Member of the Month

Michael Wells – 7/2023

Michael is the Library Director at Wilmington College in Wilmington, OH (1013 FTE). Michael has been an ACL member for ten years.

Describe yourself using a book title: The Power of a Praying Parent

What’s the best thing about being a librarian? For me, the best thing about being a librarian is the ability to work with a variety of people and to learn (both good and bad) from the experiences. Having worked at a variety of libraries over the years, I have been blessed to work with many great colleagues and customers and have loved learning about their lives and sharing my life with them.

I have loved the challenge of improving small libraries while facing budget constraints and staffing challenges. Still yet, the improvements would have never been possible without the great people I have had the joy to work with. I have also worked as a solo librarian in the past, and have profound respect for that type of role, but I find great joy in working with teams like the one I enjoy today at Wilmington College.

What are you currently reading? Antifragile – By: Nassim Talib

Describe ACL in three words: Blessings, Humbling, and Supportive

How do you (or How have you), as an academic librarian, contribute to your campus? I work very hard to integrate library services into the curriculum whenever possible. This year, we were able to play a much bigger role in our campus “Research Showcase” poster event for both Wilmington College and area high school students. Following the event, we were able to quickly create an online poster repository (using Omeka) for participants in the Showcase. Students who submitted their posters now have an online entry for their work that they can share on grad school applications, or on their resumes for years to come.

We are also in the process of a renovation to our library where we will have a new high-tech classroom built in the library. I have already received several comments from faculty who want to teach in the space and to integrate the library into their classes in ways that they have not done in the past.

I began my career as a librarian…after a decade of corporate IT work. Though my IT career was professionally rewarding, it was highly stressful and caused me to miss a lot of valuable things in life. I started at Miami University in 2006, and took a big pay cut to enter into something and I had no idea how it would turn out. I have been sincerely blessed to work in higher education and to play a small role in helping people build their dreams. Though stressful at times, my work as a librarian is perfect for me in every way, and I thank the Lord for having a vocation where He can use me to do what I can to improve the lives of others.

What do you value about ACL? I sincerely value the Christian perspective in our profession. As the world has grown more polarized, I personally have grown stronger in my faith. That personal growth has led me to be more compassionate for others over the years, and to understand that we are all children of God. Other library venues these days seem more and more political, and I greatly value hearing from others that I share a faith-based focus with.

Personally speaking, on September 30, 2021 my eight year old son experienced his first ever tonic-clonic seizure, which was a very traumatic event for our family. He has since been diagnosed with a very rare form of epilepsy that comes with learning regression, and a genetic defect known as CAGS or ANKRD17 disorder. During 2022, my membership with ACL lapsed briefly as my focus turned to all things family. The team at ACL reached out to me in early 2022, and provide me with a membership scholarship to stay as a member of ACL. This meant so much, and I will never forget it.

Today, my wife and I are working closely with a research team at Boston Children’s and Harvard to learn more about CAGS. Our son is doing great, and is learning at his own pace with an amazing team that supports him. Having a child with such an illness as epilepsy is never easy, but for me, it has resulted in profound thankfulness for each day, and for all the angels who help us out everyday.

How were you introduced to ACL? Brent Etzel and staff members from Cedarville University back in 2013.

How are you or have you been involved in ACL? Admittedly, I have always wanted to be MORE involved with ACL, however, time constraints have always been a challenge. Currently, I try to attend the “Current Library Directors” online conversations and have volunteered to be a mentor to new librarians. I am very eager to help with mentoring in any way I can because I do believe it is vital for our professional future and ACL specifically.

I am looking forward to the ACL Conference this summer because I am presenting a basic poster for an idea I call “Hopeful Books Week”. Hopeful Books Week is an idea where ACL members can come together to help create an annual event that showcases books of hope that are uplifting and promote positivity. We have so much discontent in our culture these days, and I know this takes a mental toll on our youth, and I feel that reading the right material can help reframe our thoughts toward gratitude and love for one another.

Do you have any specific interests in the library world? Library Technology, analytics, leveraging Friends of the Library groups for funding opportunities, and Artificial Intelligence