Monday, June 13, 2011

American Theological Library Association Chicago Meeting

Downtown Chicago at Night
So I am in Chicago at the annual meeting of The American Theological Library Association. This is the 3rd time that I have attended this conference. This time, however, I am now working at a University where Theology is a discipline and I am in a librarians position. I arrived in Chicago Tuesday evening along with Taylor Worley who decided to ride along. We had a really good time in Chicago professionally and culturally so I would like to provide some highlights on this blog.

Workshop on Qualitative Research
On Wednesday I attended a workshop on doing qualitative research. Essentially qualitative research is concerned with gathering information but not necessarily numerical data. It was a good workshop with a lot of interaction and activities. I believe this help as I think about helping students here at Union with some of their own qualitative research.

Paper on the King James Bible 400 year Celebration
I wanted to attend this paper because I thought that in many ways it might help me be prepared for the KJV 400 event that is being hosted by The R.C. Ryan Center for Biblical Studies. The presentation for the paper was interesting and I learned some things I didn't know like the difference between a He Bible and a She Bible. One 1611 printing of the KJV contained “and he went into the city” in Ruth 3:15 while another version read, “and she went into the city.” This become known as the He bible and the She bible. One of the best things that I took away from this paper presentation was a bibliography with web and print resources for further study of The King James Bible. I have linked to some of those resources on The Biblical Studies Research Guide.

I won't bore everyone with too many details of the conference because I would like to get to some of the cultural highlights of the trip but I did attending some very interesting panel discussion on Building Connections with Faculty and Twenty-First Century Reference Collections in Theology. The panels gave me some interesting ideas for example at Yale Divinity School there is a librarian who builds web pages and blogs for specific courses. There was a well spoken librarian from Notre Dame who explored what it takes to build strong reference collections for the study of theology. My take away from this was that in the area of theology print is still very important and that many researchers and students who study theology and philosophy prefer print texts.

Cultural adventures in Chicago
Art Institute of Chicago
Besides eating some excellent Pizza at Pizanos there are a few cultural things that I should mention about my trip. Perhaps the highlight of my trip was a visit to The Art Institute of Chicago. In my opinion the art institute contains as impressive of a collection as any museum in London or Paris. They have a wealth of European Art from the Renaissance through Impressionism but also some interesting works of modern art. Gerhard Richter's modern art pieces were full of stunning color and texture but there were also some very detailed paintings of photographs skillfully composed by Richter. Before I left for this trip I was reading an article about Gustave Caillebotte and his impressions of Paris. After reading the article it was nice to see in person the work Paris Street on a Rainy Day.

Cappuccino at Intelligentsia
Many of us in the library and around campus hope that there can be a café with options for snacks and coffee in the new library. In Chicago I visited a world class place for coffee & tea; Intelligentsia. It was great to experience coffee done well from espresso based drinks to single farm coffees made in a Chemex.

Overall I think the Chicago trip and ATLA was great. I was proud to be there and to represent Union University among so many skilled and experience librarians from divinity schools and seminaries across the country.

No comments: