ASDAL Action Volume 42|Number 3|Spring 2023

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Volume 42, No. 3 | Spring 2023

ISSN 1523-8997


ASDAL is an organization for individuals interested in Seventh-day Adventist librarianship. The Association was formed to enhance communication between Seventh-day Adventist librarians and to promote librarianship and library services to Seventh-day Adventist institutions.

The association holds an Annual Conference, publishes ASDAL Action, awards the D. Glenn Hilts Scholarship, and is a sponsor of the Seventh-day Adventist Periodical Index. The Adventist Library Information Cooperative (ALICE) is a service provided by the Association to give Member Libraries enhanced database access opportunities at reduced cost through collective efforts and resource sharing within the Cooperative.

Letters to the Editor

We welcome your comments and questions. Please submit letters to the editor to

Membership is open to those who support the goals of the Association. Members receive a oneyear subscription to ASDAL Action and discounted conference registration.

Get Involved with ASDAL

All members are invited to get involved in ASDAL. On the ASDAL website, select Get Involved on the quick links.

ASDAL Executive Committee

President: Deyse Bravo-Rivera

President-elect: Michelle Carbonilla

Past President: Norah Mauti

Secretary: Adorée Hatton

Treasurer: Neal Smith

ASDAL Action Editor: Tamara Karr

ASDAL Action
Librarians Present Panel at ASDAH Conference Read more on page 8.

A few weeks ago, I was asked to share an overview of ASDAL at the most recent Association of Adventist Colleges and Universities meeting, where collaborative efforts of academic organizations within SDA higher education were being explored. While preparing my presentation, I was reminded of how much ASDAL has grown since its inception in 1981. What started as a North American group of 40 librarians has grown into a robust international association with over 200 librarians, archivists, and records managers. Since 1985, ASDAL has faithfully awarded scholarships to SDA students pursuing librarianship, and ALICE, our consortium that was established in 1996 with 10 participating libraries, now has the membership of 18 libraries. Our growth is shown not only in our membership and activities, but also in our presence in the advisory committees for ADL, the SDA Classification Scheme, and the SDA Periodical and Obituary indexes. Indeed, ASDAL’s expansion and success is undeniable, and I for one am proud to say that we have truly become an international association.

Since August of this year, ASDAL’s executive committee has discussed ways in which we can further represent our members by becoming more internationally relevant. We believe that the best way to do this is to conduct an organizational restructure, and are at the beginning stages of exploring all relevant specifics. Of course, we will present our plan in further detail at this year’s conference business meeting, where all members will have a chance to discuss ASDAL’s future and vote as to whether or not to pursue the restructure plan.

In the meantime, I present you with a general overview of the proposed ASDAL restructure:

• The current ASDAL will become ASDAL International. The executive committee, as well as existing communities, will operate under ASDAL International

• A North America Chapter will be developed, and it will operate under the umbrella of ASDAL International, along with the current Africa Chapter and Latin America Chapter.

• Subsequently develop chapters for every continent, as long as there is interest in leadership within those areas.

• A librarian from a continent without an active chapter may still join ASDAL International without

being part of a chapter.

• Chapters will have their own executive committees, organized as their members see fit.

• ASDAL International will collect a small portion (percentage not yet determined) of the chapter members’ fees.

• Chapters will have yearly conferences, planned at the chapter level; ASDAL International will have conferences every few years (not yet determined).

Continued on next page

Deyse Bravo-Rivera, MLS is the Library Director for McKeen Library at Southern Adventist University.

Please see the graph below for an illustration of the proposed restructure.

I am confident that we will come together and make the best decision for ASDAL’s continued growth. As always, please feel free to contact me with any feedback.



