A Word from the Editor

Welcome to the fall issue of Theological Librarianship (TL)! I hope you find the content of this issue helpful as you develop, grow, and serve your communities in a variety of facets.

While there are several notable elements in this issue, including an article on DEIA initiatives in the context of Catholic institutions and an essay discussing vocational awe, I would like to focus this brief editorial on our fall forum. In the context of TL, forums are opportunities for short pieces to be written about a particular topic. Thanks to the help of our guest editor, Dr. Elkie Burnside, a forum was composed addressing multimodal scholarship for theological librarians. One challenge of scholarship is its ambiguous nature. I believe that the ambiguous nature of the concept of “scholarship” is intentional, and subsequently, a full fruition of scholarship will enable it to be displayed in a variety of facets. However, in many arenas, scholarship has been limited to writing an article, composing an essay, or presenting at a conference.

I do realize the irony of arguing that scholarship must be multimodal through a conventional means of an editorial (written down and reproduced via online and print). However, despite the paradox, I hope readers enjoy the contributions made to the multimodal forum and consider other means through which scholarship can be displayed outside of the conventional means of publication and presentation. One intention of this forum is to provide a picture of what multimodality can look like in theological librarianship.

It is important to remember that much of our understanding of scholarship in the 21st century is founded upon the works of Ernest Boyer. Boyer (1990) reminds us that the concept of scholarship entered the vocabulary of higher education fairly recently and that it has evolved a bit from its original purpose: “…scholarship in earlier times referred to a variety of creative work carried on in a variety of places, and its integrity was measured by the ability to think, communicate, and learn” (p. 15). As there are a variety of means through which individuals think, communicate, and learn (even in academia and librarianship), a venue for discussing multimodal scholarship (the expression of knowledge through multiple means) aligns well with Boyer’s understanding.

Most librarians are aware of the distinctions of our profession, what make us unique: some of us thrive on teaching, others not so much; some of us (like me) really find writing as an ideal means of expression, others labor to even write an email and would rather have face-to-face dialog. Then there are some who find other means of expressing their expertise. Perhaps a concept of scholarship should be refined to empower all in the profession to display their expertise, not just those who thrive on writing and/or teaching. I am not by any means saying that these two components should not be seen as scholarly activity and scholarship, but more so that they should not be seen as the sole means through which scholarship can be displayed. In my opinion, to limit scholarship to these means restricts scholarly development and counteracts much of what Boyer’s work intended.

Part of the purpose of this forum was to explore what scholarship might look like with a full (and in my opinion, correct) understanding of Boyer’s work. I hope the forum contributions provide an opportunity for readers to think about how all librarians can use their abilities and talents to manifest scholarship.

Soli Deo gloria

Garrett B. Trott


Works Cited

Boyer, Ernest L. 1990. Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities of the Professoriate. Princeton: Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.