Curriculum Vitae

Alec Sonsteby

Phone: (612) 803-7978


M.B.A.Metropolitan State University (2015)
M.S., Library and Information Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2005)
B.A. (summa cum laude), Gustavus Adolphus College, Saint Peter, MN (2002)


Library and Learning Center, Metropolitan State University, Saint Paul, MN
Librarian and Associate Professor (July 2014-present)
Department Chair, Library and Information Services (August 2017-present)
Librarian and Assistant Professor (May 2009-June 2014)

  • Instruction: Taught Information Studies 115: Information Access & Research Skills, a half-semester, two-credit information literacy course, both face-to-face and online sections, and Information Studies 315: Searching for Information, a full-semester, four-credit course.
  • Reference: Provided reference services to students, faculty, and staff. Interacted with patrons in-person and via telephone, e-mail, and chat.
  • Collection development: Collaborated with faculty in College of Management, School of Law Enforcement & Criminal Justice, and the departments of Information & Computer Science and Mathematics to develop library collections.
  • Web development: Conducted usability testing of the library’s website and subject guides with faculty and students.
  • Web-scale discovery: Worked on a team of three librarians to implement Serials Solutions’ Summon web-scale discovery service. 
  • Communication and outreach: Launched a student and faculty webinar series. Initiated and co-edited the library newsletter. Promoted events, collections, and services through social media.

Carl B. Ylvisaker Library, Concordia College, Moorhead, MN
Computer and Web Services Librarian (August 2007-May 2009)
Instruction/Reference Librarian (August 2005-May 2009)

  • Information literacy advocacy: Worked with instructors to incorporate information literacy objectives into first-term seminars.
  • Instruction: Taught library instruction sessions to classes in the departments of religion, music, and history. Collaborated with teaching faculty to prepare for these sessions; developed corresponding print and online instructional materials.
  • Reference: Provided reference services to students, faculty, and staff. Initiated IM reference services and taught IM reference training sessions to librarians.
  • Collection development: Collaborated with teaching faculty in the departments of religion, music, history, and church professions to develop library collections. Chaired the library’s collection management committee that developed an eight-year systematic weeding plan.
  • Web development: Led a three-member committee that redeveloped the library’s website. Migrated the site into Cascade Server content management system and the Banner portal, as well as implemented the SubjectsPlus system. Conducted usability testing with faculty and students.

Moorhead Public Library, Lake Agassiz Regional Library, Moorhead, MN
Sunday Library Supervisor (October 2006-July 2007)

  • Management and reference: Supervised library support staff and provided reference services to the public.

University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Preprofessional Graduate Assistant, Central Reference and Information Services (August 2003-August 2005)

  • Reference: Provided reference services to students, faculty, staff, and the public.
  • Instruction: Taught individual patrons how to use the online catalog and electronic resources of the third largest academic library in the United States. Taught sessions about using the online catalog and finding journal articles to English as a Second Language classes.
  • Bibliographic searching and verification: Located and verified bibliographic citations for the interlibrary loan borrowing office using WorldCat, the former Research Libraries Group Union Catalog, international catalogs, and specialized print indexes.
  • Database and Web development: Programmed and implemented an online ready reference database.

Division for Congregational Ministries, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), Chicago, IL
Contract Employee (August 2003-July 2005)
Worship Associate for Research and Communication (September 2002-August 2003)
Summer Intern (June 2002-August 2002)

  • Library management: Organized the ELCA worship staff’s collection of 2,000 liturgy and music volumes. Developed a simple cataloging and classification system. Implemented a circulation system. Created a searchable Microsoft Access database for the library.
  • Cataloging: Cataloged the entire 2,000-volume library in the ELCA worship office, as well as more than 3,200 pieces of music submitted for the ELCA’s new hymnal project.
  • Web development: Led and completed the redevelopment of two websites for the ELCA.
  • Research: Researched topics related to liturgy for both the Director for Worship and the Renewing Worship Coordinator. Researched and drafted responses to e-mail queries addressed to worship staff.


