May 17, 2018, Adrian, Michigan – Dennis Hillers, Library Administrator, spends much of his time in the St. Catherine of Siena Library in Madden Hall, on the Adrian Dominican Sisters campus, cataloguing books, developing the collection, and helping Sisters, Associates, and Co-workers find the books and other resources they need. Soon, however, he will expand his focus to the national library scene. He was chosen as Leadership Development Intern for the American Library Association’s Association for Library Cataloguing and Technical Services (ALCTS).
Dennis, an early career librarian, responded to a call for volunteers for the ALCTS and was recently named the intern for the organization’s Leadership Development Committee. His term as intern will begin at the ALCTS conference in New Orleans, June 21-26, 2018. After the conference in Cleveland next June he will be eligible to serve on the committee for three years.
“It’s a very big thing, because a lot of people in my profession never get the opportunity to serve [at the national level],” Dennis explained. “They work in small public libraries and don’t have a view of the national scene at all. It’s a privilege to serve on that committee. Being on the Leadership Development Committee of my section of the field is really exciting and ... helps me to be part of the decision-making in my profession.”
Dennis’ interest in library work began in high school, when he visited a special collections library at the University of Kansas. There, he was assigned a graduate student to mentor him into how to use a special collections library. At the same time, Dennis developed a passion for Medieval manuscripts after a teacher gave him a calligraphy pen and he developed his skill in that art.
He regained his interest in library science 11 years ago when he met his wife. “She was a mid-career librarian working in collection development, and I liked her job,” he said. He finished his bachelor’s degree in history at Saginaw Valley State University and went on to earn a master’s degree in library science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Dennis has served at the St. Catherine of Siena Library since July 2015. He describes the library as “intimate, with a particular focus on its collection,” largely limited to books, CDs, and other resources related to theology and philosophy. The collection also includes works on the Dominican family and Dominican saints, as well as spirituality and a limited number of works of fiction. “This library is more a professional reference than like a public library, where everybody can come and read.”
Once a week, Dennis brings a selection of the library’s collection to Sisters living at the Dominican Life Center on the Motherhouse campus, giving them access to books, CDs, and other materials.
Dennis noted that most visitors to the St. Catherine of Siena Library see only the books and other physical materials. “What you don’t see is my working back where all those labels and catalogues happen,” he said. “If you walk into any library, the books are only a small part of any equation because a lot of the resources you can get at a library are electronic.”
Congratulations Dennis. I spoke with you briefly last winter when you were on your way to the Dominican Life Center to take books to the sister there. I was impressed by your joyful, serving spirit.