annual conference and the journal (TCL) provide information and instruction on how to do librarianship better. ACL members are a constant source of inspiration and encouragement.

How were you introduced to ACL? My boss and mentor, Grace Veach, recommended that I join ACL during my introduction to my job at Southeastern.

How are you or have you been involved in ACL? I have been blessed to be able to work with skilled librarians in what in ACL is a large-ish school, although, as schools go, it is not all that big. This school size has allowed me some time to explore different ways of doing library instruction and time to research alternative ways to guide student employees. Because I have the opportunity to explore and learn, I feel that I then have the obligation to share what I have learned. I have tried to contribute to the ACL conference every time I’ve been able to attend. I have submitted multiple book reviews and an article to The Christian Librarian over my membership years, as another contribution.

Do you have any specific interests in the library world? I am particularly concerned about sharing the wealth of information available through the library with students and faculty. That concern has brought me to having a passion for the Frameworks. The Frameworks can provide guidelines about how to handle information and understandings about why information is powerful. I think the Frameworks offer Christian librarians a way to share gospel values.