Member of the Month

Seferino Esparza – 07/2021

Seferino is the Acquisition-Reference Librarian and an Instructor at College of Biblical Studies – Houston in Houston, TX (355 FTE). He has been an ACL member since 2016.

Describe yourself using a book title: Knowing God by J.I. Packer. In all that I do, I want to know Christ.

What’s the best thing about being a librarian? There are two things that I enjoy about being a librarian: serving others and knowledge. It’s not a secret that at the heart of librarianship is serving others by assisting them with the information (or knowledge) they are seeking. On the one hand, we model Christ’s command to love others (service) and on the other hand, we provide hope (information). Information (or knowledge) can bring hope to a person who needs it.

What are you currently reading? Reading? You mean…what audiobook are you listening to? The last book I listened to was The Color of Comprise by Jemar Tisby. The next book on my list is The Road by Cormac McCarthy.

Describe ACL in three words: Fellowship, Learning, Opportunities.

How do you (or How have you), as an academic librarian, contribute to your campus? Prior to the Covid apocalypse, I had created an opportunity to work with a professor to give a short presentation on library literacy to his students since we did not have a more formal course/workshop. I developed a system where we (librarians) offered assistance with citations to our students. I also began, and still monitor the library’s social media presence and enhanced the library book displays. I participated in multiple Christmas committees for the college in the past years which included hosting our annual Christmas party for the college.

I began my career as a librarian…because of a small-town public library in Idaho in 2011. The ten years prior to working in libraries (public and academic), I saw my library position as just a job; I was blinded by policies and procedures. However, this small-town library taught me what it meant to serve the community and how a library can give hope. One day, a child had come in and wanted to check out some books. The child had a large fine on their account. I felt bad, but I knew the child was not allowed to check out. The library director happened to be nearby, and I consulted her on the situation. She told me to waive the fine and let the child check out the books because it was more important that they keep coming to the library and enjoy it than for us to collect the fine. It was that simple act of grace that helped me realize what librarianship can be. It might not be a big deal for many, but that moment opened my eyes as if Christ, Himself, was saying, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 19:14, ESV). Of course, a library is not the kingdom of heaven, but it can give hope to those who use it. It still took me years before I began my MLIS degree, but I always come back to that one place and one moment when I realized I wanted to be a librarian.

What do you value about ACL? For me, this goes back to the three words that I used to describe ACL. I value the people I have met through the Emerging Library Professionals (ELP) via Coffee with Colleagues. I value the learning environment ACL presents through conferences and workshops. Lastly, I value the opportunities that ACL provides to be involved. I hope I can take advantage of those soon.

How were you introduced to ACL? I was introduced to ACL by my colleagues at my current workplace.

Do you have any specific interests in the library world? I am always interested in what is new in the technology world. More importantly, I am interested in how libraries are using technology to create a better workflow, serve their patrons, and how it is used in library instruction.