JWL hosted a Living Library event from March 28 – 30, 2023, from 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm every evening as part of the James White Library 85th anniversary celebration. It is the library’s first Human Library event. Instead of patrons borrowing physical books or browsing through new arrivals, humans served as open ‘books’ that readers could borrow and ‘read.’ The public service desk at the Reference area served as the browsing table. The event featured 14 living books and 36 readers. The anniversary committee set out to achieve the following objectives as they

planned for the Living Library event. These objectives guided the planning and execution of the events:

• Connect with diverse groups of the AU community within and off-campus;

• Learn, educate, and change perspectives;

• Gain deeper perspectives about life and how to overcome life’s challenges;

• Create an environment where people with shared values and goals engage in conversations that promote learning continu-

ously and collectively from the experiences of others; and

• Break barriers and bring learning into the open, where students can build academic and social networks for lifelong learning.

Based on these, the committee developed a broad collection of human books comprising of faculty, community members, retirees, and staff with varying experiences as missionaries, entrepreneurs, historians, preachers, writers, leaders, bird watchers, librarians, and more. The broad selection of “books”


with their varied and rich experiences about life and work enhanced the narratives. It made the encounter with readers highly informative, inspiring, and entertaining call it “edutainment.” The Living Library bookshelf’s topics included:

• Integrating faith with law practice;

• Third culture kids as successful entrepreneurs;

• Tackling reference questions in the library;

• The uniqueness of the architecture library;

• Leadership in a multicultural


• Life and challenges of crosscultured kids;

• Experiences of a couple in the mission field;

• Birds and their nature; and

• What it means to be a preacher and a woman.

The readers included students, members of the community, and children. The children particularly enjoyed the narratives about birds and their behavior.

As is typical of the human library method, readers checked out a ‘Living Book’ from the Human Library bookshelf (a collection of

human books). The two or three engaged in productive conversations about challenging topics in a comfortable and safe learning environment. It proved to be an enriching learning experience for the participants as they conversed with people face-to-face about real-life experiences. The event had an organic flow, and each group determined the length of time per session. In most cases, the living books and the readers spent more than 20 minutes per session in conversation. Some books had two to three sessions per night; others had only one. It all depended on the number of readers to a

Patrons Learning About The Life Of An Architecture Librarian. From The Book, “Kathy Demsky”

book and the nature of their engagement. It was an opportunity for the university community to connect, share their stories, break barriers, and better understand each other. The environment provided a framework for open and honest discussions about important issues. It was an innovative approach to publishing people as books and for readers to learn from real people.

whom they would not usually engage in a conversation. For future similar events, they suggested that the event include students’ stories of transformation; issues of cultural shock in the mission field; international student issues, and additional topics that interest students more. And if possible, give students cocurricular credit to increase attendance.

The readers completed a survey after the event. This survey showed the impact of the Human Library on the Andrews University learning community increased knowledge and broadened perspectives. The results revealed that the “books” effectively communicated their stories to the readers. The conversations helped the readers to explore their understanding and adjust their thinking. They felt connected to others through the experiences, values, and worldviews of the “books.” They valued talking to someone with

Overall, the Living Library event was fun and fulfilling for the books and the readers. There was plenty of refreshments to share. The “Living books” were well selected; reading them was informative, inspiring, and educative. We encourage you to hold your own Human Library projects and publish people as books!

Margaret Adeogun is the Marketing Librarian at the James White Library on Andrews University’s campus. Patrons Enjoying Their Time With The Book “Stacie Hatfield”


The panelists divided their presentations into two blocks. The first block dealt with the collection, cataloging, and delivery of resources, while the second discussed putting resources to use with students, faculty, and researchers. Stanley Cottrell opened by walking the audience through a brief history of library catalogs before he demonstrated the process of cataloging a book.

Using Michael Campbell’s 1922: The Rise of Adventist Fundamentalism as an example, Cottrell showed how catalogers create records that lead to effective Discovery search results. “I showed how we catalog items and how we use subject descriptors and standardization for names to make it easier to find materials on different subjects or by the same author. I also tried to explain what a Discovery Interface is and the types of resources that it includes,” Cottrell said. “Hopefully that will help [historians] understand why they get the results they get when they search our holdings.”

