Member of the Month

Caleb May – 07/2022

Caleb is the Director of Library Services at Manhattan Christian College in Manhattan, KS (170 FTE). Caleb has been an ACL member since 2021. Follow Caleb on Twitter: @calebhmay

Describe yourself using a book title: There and Back Again

What’s the best thing about being a librarian? I love helping students and other patrons find the resources they need to be successful.

What are you currently reading? Bandersnatch: C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, and the Creative Collaboration of the Inklings by Diana Pavlac Glyer

Describe ACL in three words: Edifying, Elucidating, Exciting!

How do you (or How have you), as an academic librarian, contribute to your campus? I like to provide a safe haven where research needs can be met and deep studying can occur. I also listen to the hopes, fears, concerns, and dreams of the students and provide whatever help, comfort, support, or encouragement that I can. In addition to this, my wife, six kids, and I attend most home sporting events–GO THUNDER!

I began my career as a librarian… My professional career began just over twelve years ago when I accepted the position of Library Director at a public library in Kansas. I was fresh out of library school at the Emporia State University School of Library and Information Management (S.L.I.M.) and was thrilled to already have a director position in a public library. I was in Kansas for about five and a half years. While I was there, I did a little bit of everything as I was the only full-time employee with six part-time assistants. I manned the desk, did payroll, prepared and managed the budget, prepared all reports and statistics for the governing board and governmental entities wrote grants, purchased all supplies and materials, and occasionally did inter-library loan and cataloging. I also served as a representative to the board of the Southwest Kansas Library System (SWKLS)–two terms as budget committee chairman and one term as the President of the SWKLS Full System Board. I was honored during my time there to receive the Kansas Library Association President’s Award for Best New Professional at the 2013 KLA Conference. As an active member of the community, I served as an Elder in our Church where I taught Junior High Sunday School, wrote Sunday School and VBS Curriculum, preached sermons, lead small groups, visited the sick and elderly, and served as an active member of the governing team.

In the summer of 2015, I accepted a new position as the Director of a public library in Kentucky. While I was there, I not only oversaw every aspect of management, policy, and operation of the library but also presided over an $8 Million library renovation and expansion project. Unfortunately, my time in Kentucky did not end well as I was essentially “cancelled” for my personal political and religious views after five years of exemplary service. For about a year after my time there, I homeschooled my six children (a task usually conducted by my wife, Sarah, while she returned to work as a Home-health Nurse) and I applied for public library director positions around the country with no success. I then prayerfully began to apply to Christian College Libraries and was very pleased to be offered a position at Manhattan Christian College. Now that I have been at MCC for just over a year, I am loving the MCC family, my library, and the opportunity to preach a couple of times a month at churches that support the college, and the Manhattan community. I have also greatly enjoyed being active in ACL. I had a blast at the ACL conference and I look forward to more opportunities to learn and serve with ACL in the future!

What do you value about ACL? I love the shared community of like-minded, Christian Librarians. Conference was great too!

How were you introduced to ACL? My predecessors had been members.

How are you or have you been involved in ACL? So far, I’ve only contributed as I can to discussion on the list-serv and ILL, but I’d love to be more involved going forward.

Do you have any specific interests in the library world? History and Genealogy are my passions when I’m not helping patrons and students with theological resources or preparing for sermons.