Scott Jeffries: Helping Students Pursue Excellence through Scholarly Research

Scott Jeffries in library

"When people think of the library, they need to have a broader idea that isn't bound by brick and mortar."

The Collins Learning Center: built in the late '60s, the LC is a hub for learning on campus. Whether you journey to the basement to visit the Writing Center, take a trip to the second floor for a quick cup of coffee before class, or sit in silence in the quiet study area, one of the first places new students are introduced to is that great big building at the end of the hill. What students often miss about the LC, though, is the mass amount of information held within and the individuals dedicated to helping students find it.

Scott Jeffries serves DBU as the Director of the Library, a professor of library science, and as a reference librarian. If there is one person on campus who loves information and research, it is Professor Jeffries. Not only that, but Jeffries is also dedicated to using his God-given talents and passions to aid students in locating reliable information. "I find it exciting to serve people by connecting their needs with interesting and enlightening information," he says.

After graduating from Howard Payne with his Bachelor's in Communications, Jeffries went on to acquire his Master's in Library Science from the University of North Texas.

Jeffries joined the DBU Family in 2006, where he was hired on as a reference librarian. Since then, Jeffries' commitment has always been to help students research with discernment. "We need information experts who can mine through all of the information for what is true and what is helpful. Plus," he says, "we need experts to help evaluate what is quality information and what is lacking or even detrimental."

In 2016, Jeffries assumed the role of Assistant Library Director, later became the interim Library Director, and accepted the position permanently in 2017. As Director, Jeffries oversees the projects and initiatives of the library, manages library staff, and works daily to make the library useful and helpful for the students and faculty.

The library is so much more than the shelves students walk past on their way to class. Jeffries is passionate about the utilization of all the information DBU has to offer. "Students have spent their entire lives with 'good enough' research. In DCM, our students learn that all truth is God's truth. The library and its electronic resources are the closest way that our students are going to get to the truth in many subject areas." He continues by saying "God wants us to pursue excellence and that includes excellence in scholarship and information discovery."

One integral piece of the puzzle of informational excellence is the quickly fading practice of long-form reading. "Long-form reading doesn't have to be a printed page and long hours at the library," Jeffries says. "I use tools like Pocket that allow me to collect articles to read later and has a feature where articles can be read aloud to me. This way, I can listen to articles while I drive, workout, or take care of other things. I also use Audible and Scribd to listen to audiobooks at any time and at faster speeds to cut down on some of the time commitment. In addition, I have started to use my Kindle more for book reading so my highlights are automatically saved. Then I use an app called Readwise which saves all my highlights and sends me a daily email with a collection of my highlights.

"We can't fully understand a complex topic by reading a 250-character post or watching a two-minute video," he continues. "You need time, space, and multiple perspectives to fully grasp and analyze what is needed for a deeper understanding. Long-form reading allows for the proper thinking and discovery to develop. Just because we might be exposed to more information in our current age doesn't mean we understand our world any better. True understanding simply takes time and patience and deep thought and long-form reading gets us closer to that. Then, when we need to write our research papers or essays, we are able to synthesize what we have read and blend it with our developed thought to express much more than just our opinion or how we feel about a topic."

By setting the standard of excellence in research and creating an atmosphere within our library that lends itself to encountering the Lord through the intricate design of truth in learning, Scott Jeffries and his library team desire to create a "thin place"- a spot where intelligence and the spiritual collide- on campus.

DBU's library staff and student workers are always prepared to help students pursue scholarly information. In closing, Jeffries remembers Colossians 3:16: "Let the message of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom..." He says "this verse just makes me think of deep, rich study, effective teaching, and growth that leads to wisdom." It is this kind of wisdom - wisdom spoken in truth and discernment with sincerity and zeal - that the DBU Library strives to provide for each of its students.

Written by Emmalie Ellis

Emmalie Ellis writes for the University Communications Department at Dallas Baptist University.