On April 13, 2023, ASDAL librarians presented a panel at the Association of Seventh-day Adventist Historians triennial conference held at Southern Adventist University. The panel, entitled “Curating the Past: Libraries, Historians, and the Archive,” aimed to discuss areas of overlapping interest for historians and librarians or archivists, with particular emphasis on the behind-thescenes of library work and how librarians’ contributions impact historians as researchers, writers, and educators. Presenters included Stanley Cottrell and Bethany Howard (Southern Adventist University), Barbara Stovall (Oakwood University), and Katharine Van Arsdale (Andrews University / Adventist Digital Library).

Julie-Ann Bocock-Bliss of Hawai’i Pacific University served as chair.

Katharine Van Arsdale’s presentation followed and built on similar themes, with a discussion of workflows and priorities, metadata challenges, and software decisions that lie behind digitization programs and the delivery of digital works. She highlighted digitization work being done by Adventist institutions and shared through the Adventist Digital Library. She asked the audience to reflect on what voices or perspectives might be missing from the Adventist-held record. “Library professionals have a responsibility, as curators of the archive, to ensure that all groups are represented. At the Adventist Digital Library, we’re making strides to expand the scope of what we digitize and share. We’re a world church we want world representation in our shared repositories.”

During the second block, Bethany Howard spoke

Bethany Howard Presenting

about methods of connecting students to “the archive,” which she defined as the locally available historical record, regardless of format. “Connecting students to the archive is vital to historical and cultural research, as many students are unfamiliar with the unique resources an archive or special collection can provide,” she said. Drawing on work she has done at the McKee Library at Southern Adventist University, Howard shared effective strategies for familiarizing undergraduates with the archive, from brief introductions during campus tours to one-on-one research and writing support. In the presentation that followed, Barbara Stovall focused on ways that library professionals and researchers can collaborate to use, enhance, and extend the archive. She opened with a quote from W.E.B. Du Bois, which she offered as a guide to historians and librarians in their work: “Nations reel and stagger on their way; they make hideous mistakes; they commit frightful wrongs; they do great and beautiful things. And shall we not best guide humanity by telling the truth about all this, so far as the truth is ascertainable?” Stovall shared exciting news about her current efforts to preserve and present truth through the archive. In concert with colleagues from the Harvard Radcliffe Institute, Stovall is working to curate, process, digitize, and share Oakwood University’s Eva B. Dykes Collection.

Following their presentations, the panelists fielded questions about duplication of effort between institutions, the scarcity of funding, and ways to break down resource “silos” within the Adventist system. Librarians and historians pondered the different ways we define terms shared between our fields, such as “the archive.” Collaboration across the board was a major theme, and Stovall reflected that “the opportunity of sharing my collaborative experiences with faculty, researchers, the community, and others is

one of the benefits of being an archivist. The privilege of sharing archival resources enriches the value of the position.”

Reflecting on the panel afterward, Stan Cotrell said “I think it’s always good when librarians help professionals outside of our discipline understand what we do, and that we can help them in their profession. We should always be willing to present to all kinds of organizations, because libraries (and librarians) are here to help everyone.” Panel chair Julie Bocock-Bliss added “I think that the panel was a great addition to the ASDAH conference because of what libraries/archives and librarians/archivists provide in aid of the research historians do. We know our value (or should), but those we serve don’t always know the full value we bring to the table. Also, I believe there can be awesome synergy in collaboration, especially when we’re looking at people from different areas with different strengths working together.” Overall, the panelists felt welcomed and enriched by the opportunity to connect with historians and to discuss areas of common interest. They hope that librarians will choose to present at ASDAH in the future.

Katharine Van Arsdale is the Digital Librarian for the Adventist Digital Library at the Center for Adventist Research

Barbara Stovall Presenting Panelists


As of March 2023, SWAU has a new integrated library system, Koha.

