A Question of Identity: Vocation, Professionalization, and Atla Membership

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James Estes
Shaneé Yvette Murrain
Sandy Shapoval
Megan Welsh


“Who are we as theology librarians, and what does involvement in Atla mean to us? Does serving as a theology librarian signify an exercise in religious vocation and is our association a faith-based organization with professional dimensions? Or are we librarians in a professional association concerned with content in theology and religious studies?” There are different responses to this query, and these differences can lead to tension as theology and religious studies librarians with diverse perspectives work together to build a shared future in Atla. The panelists—representing different faith traditions, institutional settings, educational and professional backgrounds, and perspectives on their work as librarians—reflect on their roles as theology and religious studies librarians with regard to three guiding prompts: (1) What is your sense of vocation and identity as a librarian? (2) How does Atla function for you, in terms of spiritual formation and/or professional development? and (3) What are your expectations from Atla?

Article Details

Panel Discussions
Author Biographies

James Estes, Wesley Theological Seminary

Library Director; Associate Professor of Medieval Studies & Church History

Shaneé Yvette Murrain, University of West Georgia

University Archivist; Assistant Professor

Sandy Shapoval, Phillips Theological Seminary

Dean of the Library and Research Services

Megan Welsh, University of Colorado Boulder

Assistant Professor; Interdisciplinary Arts & Humanities Librarian