On May 31, 2021, Nancy J. Olson concluded her ministry as Director of Library Services at Lincoln Christian University's Jessie C. Eury Library. The Jessie C. Eury Library would like to express their gratitude and appreciation for her leadership and well-wishes as she embarks on new ministry opportunities. During her 33 years of service at Lincoln Christian University, Nancy J. Olson has enhanced the Christian higher education community at Lincoln Christian University and around the world and served globally while modeling humility, encouragement, and care for others.
As Director of Library Services, Nancy significantly expanded the Jessie C. Eury Library’s resources and services. Nancy worked diligently for the Jessie C. Eury Library to join the Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois (CARLI). The Library’s membership in CARLI provides participation in the state shared catalog, I-Share, as well as numerous databases, ebooks, streaming videos, and other resources that help meet the information needs of our students. Under Nancy’s oversight, the Jessie C. Eury Library launched a website that provides research guides for most majors offered at Lincoln Christian University. Beyond the resources available through the Jessie C. Eury Library, Nancy expanded services to match the changing needs of Lincoln Christian University students. These services included branch libraries at previous extension campuses, delivery services to off-campus students, scanning services for print items held in the library, and opportunities for students from anywhere to contact the library through research appointments.
Through her grant writing skills, Nancy carried on the legacy of Enos Dowling by writing a grant to digitize select Stone-Campbell Movement Hymnals from his collection. This grant through the state of Illinois has made these resources available not only to generations of Lincoln Christian University students but to Stone-Campbell Movement scholars and hymnal scholars throughout the United States and the world. This specialized digital collection is even featured by the Library of Congress on Religion in Nineteenth-Century Ohio.
Beyond resources, services, and digitization projects, Nancy invested over 10 years in gradually remodeling and updating the Jessie C. Eury Library facility to meet the needs of a new generation. Armed with her tape measure and a keen eye for design, Nancy transformed the facility from numerous small rooms into a bright, well-lit, inviting place for students to gather and study. In addition, the collection is now shelved in a sequential order from 000-999 to facilitate easily finding resources.
Beyond the Jessie C. Eury Library, Nancy’s impact throughout Christian Higher Education reaches throughout the Stone-Campbell Movement and beyond. Nancy has served the Association of Biblical Higher Education (ABHE) in many capacities. In addition to serving on countless numbers of ABHE evaluation teams, Nancy served on the ABHE Commission on Accreditation from 2003-2007 which included being the Chair of the commission from 2005-2007. She then went on to serve as the Nominating Committee Chair from 2008-2009. Nancy is frequently asked to present at the ABHE conference and has trained numerous individuals to serve on evaluation teams. In addition to these roles, Nancy has served as the Association of Christian Librarians liaison to ABHE where she was instrumental in creating the Library Guidelines for ABHE Colleges and Universities. Nancy’s involvement does not end with ABHE as she also has served on several Association of Theological Schools evaluation teams as well.
Beyond accrediting associations, Nancy has had a long involvement with the Association of Christian Librarians. Nancy’s leadership is felt throughout this organization as she has served in numerous leadership capacities ranging from the committee chair, Member of the Board of Directors, President, and Executive Director. She is sought out by newer librarians for her expertise and knowledge particularly in regards to preparing for ABHE accreditation.
Throughout her life, Nancy has had a heart for world missions. She has traveled on short-term missions to Japan, England, Germany, and Eastern Europe. She has formed a particular partnership with TCM International where she has taught numerous classes both at their campus both in Austria and online.
While participating in this wide range of kingdom-building activities, Nancy has always modeled humility, encouragement, and care for those around her. Whether she is working with a student or her staff, mentoring a younger librarian, or working on an ABHE evaluating team, Nancy is encouraging and lets people know that with God’s help they can do what needs to be done. Nancy is humble and never fails to give God credit for her accomplishments.
In recognition of her achievements and contributions to Lincoln Christian University, Christian Higher Education, and the Kingdom, Nancy J. Olson was awarded the Kline Distinguished Service Award.