Librarian = Clergy?

Eva —  January 14, 2014 — 2 Comments

checkboxI recently took the Rasmussen College Career Aptitude Test, and was surprised that a recommended alternative career for me would be “Clergy.”

I used to work with someone who left the publishing industry to attend seminary around the same time that I went to library school. We remain close, and have often commented how similar our two careers are to each other:

  • We both enjoy serving our communities.
  • We are both fighting the impression that our organizations are dying.
  • We are both working with ever-declining budgets.
  • We are both simultaneously leaders, bookkeepers, event planners, role models, and social workers.
  • We both have multiple bosses–I have a library board, she has a church council.
  • We are both trying to lead change, often against entrenched, long-held beliefs about our organizations’ purposes and missions.
  • We are constantly being asked, “You really need a degree to do that?”

My pastor friend could easily be a librarian. She’s a prolific reader and curious about everything, and she has excellent communication and interpersonal skills, so she would certainly be fantastic as a public librarian. I’m not so sure I’d be even a middling member of the clergy!



Eva Davis is the Director of the Canton Public Library in Canton, Michigan--not Canton, Ohio, or Canton, Massachusetts, or Canton, Mississippi. (It is an easy mistake to make.) Eva honed her supervisory and management skills working in customer service, research, and publishing before heading to graduate school at the University of Michigan School of Information. She became a librarian in 1998. She was an intern and then the teen services librarian at the Plymouth (MI) District Library before moving to the Ann Arbor (MI) District Library, where she was Head of the Youth Department at the Downtown library, Head of Youth Services for the system, Head of Branch Services, and finally Associate Director for Public Services. Eva has held her dream job as the Director of the award-winning Canton Public Library since 2008. She received the Michigan Library Association's Frances H. Pletz Award for Excellence in Teen Services in 2003, and is a graduate of both Leadership Ann Arbor and Leadership Canton, where she learned that she is moderately Affiliative according to MAFF, her color is "Green" on the Four Color Personality Test, and her Myers-Briggs Type is INTJ (although she has worked diligently and consistently on improving her Sensing, so she now leans ISTJ). Follow @CantonLibrary and @EvaDavisCPL on Twitter. (Photo credit: Susan Kennedy)

2 responses to Librarian = Clergy?


    Great post, Eva! I had a similar conversation with the rector of my church in Ann Arbor. To your list I would add that meetings are in the evenings, much of the work is evenings and weekends and every year you have a “new boss” when the board/vestry/church council sheds and gains new board members.


      Excellent points, Metta. Both clergy and library directors are “always on.” Two-thirds of my board turned over in November 2012, and it was (still is!) a challenge for me to get to know and understand each new trustee–as individuals and also as part of the larger board–so that I can make sure they have what they need to be successful contributors.

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