Artis is the Director of Library Services at the College of Biblical Studies in Houston, TX (343 FTE). He has been an ACL member since 1996.
Describe yourself using a book title: A book title describing me is How to Listen to God by Dr. Charles Stanley, because before I make any decision I want to be sure it is God, not myself, leading me. I always want to be where God wants me to be and stay centered on God’s will for my life whatever it is. I desire to be in the center of God’s will doubly because, besides being a librarian for 25 years, I have been a pastor for over 37 years.
What’s the best thing about being a librarian? Every time a student asks me a question, and I don’t know the answer to it, I gain more knowledge by helping that student find his or her information. By this, I stay growing in knowledge to help the next student, and I learn something new I did not know before. Next, I love to help struggling students succeed and pass their courses with good grades and graduate.
What are you currently reading? I am reading Evidence That Demands a Verdict by Josh McDowell to help in my next church Bible study.
Describe ACL in three words: Sharing, Caring, and Daring: “Sharing” resources, “Caring” about other members, and “Daring,” bold enough to try something new.
How do you (or How have you), as an academic librarian, contribute to your campus? Besides being responsible for all the library’s operations and staff, I teach literacy in the classrooms at the professor’s invitations and co-teach the college’s advanced research and writing course with the English composition professor. In the past, I have taught an elective course called the “Comprehensive Guide to Biblical Research.” Being a pastor, I also help encourage and counsel hurting students. I do not stop being a pastor when I come to the campus to run the library.
I began my career as a librarian… I was just a student and pastor at the then Houston Bible Institute (now the College of Biblical Studies Houston) with no thought of being a librarian when the college’s president called me with a job offer. The college’s mission statement had a focus on the African-American Christian community at that time. So, in 1994, as it moved to accreditation with then AABC (now ABHE), the college wanted an (1) African-American, (2) male, (3) who knew Bible and theology, and had a (4) Masters in library science. They could not find those four things in combination in one person. I had taken courses from the school’s president and the academic dean, and I had done live radio question and answer programs with them on Houston’s Christian radio station, so they knew me well. They called me in December 1994 and asked if I was willing to be sent by the school’s funding to complete my biblical associate’s degree, then a bachelor’s degree, and finally a Master’s in Library Science (MLS) and become the college’s librarian. I agreed and here I am 25 years later as the school’s library director. The college then went on to pay for another master’s degree in Christian education at Dallas Theological Seminary.
What do you value about ACL? What I value about the ACL is the practical, everyday, down-to-earth struggles shared within the membership in the Discussion List. It is great. The willingness of the members in sharing information, assistance, or resources without any hesitation is another thing I really appreciate.
How were you introduced to ACL? I was introduced to ACL by my library mentor Mrs. Sharon Leafe in 1995. She was a librarian and wife of one of the college’s professors and guided me at the college and through my library science degree program.
How are you or have you been involved in ACL? I was trained at the ACL 2012 Conference in Florida to become an ABHE library site evaluator, and I taught a workshop at the ACL 2015 Conference on “Assessing Your Library’s Effectiveness.”
Do you have any specific interests in the library world? My specific interests in the library world are Bible and theology because I am a pastor of 37 years and world history because we keep repeating it but don’t learn from it. World history lets me see where we are going again.