A Mobile-First Library Site Redesign: How Designing for Mobile Provides a Better User Experience for All, with Nathan Carlson and Jennifer DeJonghe. In Mobile Technology and Academic Libraries: Innovative Services for Research and Teaching, by Robin Canuel and and Chad Crichton. Chicago: Association of College and Research Libraries, 2017.

ACRL in Chicago: ACRL Programs at the ALA Annual Conference: Busting Out of the CubicleCollege & Research Libraries News 74.8 (Sept. 2013): 440-441.

Usability Testing, User-Centered Design, and LibGuides Subject Guides: A Case Study, with Jennifer DeJonghe. Journal of Web Librarianship 7.1 (2013): 83-94.

Films on DemandLibrary Journal (1 Apr. 2012). Review of the Films on Demand database.

“Philosophy & Religion E-Reference Ratings.” In The Library Journal Guide to E-Reference Resources, edited by Mirela Roncevic. ALA Neal-Schuman, 2009. 65-70.

“Artist as Archivist,” with Travis Nygard (University of Pittsburg). Afterimage 37.1 (July/August 2009): 48. Review of the book The Big Archive: From Art to Bureaucracy, by Sven Spieker.

“Library Field Report: Concordia College’s Road to Instant Messaging.” In Virtual Reference Best Practices: Tailoring Services to Your Library, by M. Kathleen Kern. Chicago: ALA Editions, 2009. 29.

“E-Reference Ratings.” Library Journal (15 Nov. 2008). A contribution of 15 electronic reference product reviews in the disciplines of religion and philosophy.

“Castration,” with Travis Nygard (University of Pittsburgh). In Cultural Encyclopedia of the Body, edited by Victoria Pitts. Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing, 2008. 502-507.

“No Sacred Cows: One College Library’s Take on Selecting E-Resources.” Library Journal 133.13 (15 Aug. 2008): 118.


Be the Game Changer: Embracing Gaming of All Types in Libraries, with Jennifer DeJonghe and Amanda Lewis. Lake Superior Libraries Symposium. University of Minnesota Duluth, Duluth, MN, June 8, 2018.

Summon, Serendipity, and Scholarly Success: Improving the User Experience with Discovery, with Jennifer DeJonghe. ELUNA 2017 Annual Meeting (Ex Libris Users of North America). Schaumburg Convention Center, Schaumburg, IL. May 9-12, 2017.

Cold War in the Catalog: Comparing the User Experience of E-book Platforms, with Nathan Carlson. Library Technology Conference. Macalester College, Saint Paul, MN. March 15-16, 2017.

PRIMO: What It is and What It Can Do For You, with Ben Oberdick. Webcast for Blended Librarians Online Learning Community. December 5, 2013.

Crowdsourcing a Library Logo: One Library’s Experience. Library Technology Conference. Macalester College, Saint Paul, MN. March 20-21, 2013.

Seeking Serendipity with Summon: How Web Scale Discovery Changed How We Think about Teaching and Reference, with Jennifer DeJonghe and Michelle Filkins. Library Technology Conference. Macalester College, Saint Paul, MN. March 20-21, 2013.

“Organizational Creativity: Managing Change, Remaining Competitive.” Minnesota Library Association Annual Conference. Saint Paul, MN. October 3-5, 2012.

Game On! Board Gaming, Libraries, and Literacy, with Jennifer DeJonghe. Minnesota Library Association Annual Conference. Saint Paul, MN. October 3-5, 2012.

Usability Testing in the Academic Library: A LibGuides Case Study, with Jennifer DeJonghe, Michelle Desilets, and Michelle Filkins. Library Technology Conference. Macalester College, Saint Paul, MN. March 14-15, 2012.

“More than Books: Applying the Richness of Library Collections to MT Practice,” with Margaret M. Grube. American Music Therapy Association Annual Conference. Cleveland, OH. November 18-21, 2010.

“The Portable Reference Library: Accessing Reference Resources and Services on Mobile Devices.”

VuFind: The MnPALS ExperienceLibrary Technology Conference. Macalester College, Saint Paul, MN. March 18-19, 2009.

