Robert is the Scholarly Communications Librarian at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, KY (1104 FTE). Robert has been an ACL member since 2010.
Describe yourself using a book title: The Librarian as Missionary
What’s the best thing about being a librarian? I really enjoy being able to help people connect with a subject, particularly students. To listen to them talk about a subject and then be able to direct them to the right resource or topic to help encourage them to go deeper and learn more is always a great feeling.
What are you currently reading? Holiness and Pentecostal Movements: Intertwined Pasts, Presents, and Futures (Pennsylvania State University Press, 2022)
Describe ACL in three words: Faithful, Committed, and Passionate
How do you (or How have you), as an academic librarian, contribute to your campus? I oversee archives, digitization projects, and copyright, and work with Ph.D. students. In addition, I am the editor of The Asbury Journal and oversee the work of First Fruits Press, which is our open-access digital press that has around 500 items including reprinted rare materials and new original books. With all of this, I am also a member of the mission school, where I teach classes, and serve on the Institutional Review Board.
I began my career as a librarian…A long time ago, in seventh grade, I desperately wanted to get out of Home Economics. They announced that student workers for the school library could get out of this class, and I jumped at the opportunity! This fueled a love of libraries (and I still can’t sew!). My passion for missions took me to China for two years to teach English after studying Anthropology, and I became fascinated by the subject of missiology. As I finished up my Ph.D. in Intercultural Studies at Asbury Theological Seminary, there was a need for a library liaison with the mission school, so the Seminary paid for me to get a library degree. This has tied in with exposure to some theological libraries in El Salvador, where my wife is from. So many places desperately need access to resources, and this encouraged my move into digitization projects. Together, these ideas helped unite my love of missions with library work. Learning how to serve God and God’s people through information literacy and access has become my way to be a missionary, even if I seldom leave the country!
What do you value about ACL? I value its commitment to Christ, but also how it functions to help smaller Christian organizations to network and solve problems together.
How were you introduced to ACL? By my supervisor when I first became a professional librarian.
How are you or have you been involved in ACL? Since 2014 I have been part of the CILA team, which works to help international librarians. This fits well with my own background in missions, and my desire to help global theological education.
Do you have any specific interests in the library world? Archives and Digitization