Member of the Month

Lowell Walters – 3/2024

Lowell is the Director at Mississippi County Library System – Blytheville Public Library (Main Branch) in Blytheville, Arkansas (42,000 Population Served). Lowell has been a member of ACL for 12  years and is the convenor for the ACL Public Librarians Interest Group.

Describe yourself using a book title: King Bidgood’s In The Bathtub. This is because I like to have fun. I am interested in many things. And sometimes, I need to “pull the plug” by setting myself deadlines to get some things accomplished.

What’s the best thing about being a librarian? The variety of work and the skills required, especially in a smaller setting or organization.

What are you currently reading? The Warriors by John Jakes. The Life of D.L. Moody by William Revell Moody. And, believe it or not… Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler. I have eclectic tastes and interests; and in today’s American political climate, I want to know what Hitler wrote.

Describe ACL in three words: Holistic. Enriching. Real.

How do you as a librarian contribute to your community? Being responsible for the trajectory of service to the public of an entire county of a very conservative slant where it is still popular to be “Christian,” I try to live out my professional life in such a way that our communities see that a Christian can administer matters with a worldview that includes tolerance for opposing views and beliefs. I find affirmation and satisfaction in the Lord by not leaving my convictions at the door (as the ALA perspective would have it) and yet allowing God to convict others after I am purposeful in presenting my personal perspective. I attempt to model uncompromising and confident yet gracious beliefs, approaches, and actions to our communities.

I began my career as a librarian…after I realized that I really did not want to teach history. As I finished my bachelor’s degree in history, my faculty advisor suggested that I should go right into an ALA accredited library program. He said that he thought that I would be a good reference librarian because I had a solid, well-rounded base knowledge, but that I enjoyed only limited contact with students. His assessment was good for me.

What do you value about ACL? The Christian fellowship that revolves around our professional life.

How were you introduced to ACL? Through a notice on a bulletin board in the hallway at library school in 1991 — Clarion University of Pennsylvania, now PennWest Clarion.

How are you or have you been involved in ACL? A former indexer for CPI, a general helper in hosting a conference or two, presented several conference workshops over the years, current facilitator of the Public Library Special Interest Group.

Do you have any specific interests in the library world? Development of life enriching experiences to our clientele. One of the most interesting things that we are launching at this time is a STEAM-oriented, community model railroad which seeks to develop skills of various sorts across generations and the community as a whole.