“Comparing the Status of Teaching Faculty and Librarians at Institutions That Identify with a Religious Tradition,” with Brent Swearingen (John Brown University). American Theological Library Association Annual Conference. Ottawa, ON. June 25-28, 2008.

“Retiring Legacy Print Collections,” with Mark England (North Dakota State University) and Larry Schwartz (Minnesota State University, Moorhead). Tri-College Conference on the Future of Academic Libraries and Librarianship. North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND. April 3, 2008.

“Disordering Knowledge: Reflections on Libraries, Technology, and the Decline of Imposed Linearity,” with Kathleen Kern (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign). International Conference on Material Cultures and the Creation of Knowledge. The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK. July 22-24, 2005.

“Blasphemy and Blessedness in Modern American Comics: Visual Theology in the Tijuana Bibles,” with Travis Nygard (University of Pittsburgh). Ninth Annual International Comic Arts Forum. Bethesda, MD. September 30-October 2, 2004.

“Technology and Worship Theology.” Joint Conference of the National Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association (PCA/ACA) and the Southwest/Texas PCA/ACA. San Antonio, TX. April 7-10, 2004.

Leadership and Service

Inter Faculty Organization (IFO)

  • Statewide Board of Directors, 2016-2020
    • Director-at-large, 2016-2020
    • Treasurer, 2017-2019
    • Executive Committee, 2017-2019
    • Treasurer’s Advisory Committee, 2016-2019

Metropolitan State University, Saint Paul, MN

  • Metropolitan State University Faculty Association
    • Executive Committee, 2016-2020
      • Meet and Confer Team, 2016-2020
    • Faculty association secretary, 2016-2017
    • Delegate, statewide IFO Delegate Assembly, 2014 and 2016
    • Ad Hoc Constitution & Operating Procedures Review committee, 2017 – present
    • Faculty Issues committee, 2011-2012, 2014-2015, 2016-2018 (chair 2014-2015)
    • Technology committee, 2010-2014, 2016-2018 (chair 2011-2013, 2016-2017)
    • Graduate Programs committee, 2012-2013
    • Faculty Council, Library unit representative and convener, 2010-2011
    • Distance Learning and Intellectual Property committee, 2009-2010
  • Search committees
    • Library office coordinator, spring/summer 2018
    • Library dean, spring 2018
    • Library computer lab assistant (chair, 2 searches for 3 positions), fall 2017 and spring 2018
    • Provost – Executive Vice President for Academic & Student Affairs, spring 2017
    • Business taxation and financial accounting faculty, spring 2017
    • Electronic resources and discovery librarian (chair), spring 2015
    • University web presence director, summer 2014
    • Interim library director of technical services, summer 2014
    • Reference and instruction librarian, spring 2013
    • University CIO (3 searches), summer 2010, spring 2013, and summer 2013
    • Instructional designer (2 searches), Center for Online Learning, summer 2011 and spring 2012
    • Social media faculty, Communication, Writing, and the Arts, College of Arts and Sciences, spring 2011
  • Center for Faculty Development
    • Library liaison, 2016-2018
    • “Integrating Ebooks and Streaming Video into Online Courses,” with Michelle Desilets. Spring 2017 Faculty Conference. Metropolitan State University, Saint Paul, MN. February 4, 2017.
    • “Keeping Up: Using Library Technology to Stay Current with Your Teaching and Research.” Three workshops demonstrating strategies for “keeping up” with research literature using library databases and RSS technology. Sponsored by the Center for Teaching and Learning. 2009-2010.
  • Other committees and service
    • University Technology Advisory Council, 2017-2018
      • University Academic Technology Subcommittee, 2017-2018
    • “Introduction to Turnitin.” Sponsored by the Center for Online Learning. March 15, 2018.
    • Judge, “Changing America: The Emancipation Proclamation 1863, and the March on Washington 1963” Digital Storytelling Prize contest, fall 2016
    • University Website Advisory Team, Web Redesign Advisory Team, Strategic Web Advisory Task Force, and Web Advisory Council, 2010-2015, 2018-present
    • Information Technology Advisory Council, 2009-2014 (chair 2013-2014)
    • Content Management System Replacement Review Team, 2011
    • Reconfiguration of Academic Affairs Task Force, spring 2011
    • Academic Appeals committee, 2009-2010

