KelseyWhen I talk about the things I will miss most about Candler when I move to Dallas to begin PhD work, these three arise: my friends, the Office of Student Programming, and Pitts Theology Library. That’s how highly I value this library and why I was so drawn to the opportunity to be a Pitts Library Scholar. I wanted to give back to the place that had given me so much and had the biggest influence on my education here at Candler. Pitts has surely spoiled me for every other library.

My first year at Candler, I spent all my time that I wasn’t in classes or meetings in Pitts Theology Library. It was convenient, welcoming, and quiet. It had all the resources I needed (and more!). I scanned into the library for several hours multiple times a day. Maybe for this fact alone, reference and instruction librarian Dr. Sarah Bogue approached me about applying for the inaugural class of Pitts Library Scholars. Whatever her reasoning, I was honored.

At first, I was wary of adding anything else to my already full plate. However, after e-mailing back and forth with Sarah, I felt like I could commit to the five hours per month the program would require, especially because that schedule would be flexible. I didn’t know exactly what I would want to do, but I knew that I wanted to use the project to contribute to the pedagogical aims of the library.

Kelsey & other scholars meet with Pitts Library docents.This fall I took a PhD seminar on ancient Near Eastern iconography, and honestly, I was fairly lost about the most effective way to find and use the images I needed. At the time, I was also working on a project for a faculty member that involved finding and scanning high-quality images of reliefs and ancient artifacts. With a background in editing for a Christian publishing house, I knew how much of a hassle obtaining image permissions could be. For all these reasons, I, in consultation with Sarah, chose to create a research guide that would live on the Pitts website about finding and using images well. I think the opening page on citation and permissions is particularly helpful.

One of the main challenges for this project was understanding my audience and creating a guide that could serve more than just Candler students. Users from all over the world access the Pitts research guides, so it needed to be a resource scholars or pastors or authors or whoever from wherever could use as well. When I’m doing research for class, the audience is clear: my professor. So to produce something that wouldn’t be for a grade and would live on the Internet indefinitely was a unique challenge that I quite enjoyed tackling.

Being a Pitts Library Scholar isn’t all about the final project, however. At our monthly meetings, we were invited to participate in the life of the library by giving feedback, brainstorming ideas for outreach or workshops, and mingling with the docents. I felt like I came to know the library staff and some of the inner workings of a theological library. That’s not knowledge the average library user has, and it made my experience at Candler incredibly special. If I wasn’t a Pitts advocate before, I sure am now! Pitts is one of Candler’s premier resources, and our reference librarians are gems, in both personality and intellect. Get to know them! Use it well.

Top photo: The 2016-2017 Pitts Library Scholars with director Dr. Sarah Bogue (fourth from right).