By Sarah Kimakwa (Marketing and Reference Librarian) & Edgar Burgara (Marketing Assistant), James White Library, Andrews University
Author Skip Bell greets seminary student Hafiz Ally.
Hafiz Ally, a Master of Divinity student at Andrews, was surprised when he stopped into the James White Library (JWL) on September 26, 2014. He had been invited to the book signing of his fellow classmate Margaret Thomas. Prior to his arrival, he envisioned Thomas sitting alone at a table with several people in line next to a velvet rope, waiting for their turn to have their book signed. What he actually saw was far from typical. It was the full-fledged Alumni Book Signing & Display with 17 authors present.
Margaret Thomas and Protas Makimu joyfully anticipate greeting visitors.
This book signing event was part of our campus-wide Alumni Homecoming weekend festivities. Aside from the book signing, alumni participated in an orchestral concert, a parade and flag raising, a basketball game, the Harvest Run, and other activities.
The Alumni Book Signing & Display, an event organized by Andrews’ James White Library, Office of Alumni Services, and School of Graduate Studies & Research, sought to celebrate and showcase the authors and published works of Andrews Alumni. “James White, one of the pioneers of the Seventh-day Adventist church, was a major advocate of books,” said Sarah Kimakwa, Marketing and Reference Librarian and coordinator of the event. “At the James White Library, we are trying to highlight how Andrews alumni are spreading the gospel through publishing.”
Rachel Williams-Smith interacts with an enthusiastic patron.
The Library Dean, Larry Onsager, was very satisfied with the results of the event. “We saw students stopping and interacting with the authors and with the alumni, and authors interacting with each other,” said Onsager. “For alumni it was a great time for sharing information about what they are doing, their scholarship, and an opportunity for other types of networking.” The library statistics had a record number of patrons as compared to any other “preparation day” of the week.
At the event, hands of friendly alumni authors extended to greet visitors. Their smiles welcomed those who entered the library lobby where each author sat at their table, decorated by the author and displaying a distinct personality. The alumni authors included current faculty members, current students, and those who travelled in from outside the immediate community.
The genres of books ranged from biographical encyclopedias to faith-building stories for children and youth. Some books testified of deliverance from deep struggles and hardship, while others presented the latest scholarly research. Though the diversity was abundant, the books were in harmony in the uplifting messages they expressed.
Doris Ferris represented the work of her late husband Winston Ferris.
Doris Ferris, one of the authors, was motivated to participate in the signing to advance the work that her late husband Winston Ferris started.
While Timetta Wilson, a 2005 graduate and a current Master of Science in Administration student, shared her work, which contains poetic expression of personal stories. She uses analogies, such as that of an old violin, to describe an individual in whom very few had faith. “It was good exposure because you get to mix and mingle with other people that have written,” said Wilson. This was her first book signing with such a diverse range of authors. “I was very excited to be invited to participate in such a grand occasion.” Ms. Wilson envisions this event taking place every year. The event rekindled her memories from sharing her first poetry CD, Healing Streams for the Soul, as a guest on 3ABN Network in 2001. That opportunity led to invitations to minister all over the world, and was the main inspiration to write and publish a poetry anthology, Standing in the Mid-Air of Faith.
After the success of this year’s event, we look forward to connecting Andrews readers and authors with each other in events like these in years to come.