Atla Board of Directors Members Elected for 2023-2026
March 13, 2023
Chicago, IL, March 9, 2023 – Kerrie Burn, Leslie A. Engelson, Beth Kumar, and Karl Stutzman have been elected to serve on the Atla Board of Directors. Atla members elected the four candidates to serve a three-year term from 2023 to 2026, subject to the membership’s confirmation of the Board Secretary’s report at Atla Annual 2023. Approximately 41% of eligible members voted.
Kerrie Burn is the Library Manager for Mannix Library at Catholic Theological College at the University of Divinity in Melbourne, Australia. An incumbent, she has served on the Board of Directors since 2020, and previously served on the International Theological Librarianship Education Task Force. Kerrie is a member of the Roman Catholic Denominational Group. She is also currently a member of the Australian and New Zealand Theological Library Association.
In her election statement, Kerrie said, “Valuing relationships over personal agendas is a key ingredient to success for any decision-making body. It is important to recognize and value the richness of Atla’s history while also embracing change. While each Atla Board member brings different perspectives to the table, these differences ideally inform discussions, enrich one another’s understanding, and ultimately lead to decisions that deliver on strategic goals made in the best interests of all. I believe that the challenge of dealing with the membership’s diverse view and expectations requires Board members to actively listen, to be open to new ideas, and to foster an environment where mutual trust and respect are paramount.”
Leslie A. Engelson
Leslie A. Engelson is the Metadata Librarian for University Libraries at Murray State University in Murray, Kentucky. An incumbent, she has served on the Board of Directors since 2020, and previously served on the Atla Open Press Advisory Council in her role as the Editor in Chief of Theology Cataloging Bulletin. Leslie has also been a longtime member of the Technical Services Interest Group. Her previous leadership roles in Atla including chairing the Tellers Committee as well as the Conference Committee.
“As the association grows to include libraries and librarians from around the world and various religious and theological institutions, it is crucial that staff, products, and membership reflect this diversity. In this the Board should lead by example, ensuring diverse representation as well as learning about and practicing core values of hospitality and inclusion,” Leslie expressed in her election statement. “Board members are tasked with seeing beyond their individual and institutional needs and values and articulating the vision and parameters within which the core values [of the association] can be expressed and embodied.”
Beth Kumar is the Director of Library Services of the Flora Lamson Hewlett Library at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. She is a previous chair and continues to be a member of the World Religions Interest Group.
“I strongly value the growing diversity of Atla and want to be a voice for all on the Board,” Beth reflected in her election statement. The Graduate Theological Union (GTU) library is “an independent consortial library of nine theological schools, five academic centers, and several affiliate schools, representing many of the major religions of the world,” Beth explained in her statement. She expressed that “even though the students and faculty are religiously diverse from each other, they all share the common hub of the library,” at which she has emphasized hospitality and inclusion in her day-to-day work to build relationships and foster community. She stated, “I think theological libraries, and Atla by extension, are a place where everyone with curiosity is welcome.”
Karl Stutzman is the Director of Library Services at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart, Indiana. An incumbent, he has served on the Board of Directors since 2020, and previously served as the secretary of the Small Libraries Interest Group, of which he continues to be a member. Karl was the founding chair of the Emerging Technology Interest Group. Outside of Atla, he currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Academic Libraries of Indiana and previously served on the Board for the Private Academic Library Network of Indiana.
“We continue to work to create protocols for expanding our circle of hospitality to include more diverse individuals and institutions,” Karl discussed in his election statement. “The challenge of hospitality is not just about global relationships. It’s also about local relationships that cross diversity dimensions and dynamics of privilege.” He further reflected on his Board service to date “Yes, there are long and difficult Board meetings about sensitive topics, but there is also plenty of laughter born out the shared work of our beloved association.”
The Nominating Committee and the Board of Directors express their appreciation to all the candidates who agreed to be on the slate and for their many efforts on behalf of the association.
Established in 1946 as the American Theological Library Association, Atla is a membership association of librarians and information professionals, and a producer of research tools, committed to advancing the study of religion and theology. Atla’s membership includes more than 800 individuals and libraries at academic institutions from diverse religious traditions and backgrounds. As a community of collectors and connectors, Atla works to promote worldwide scholarly communication in religion and theology by advancing the work of libraries and related information providers.
Gillian Harrison Cain, Director of Member Programs, +1 872.310.4215, email@example.com
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