I love libraries. I worked my way through college and seminary as a staff librarian. In that life long ago, I worked in the Special Collections Department of the Harwell G. Davis Library of Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. I was a Micro-photographer, which meant I photographed historical books, maps, newspapers and documents for researchers and writers to read on an old technology called Microfilm and Microfiche. After college I served about 3 years as the full-time Serials Librarian at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s Fleming Library. That’s serials with an “s,” not with a “c.” We did not serve breakfast. Serials are periodicals, magazines and annuals. I had a staff of eight people to supervise and over 4,000 different titles to catalog and file. It was an amazing and diverse job with the opportunity to help students, professors and Biblical scholars research the most current materials available in religious studies.
I went to the local branch of the library in hopes of finding a certain book. The Tulsa City County Library System is amazing. The young librarian was very kind and helpful as she directed me to the big Start Here sign over a brightly decorated computer, since the card catalog drawers were recycled long ago. No luck finding the book. I had lost my library card and needed a new one. After completing the proper form back at the computer, the librarian gave me a plastic library card with my personal barcode to use with everything. She taught me the intricacies of downloading library books through the various kinds of apps for my devices and even gave me a list of the apps needed for the many different e-book platforms that publishers use. All free and done in less than 10 minutes. Before saying farewell and sending me on my way, she patiently listened to my stories of microfiche and serials.
I am continually grateful for the skills I learned working in libraries. I learned vast amounts of history while filming newspapers from colonial times through World War 2. I learned how to read quickly with comprehension, and how to research current ideas through periodicals. Technology is always changing, but libraries open the world to us all. Andrew Carnegie, the giver of libraries to the small towns of America, once said, There is not such a cradle of democracy upon the earth as the Free Public Library, this republic of letters, where neither rank, office, or wealth receives the slightest consideration.
Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Expand your world. And let’s experience the love and power of God together.