Thursday, May 30, 2013

Christian Librarianship Part 3

Donald G. Davis, Jr., and John Mark Tucker presents a theology of work in their essay, "The Master We Serve: The Call of the Christian Librarian to the Secular Workplace." The authors think that Christian Librarians have a calling and can serve God in the library. In addition, Davis and Tucker believe God ordained work since God put Adam to work before the Fall. They disagree with "the notion that work may be categorized into sacred or secular activities" (42). The authors believe we work for the Lord in our work. Colossians teaches that we must "put our whole heart" into our work (Col. 3:24). The authors believe we can be witnesses in our work. We can do this through mentoring, counseling, affirming, and interacting.

Davis and Tucker how different librarian tasks can show concern for others. The reference interview can help to meet a researcher's need. Catalogers can think of the searcher as they make subject headings. Collection development librarians "can acquire materials that portray a biblical perspective on a variety of topics and thus maintain a balance of worldviews in the marketplace of ideas and ideologies" (45). These librarians can make sure the collection is balanced providing information for all legitimate sides on an issue.

In chapter four of Christian Librarianship John B. Trotti discusses "The Theological Library: In Touch with the Witnesses." Trotti believes theological librarianship is a ministry.  He states, "I conceive of my work and that of my staff as a ministry as well as an aid in multiple future ministries" (49). In addition, the author writes that librarians help researchers connect with the witnesses of the past. Trotti notes, "We are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses--past and present--speaking, dialoguing, sharing with those who would be witnesses today"(49). Some emphasize the the library as a warehouse of knowledge. The author sees the library as more personal. Instead, he sees the library as a ministry. It is more focused on the people. "Its collections are broad and deep; its policies serve people; and its staff are partners in the learning process" (48). In addition, Trotti thinks "service must continue to be the library's number one priority" (52).

In chapter five Stanford Terhune analyzes "The Impact of the Christian Faith on Library Service." He thinks it is "the purpose of the Christian librarian to help order and structure . . . truth and assist faculty and students as they struggle to discover and organize that truth into a Christian worldview" (58). He believes it is the Christian College's job "to educate its students, to equip them so that they can effectively function in the world in Chris's service" (58). The Christian library can support this goal through providing resources and services to the student. It can make the student "aware of the heritage of Christian thought, the Christian history within which the thought was developed, the current state of Christian thought and action in various fields of human activity, and the thought patterns of his culture" (59-60).

The Christian library is instrumental in providing the resources needed by the researcher. Terhune looks at five different areas of the collection: reference: The Reference Collection, The Christian Classics, Church History, The General Collection and Specialized Collections.

The library provide not only resources. In addition, they provide services. Terhune states, "Educating students and helping them use the library is a critical service if they are to realize the full value of the library's resources and use them to educate themselves, to seek God's truth, and comprehend how they can work for God's purposes in society" (62). The librarians are teachers and the library is a teaching library. The author thinks librarians need to focused on the needs of the users of the library. The librarians provide services through reference work. In this task they help meet the student's research needs. This requires that librarians "get intimately involved with students" (63). The librarian wants to be approachable and make the student feel at ease. Often they need to help the student to better frame their research question. The author states, "he should show love toward the student by listening carefully to what the student wants, asking questions to help the student define her topic and decide what kinds of resources she really needs." Often the student do not know what he is looking for or what is available in the library. The librarian should work with the student "as a partner in the search for knowledge rather than merely pointing in the direction of the resource" (63). In addition, the librarian can help the student evaluate her sources. Terhune asserts that the librarian can show the student how he "might critique the author's theories or arguments from a Christian point of view, or confirm the contribution that the author has made to knowledge" (64). The librarian can assist the student in integrating the Christian faith with his learning. The last point was teaching "christian library ethics to the student. For example, teaching the student how to properly cite sources and not to plagiarized.

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