Member of the Week: Michelle Y. Spomer

Michelle Y. SpomerMichelle Y. Spomer is head of the Stamps Theological Library at Azusa Pacific University in Azusa, CA. Michelle has been an ACRL member since 2007 and is your ACRL member of the week for December 2, 2013.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Dedicated theological librarian.

2. What are you reading right now (or listening to on your mobile device)? I just finished The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey, and have started Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune by Bill Dedman and Paul Clark, Jr.

3. Describe ACRL in three words:  Incredibly helpful resource.

4. What do you value about ACRL? Outside of the American Theological Libraries Association, ACRL is my go-to professional organization. Attending the ACRL conference is always such a highlight for me – the sessions provide great information that I can use in my library, the keynote speakers are usually really interesting, and I meet a lot of terrific librarians. ACRL publications are also a big plus for me. I consult the ACRL website in particular for all sorts of helpful resources, like the information literacy guidelines, the “toolkits,” and conference proceedings.

5. What do you, as an academic librarian, contribute to the profession?  APU librarians participate as subject specialists in instruction, collection development, and answering research questions. I am a subject specialist for all of the undergraduate School of Theology programs, as well as for undergraduate and graduate social work programs. Outside of my subject specialist responsibilities, I provide workshops for the faculty in my areas, and also attend some department and division meetings and workshops. This helps me to know how to better serve both faculty and students. APU librarians are considered full faculty members, and as such, I participate in university governance. My goal here is to bring awareness to other APU faculty regarding library issues and interests, and to find ways to emphasize information literacy in the classroom.

6. In your own words: I didn’t grow up thinking, “I want to be an academic librarian,” but that’s what happened. It’s not hard to see what contributed to my career choice: going to the public library weekly as a family, a parent who was a university professor, working in seminary library part-time. All of these experiences eventually pointed me in the direction of pursuing my MLIS at San Jose State University. It was natural to combine my MLIS with my MDiv, and to become a theological librarian. Now I try to connect students with conversations through the ages about life’s biggest questions. I really can’t think of a more satisfying and fulfilling career!

Editor’s Note: Are you an ACRL member? Would you like to be featured as ACRL Member of the Week? Nominate a colleague? Contact Mary Jane Petrowski at for more information.