Member of the Month

David Michels – 11/2023

David is the Public Services Librarian at the Sir James Dunn Law Library, Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada (545 FTE in the Law School and 19,000 FTE University wide). David has been a member of ACL since 2016.

Describe yourself using a book title: The Monster at the End of this Book. This is a children’s book feature Sesame Street’s Grover. [Spoiler] Grover is warned that there is a monster at the end of the book, and at each page tries to prevent you from reading further. At the last page we discover Grover is the monster at the end of the book. I tend to overthink and over analyze, trying to prepare for all possible outcomes (and monsters). God is teaching me to walk by faith, not worry about how the book ends, and let him handle the monsters (Job 41:1ff).

What’s the best thing about being a librarian? I get to be a part of my students learning journey, collaborate with great library and teaching colleagues, and answer unanswerable questions all day long! Every day is really a new adventure.

What are you currently reading? I just finished Jackie Hill Perry’s Gay Girl, Good God and Rebecca McLaughlin’s Confronting Christianity: 12 Hard Questions for the World’s Largest Religion. I serve on a board of a local youth ministry, and I am trying to understand how I can better walk alongside the youth we serve.

Describe ACL in three words: Faith. Mind. Heart.

How do you (or How have you), as an academic librarian, contribute to your campus? I am the Public services Librarian: I lead the reference and instruction team, manage circulation, and address facility issues. I have served as an instructor in the Legal Research and Writing program, the Prelaw program, and as a part-time professor in the School of Information. I serve on a variety of law school, university, and consortial committees and working groups. When I find the time, I co-author and co-present with wonderful colleagues from inside and outside the library. Perhaps some of the least obvious yet most rewarding contributions, are the opportunities to mentor new professionals. I hope they learn as much from me as I learn from them.

I began my career as a librarian… I trained for the pastorate and served a decade in church ministry. This was not the right fit and realizing that the library was always my happy place, I went to library school to be a theological librarian. There were no openings when I graduated, and having a young family to support, I took a temporary job in a law library. Although it has been often challenging, this was the Lord’s provision as my family grew. I have been there for 23 years, promoted and tenured, but still remind my colleagues it is only temporary. I am glad that I have many great opportunities to teach outside the library as well (although if I am honest, I would still prefer to teach Bible Literacy than Information Literacy). In 2014 I completed an Interdisciplinary PhD in religious studies and information science, exploring information seeking of leaders of churches in transition. This brought two streams of my life together and enriched my ability to serve our graduate students. I look forward to what happens next!

What do you value about ACL? I belong to several professional and academic associations. Most are collegial, but I always feel that I should leave my faith at home. Having a community, where we can share our faith with each other is wonderful.

How were you introduced to ACL? I first encountered ACL while looking for resources for church librarians in my area. I was intrigued, the membership fee was reasonable, so I thought (cautiously) this was worth exploring.

How are you or have you been involved in ACL? Being in Atlantic Canada it is challenging to participate in events in person, so the online conferences have been wonderful. I have been able to participate in discussion groups, the listserv, contribute book reviews, and hopefully in the future I can meet my colleagues face-to-face (I mean this side of heaven).

Do you have any specific interests in the library world? Legal literature, information literacy, games and learning.