We had been considering changing to a new ILS for several years. The primary driver here was that our old vendor was headed in a different direction than we wanted to go. They were streamlining for much simpler systems, and their most recent upgrade dropped several features which we relied on for daily operations. We needed greater flexibility, and a path forward which would include support for academic library concerns. A third factor was the steady increase in annual costs.

We considered four or five different systems. We searched the literature, read product reviews, and examined vendor websites. We invited online presentations by several of them. Our eventual choice came down to the Koha system, based on prior experience, ease of use, price, extensibility, and the ability to host the system ourselves.

Several of our librarians had experience with Koha. Tony Zbaraschuk had used it for cataloging and circulation functions at a previous job at Olivet University in California. Joe Alway had been operating a locally hosted instance of Koha for more than a decade to manage acquisitions, and several of us in turn had used that same instance to run serials check-in. We all liked Koha’s clean, spare design and ease of use. We appreciated the active user and support community, and the open-source codebase ensured we would not be locked into one vendor’s upgrade path.

We chose to sign a two-year support contract with Bywater Solutions, to move us through the migration process and help with problems that might become apparent. We could have downloaded, installed, and migrated all the data ourselves, but none of us had major migration experience and we wanted a guide through the maze. We could have had Bywater host the system, but ultimately chose to host it ourselves. This gave us more control over running Koha, let us tie into the campus login system (no more separate login/password combinations!), and left the option free to keep running it by ourselves later if we needed to. This approach, of course, was only possible because we had an on-site librarian (Joe Alway) capable of handling the required system administration.

A major reason we felt ready to migrate is that we had finally completed several multi-year weeding, inventory, and database clean-up projects. This left us with fewer, and much cleaner, records to migrate, and we strongly


urge other librarians to undertake similar cleanup projects before changing systems. During the course of the migration, we also purged the records of patrons inactive for more than seven years, mostly for privacy reasons – we can’t leak information we no longer have – but also as a way of simplifying the required data downloads.

The migration process took approximately four months. In December 2022, we had several set-up meetings with Bywater to set up a roadmap and identify what they needed to migrate patron, bibliographic, and item records. Koha’s default system settings were mostly the ones we would have chosen, but some needed updating. Patron records were a problem because our previous system did not have a way to download the complete record. Fortunately one of Bywater’s migration experts had considerable experience at stitching a half-dozen partial reports into fairly complete patron records. [Joe any comments on biblio, item, or serials downloads/transfer?] The early downloads served to test the system and give us something to practice on – we could do anything and it didn’t matter since we were going to replace all the downloads later with the final version.

We got Koha working in January, and worked extensively with Bywater to learn how to use the system, get the OPAC appearance right, fix glitches, and set more options. They were very helpful during this stage, re-

sponding rapidly to requests for improvement and adjustments. We also spent a while reading the documentation thoroughly, which was very helpful.

February gave us several online training meetings for librarians, and we extensively explored the system. Lance Millam tried to break Koha with plenty of weird inputs and odd commands, and it handled everything he threw it without burping. Training student workers proved unexpectedly easy. We gave their accounts the proper permissions and had them practice basic operations such as checking books in and out, creating new patrons, and searching the catalog. None of our workers had problems; several made helpful observations or suggestions. One developed a very useful instruction sheet for other workers.

We took the opportunity to make some changes. Several obsolete patron and item categories were left behind in the migration (Bywater wrote scripts to combine several and change others to their new equivalents). Knowing that it would be very easy to create new categories made that decision simpler! We did have to write completely new circulation rules, since the two systems had somewhat different conceptions of how to implement these. We ended up changing the default circulation time from 21 days to 28 days to give students a bit more time. We are still adjusting the circulation rules in light of experience; this is an area that deserves very careful thought.

