Louisville—The Association of Librarians and Archivists for Baptist Institutions recently honored a librarian at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary who retired after 45 years at the institution.
Martha Powell, director of technical services at the seminary’s James P. Boyce Centennial Library, received the Betty Hurtt Meritorious Service Award during the ALABI annual meeting, April 22-24, at the Southern Baptist Convention building in Nashville.
“I was of course very surprised and honored by the award,” said Powell, who served at the library for 45 years under three different seminary presidents and in multiple roles: music librarian for 26 years, catalog librarian for 11 years and director of technical services for eight years.
“Martha Powell’s contributions to the Southern Seminary library, and to theological and music librarianship are exceptional,” said Taffey Hall, past president of ALABI and incoming executive secretary-treasurer. “Martha has been a valued friend, mentor and encourager to me since I began service at the Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives in 2003. She is a treasure.”
Based on her faithfulness and accomplishments, four members of ALABI recommended Powell for the Betty Hurtt Award. Once a year, it is given to an individual who demonstrated exceptional care for the materials kept in Baptist libraries.
Powell’s love for students and desire to interact with them first drew her to a position at Southern’s library in 1969, and she says she still remembers the first reference question she answered on the first day of the job: locating the collection of Johann Sebastian Bach’s complete works. In every position held, she maintained a high standard of professionalism, as well as a cheerful and generous spirit, according to those who recommended her for the award.
Powell officially retired as a library employee on May 15. She lives in Louisville and is a member of the Baptist Tabernacle, where she has served as pianist and organist for more than 30 years. (SBTS)