Concordia College, Moorhead, MN

  • Luminis Portal Organizational Project Team, February 2008-May 2009
  • Academic advisor, August 2006-May 2009
  • Phi Beta Kappa committee, 2006-2009

Tri-College University

  • Planning committee, Tri-College Conference on the Future of Academic Libraries and Librarianship, November 2007-April 2008

Consortium of MnPALS Libraries

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

  • University Librarian’s Student Advisory Committee, September 2004-April 2005
  • Information Technology Advisory Board, October 2004-May 2005
  • M.S. student representative to the faculty, Graduate School of Library and Information Science, 2003-2004

Professional Affiliations

Journal of Web Librarianship

  • Editorial board, 2016 – present

Association of College and Research Libraries, American Library Association

Reference and User Services Association, American Library Association

International Travel

Spiritual Heritage Travel Seminar, Dovre Center for Faith and Learning, Concordia College (May 11-22, 2008)

  • Historical and theological study program that included a two-week visit to Germany

Gustavus Wind Orchestra, Gustavus Adolphus College (January and February, 2002)

  • Performance tour in Norway and Sweden (recording)

German-American Partnership Program (1997-1998)

  • Culture and language study program that included a month-long stay with a host family in Germany


Academic Honors

  • Outstanding Student Award (Finalist). Selected by the faculty of the College of Management at Metropolitan State University. Spring 2015.
  • Bryce Allen Award for Reference Services. (Citation.) Presented annually by the faculty of the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to a student demonstrating excellence and interest in the area of reference services. Spring 2005.
  • Beta Phi MuAlpha Chapter. International honor society for library and information science. Inducted 2005.
  • Phi Beta Kappa, Eta of Minnesota. Inducted 2002.
  • George Hall Prize for Scholarship in Religion. Awarded annually by the Gustavus Adolphus religion faculty to a senior major who exhibits excellence in research and writing. Spring 2002.
  • Theta Alpha Kappa. National honor society for religious studies and theology. Inducted 2002.

Continuing Education

Ignite Your Everyday Creativity. (Certificate of completion.) A six-week online non-credit course (MOOC) created and authorized by The State University of New York and offered through Coursera.

Copyright for Educators & Librarians. (Certificate of completion.) A self-paced online non-credit course (MOOC) created and authorized by Duke University, Emory University and The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and offered through Coursera.

CopyrightX. (Certificate of completion.) A twelve-week online course offered under the auspices of Harvard Law School, the HarvardX distance-learning initiative, and the Berkman Center for Internet and Society. Spring 2016.

THEA 201: Storytelling (3 credits). Metropolitan State University. Fall 2015.

Immersion (Assessment Track). Institute for Information Literacy, Association of College and Research Libraries, American Library Association. November 4-7, 2015.

Immersion (Intentional Teacher Track). Institute for Information Literacy, Association of College and Research Libraries, American Library Association. November 10-14, 2010.

Business Reference 101. Reference and User Services Association, American Library Association. February 16-March 13, 2009.

School for Scanning. Northeast Document Conservation Center. Minneapolis, MN. May 1-3, 2007.


  • Computer operating systems: Windows and Mac OS X
  • Computer languages (programming, markup, and query): Expert knowledge of XML, XHTML, HTML, and SQL. Working knowledge of CSS, JavaScript, and PHP. Some knowledge of Perl and Java.
  • Database software: Microsoft Access and MySQL
  • Content management system: Ingeniux and Serena Collage
  • Learning management systems: D2L Brightspace
  • Integrated library management system: ExLibris Aleph
  • Other library software: Serials Solutions Summon (administration), Springshare LibGuides (administration), OCLC QuestionPoint (administration), and Compendium Library Services Desk Tracker
  • Other software: Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Publisher, Outlook), Project, and Visio; Adobe Connect, Captivate, and Photoshop; TechSmith Camtasia, SnagIt, and Jing; WordPress; PBworks; and Google Analytics

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