Meanwhile, we had been running circulation on our previous ILS. Over spring break in March, we froze circulation, renewed everything that was checked out (so people wouldn’t be hit by a blizzard of overdue notices in case we had got something wrong), and

LS2 PAC Customizations
Default , With No Customizations

downloaded all our data a second time. Bywater deleted our practice records and uploaded the current ones. There were a few data glitches, but fixes were rapid, and we were live on Koha when everyone came back on Monday.

Perhaps our greatest note of triumph was that none of our patrons even noticed the changeover. Everything just worked.

Going forward, we expect a number of advantages. First, greater ease of use, both for our staff and our patrons. Second, we expect to be able to obtain much more useful information from our system, particularly since we can write our own SQL reports to execute in Koha and draw on a very large community

• Think carefully about your current and future needs. Implement accordingly. You are very likely to have the new system for decades to come.

• Clean up your data. Verily I say unto you, clean up your data!

Some things we could have done more about.

• Been more careful about de-duplicating patron records – we had quite a few cases of the same person with multiple accounts, sometimes as both student and community member, or 2-3 community accounts from separate years. Some were because SWAU had changed ID number a year or so earlier and we hadn’t managed to catch all the duplications. Your past decisions will come back to haunt you here.

• Do more authority work. Yes, this is a subset of “clean up your data”, but we did not do very much of this earlier and we will likely have a big project to do this in the future.

base of pre-written reports and additions. Third, there are good reasons to expect open-source software, going forward, to develop more rapidly and with greater responsiveness.

Some recommendations if you find yourself migrating systems:

• Clean up your data. (Yes, every article we read said this. Repeatedly. There is a reason!)

• Take the chance to rethink old practices. You are not required to keep things the same, and this is a good chance to fix practices and choices that were useful once, but not now.

• Someone needs to be primary lead on the migration with the authority to make final decisions.

• Having a migration expert helps. Librarians change systems rarely so it probably will not be one of you. Bywater was worth what we paid them!

Useful URLs:

Our new catalog: Bywater Solutions: Koha home site:

Tony Zbaraschuk is the Public Services Librarian at Chan Shun Centennial Library on the campus of Southwestern Adventist University

Current OPAC


The General Conference Archives is proud to announce its latest publication: General Conference Archives, Monographs no. 3. Written by David Trim, Walter Utt: Adventist Historian is the study of a distinguished Adventist historian, how he reconciled his faith and his scholarship in an era of controversy in the Church. It is available on Amazon.

Walter Utt: Adventist Historian purchase link: https:// dp/1736989472/ref=sr_1_1?crid=1B6N8GS5P1POS

Expectation, exultation, bewilderment, and despair these were the emotions amid which the Seventh-day Adventist Church was conceived. Hearts of Faith: How We Became Seventh-day Adventists, by D. J. B. Trim, recounts the story of the transition from the weeping that followed the Great Disappointment of October 22, 1844, to the hopeful emergence of the infant Seventh-day Adventist Church 19 years later. Though the story of the Adventist Church’s history has often been told, this critical span has been largely ignored, as if the church was an inescapable outcome of the Great Disappointment. This book argues, however, that the 19-year interval was both crucial and did not have a predetermined outcome. The choices the pioneers made shaped the denomination they would go on to establish and its impact on the world for generations.

Hearts of Faith briefly reviews the Millerite Adventist movement, explores the history of Sabbatarian Adventists, and pores over the vital development of a common identity among those who still held on to the blessed hope of Christ’s soon return. It would be an excellent addition to college and university libraries.

Hearts of Faith purchase link: https://




Please consider volunteering as there are many positions that need to be filled during the conference:

• ASDAL Executive Committee President-elect

• ASDAL Executive Committee Secretary

• 2 positions on the Adventist Resources Working Committee

• 2 positions on the Constitution and Bylaws Committee

• 4 positions on the Nominating Committee

• 1 position on the Scholarship and Awards Committee

• 1 position on the Statistics Committee


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