The Christian Librarian as Servant – R.Nicole

roger-nicoleRecently a striking article was referenced on the email conference of the Association of Christian Librarians, to which I belong. Back in 1981 Roger Nicole, noted Reformed theologian (Professor of Theology at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary) gave a series of speeches at the twenty-fifth annual conference of the ACL. His topic: “The Spiritual Dimension of the Librarian’s Task”. I started to delve into this last night and thought I would begin quoting from it for some blogs posts starting today. So, bear with me, as I do so. Obviously, Nicole’s remarks are for my profit as a librarian in a Seminary. But I also believe his comments have broader application, from which you may benefit as well.

Nicole’s first main point is that the Christian librarian is a servant and is called to model Jesus Christ, his Master, in all he/she does. Here’s a profitable quote from this section.

The librarian has the opportunity to be a servant. The library is intended primarily to serve people. It is intended to provide for people the facilities that are necessary to explore truth, to mine the past, to accomplish tasks which are required in classes, to find information that may be needed in a variety of ways, and the librarian, whatever may be the particular title that she/he holds, whether it be head librarian, reference librarian, cataloguer, circulation librarian, or even when there is no title for someone who works in the library – she/he has opportunity to model the principle of service in the cause of Jesus Christ. So there is a spiritual dimension to this. Of course when people try to remember their most significant experience in their college days, they seldom mention libraries. ‘I had a Prof that was simply fantastic’, they will say, or ‘the President was just a great guy.’ More seldom, they talk about the Dean, of someone on the staff, but there are not very many people who speak about librarians. And that may provide for us an opportunity to do our work in a kind of hidden manner, without coveting at once that kind of immediate recognition which the Lord Jesus said is a reward which then knocks out perhaps some other rewards we might have in heaven (Matt.6:2,5,16)

The Christian Librarian, May, August 1982, p.107.

25 Writers on the Importance of Libraries – I Love Libraries

25 Writers on the Importance of Libraries | I Love Libraries.


In light of the cranky, critical comments a British author made recently about libraries, the ALA’s (American Library Association) “I Love Libraries” mustered together the powerful and positive opinions of twenty-five authors on the importance of libraries in their lives. I thought you might be interested. We librarians can be a sensitive and defensive lot 🙂

Follow the link above to get to the quotes. Here’s the introduction to the post:

British children’s author Terry Deary — best known for his Horrible Histories series and controversial chatter about the nation’s school systems — told the Guardian he thinks libraries “have had their day.” He’d prefer that people buy their books instead of borrowing them, claiming that “books aren’t public property.” Deary added, “Authors, booksellers and publishers need to eat. We don’t expect to go to a food library to be fed.” The cranky comments feel like a swift kick in the teeth since libraries around the world are struggling against significant budget cuts each year, and authors have been tirelessly advocating for their importance. We gathered a few passionate statements from 20 writers that emphasize why libraries aren’t “sentimental” institutions. See what Neil Gaiman, Judy Blume, Ray Bradbury, and other writers have to contribute to the conversation, below.

Ray Bradbury

“I spent three days a week for 10 years educating myself in the public library, and it’s better than college. People should educate themselves — you can get a complete education for no money. At the end of 10 years, I had read every book in the library, and I’d written a thousand stories.”

Anne Lamott

“My parents, and librarians along the way, taught me about the space between words; about the margins, where so many juicy moments of life and spirit and friendship could be found. In a library, you could find miracles and truth and you might find something that would make you laugh so hard that you get shushed, in the friendliest way. There was sanctuary in a library, there is sanctuary now, from the war, from the storms of our family and our own anxious minds. Libraries are like the mountain, or the meadows behind the goat lady’s house: sacred space.”

Rita Dove

“My childhood library was small enough not to be intimidating. And yet I felt the whole world was contained in those two rooms. I could walk any aisle and smell wisdom.”