To meet Dr. Esther Gillie is to know a self-described extrovert with a professional background in choral conducting and a love for Romantic composers. So much so that after taking a Myers-Briggs personality assessment upon entering Northeastern Seminary, Gillie was told the very last career she should pursue was that of a librarian.
“To which I said, ‘Those librarians need someone who’s not librarian-oriented,” said Gillie. “The creativity that plays into my music plays into my ideas about how library work can connect with people, how we can see things from the student-side, and figure out how we can make things simpler, more convenient, and easier to connect with.”
In July, Gillie was named dean of the Regent University Library. And after a diverse career at institutions such as Roberts Wesleyan College, Northeastern Seminary, the University of Illinois, and the University of Rochester, she’s ready to blend her vision and aptitude for strategic planning on the Virginia Beach campus.
“The university is eager to see how Dr. Gillie’s interdisciplinary experience and proven ability to innovate will lead the University Library to ever-greater heights of academic excellence, second-to-none service, more robust resource access, and integration of leading-edge technologies,” said Dr. Moreno-Riaño, executive vice president for Regent’s Office of Academic Affairs. “Regent’s core mission of excellent teaching, its vibrant faculty scholarship, and its growing student body require an academic library that is superb. We are confident that the University Library will continue to serve as the academic heart of our Christian community of scholars with Dr. Gillie’s leadership along with that of our excellent team of academic librarians and staff.”
One idea she’s considering is the development of a voice-activated app that will help library visitors find books at the University Library.
“Sounds a little far-fetched to most librarians,” she said. “You have to balance that with on-the-ground reality.”
Moving forward, Gillie’s connections and networking with other libraries will help her stay ahead of the burgeoning technology, resources, and tools available for staff and students – especially as Regent’s enrollment continues to grow.
But for Gillie, her new role is far from only a career. It’s a ministry. She plans to decorate a large white board in her office with prayer requests from people on her staff and students she meets, and assist students sift through the sources they unearth in their academic pursuits.
“Information that’s out there is all over the map,” explained Gillie. “We want to help students ask themselves whether the information they’re encountering is in sync with the word of God, if it’s opposed, and how to reconcile it with their beliefs.”
Gillie also believes the library itself ministers to other libraries and throughout the professional organization. She says the standard of quality she and her team upholds is a testimony to the grace of God; something she’s already seen in effect.
“The paths are already in place here. I’m really stepping into a wonderful, well-organized, well-oiled library machine,” said Gillie. “The minute I stepped on campus, I felt right at home. It’s the ambiance and the peace of God you feel and the true generosity and hospitality of the people, and I’m really looking forward to learning and growing and being a part of the work that God is doing here.”
Learn more about the Regent University Library.