Jeff is the Web and Theological Librarian at Cornerstone University (FTE: 1,600) in Grand Rapids, MI. He has been a member of ACL since 2016.
Twitter Handle: @jalash
Describe yourself using a book title: There are two book titles that come to mind that describe what I hope to embody in my life: The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis and Desiring the Kingdom by James K.A. Smith.
What’s the best thing about being a librarian? I love being able to walk alongside students and faculty as they work through a research project or paper. We, as librarians, not only have the privilege of helping others find information, but we often get the opportunity to serve as a sounding board for ideas and to provide encouragement through some of the most challenging periods in the research and writing process. Also, I really like the variety in my work. On a given day, I may get to design a web graphic, post on social media, answer reference questions, order books for the collections in my subject areas, and teach an information literacy session. It definitely keeps things interesting!
What are you currently reading? Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis (again), The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind by Mark Noll, Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin, and The Neighboring Church by Brian Mavis and Rick Rusaw
Describe ACL in three words: Enriching, Supportive, Collaborative
How do you (or How have you), as an academic librarian, contribute to your campus? I teach information literacy sessions within a variety of courses across all three principal academic units. This past fall, I began teaching a Program Intro course at the seminary for new seminarians. I am a grader for the first-year experience course for undergraduates. I also serve on a couple of campus committees including the Core Curriculum Committee and the Academic Council for Professional and Graduate Studies.
I began my career as a librarian…after serving in a variety of ministry positions over a 12 year period. At the time, I was seeking out a part-time position to supplement my income as a pastor of a small rural church. My wife suggested looking at libraries so I touched base with Fred Sweet who was the library director at my alma mater at the time. He was looking to fill a full-time position and encouraged me to consider librarianship as my next season of ministry. The team at Miller Library graciously brought me on board in the summer of 2016 and I finished my MLIS this past summer. I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the care, encouragement, and influence of my Miller Library colleagues as I’ve grown into this position. I wouldn’t be where I am right now in many ways without their help and support.
What do you value about ACL? There are many things to appreciate about ACL. I am thankful for the collaborative culture that has been thoughtfully cultivated throughout the organization. I appreciate the opportunities to learn from and with librarians from similar contexts as my own. Additionally, I value the integration of Christian faith and librarianship in the various programs and offerings of the organization. It is the Christian faith characteristic that makes this organization unique among the many great library organizations that exist.
How were you introduced to ACL? My colleagues at Cornerstone encouraged me to join when I first came on staff at the library.
How are you or have you been involved in ACL? I have attended the annual conference and was a presenter at the past conference.
Do you have any specific interests in the library world? Technology, social media, theological librarianship, the role of libraries in theological education, information literacy, aesthetics in libraries.