Jennifer is the Director at the Springfield Campus Library at Southwest Baptist University in Springfield, MO (2,805 FTE). She has been an ACL member since 2018.
Describe yourself using a book title: The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy I know that sounds weird, but at different times, I am one, or all four of these. I am always asking questions, seeking God’s wisdom, unsure of myself, yet striving to always be kind and to be a friend to all those I meet.
What’s the best thing about being a librarian? In some way, I believe I always wanted to be a librarian. I would help in the library in elementary school, shelving books. I created a library in the local homeless shelter for my Gold Award project in Girl Scouts that remained in operation until the shelter closed 25 years later. It wasn’t until I began my career as a public librarian, and later a health science librarian though that I truly realized how people gravitate to libraries when they are hurting or need a safe space. As a teacher, I believed the best thing was seeing the “ah-ha” moments in a student’s educational journey. As a teaching librarian, I still love those breakthroughs and cherish each one but even more, my cup is filled when a student tells me they come to the library because it is comforting, relaxing, or a welcoming place for them. I love hearing that we have succeeded in creating a space within the library where all of our students feel welcomed, valued, and wanted.
What are you currently reading? I am not a formatist, so I always have multiple reads going for various reasons on multiple devices!
Digital Audio: Say What you Mean: A Mindful Approach to Nonviolent Communication by Jay Oren Sofer
Kindle fun read: The Peacock Emporium by Jojo Moyes
Kindle Scholarship Read: The Power of Disability: 10 Lessons for Surviving, Thriving, and Changing the World by Al Etmanksi
Print for Review: Emily’s House by Amy Belding Brown
Print for Scholarship: Framing Health Care Instruction: An Information Literacy Handbook for the Health Sciences by Lauren M Young
Describe ACL in three words: Encouraging, Networking, ICE CREAM!
How do you (or How have you), as an academic librarian, contribute to your campus? I work very closely with my faculty as an embedded librarian at the master and doctoral level programs. At all levels I design research guides for courses and programs, I helped co-design a library orientation guide that can be embedded in all courses through the LMS, I do all of the collection development for the College of Health Professions and I serve/chair institutional committees.
I began my career as a librarian…while I was working on my MLIS. While I was conducting my student teaching I was frustrated with how little the students were able to use the library or knew about the library with the set public school curriculums – there was so much teaching to test. Therefore I decided teaching wasn’t for me and I should become a librarian. However, I didn’t really consult the Lord in the decision until after I submitted my application to a single graduate school program. I told my husband that if it was God’s will, I would get in, and if it wasn’t, then I wouldn’t, and that was when we started to pray – silly us. Not only did I get in, but I got a job in the first library I applied to as a part-time reference associate. Clearly, the Lord had plans for me and I was just late to the party. I graduated just over two years later and three years later I started my current role as the Director of the SBU Springfield Campus Library and the personal librarian to the College of Health Professions. I recently graduated with my Doctorate of Higher Education Administration and Instructional Design, as it is my passion to pass on my love of librarianship to future library movers and shakers.
What do you value about ACL? I value the relationships I am able to build with fellow Christian librarians around the globe. The networking through the listserv and at conferences is invaluable. Additionally, the sections and special interest groups that are available to members at no additional cost really make the monetary value of the ACL membership incredible as many of us are on limited professional development budgets or are covering these costs out of pocket.
How were you introduced to ACL? Ed Walton, the Dean of SBU Libraries
How are you or have you been involved in ACL? I am a member-at-large of the Liberal Arts Section, a mentor, and part of the research interest group and the information literacy group, and a book reviewer for The Christian Librarian.
Do you have any specific interests in the library world? I thought I would be a school librarian, as I studied young adult literature and culturally competent collection development, which I both still love, but I have been a Health Science Library director for 4 years and now I can’t imagine anything else! I also specialize in information literacy, embedded librarianship, the value of libraries, and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Libraries.