The scope of the library collection is intended to document the historic depth, the intellectual breadth, and the global expression of Christian thought and practice.
For all formats (print books, journals, e-resources, gifts, special collections), the acquisition criteria include: relevance to the curriculum and faculty research interests, academic credibility, research significance, longevity, author’s credentials, publisher, language, format, accessibility (software, hardware platforms), and cost.
The library acquires e-books in various ways: individual title purchases, perpetual access packages (e.g. ATLA Monographs), annual subscription packages (e.g. EBSCO Religion and Theology Collection, Oxford Biblical Studies Online, etc.), Demand-Driven Acquisitions (EBSCO)/Evidence-Based Acquisition (e.g. Project Muse, Bloomsbury). The determination of whether to acquire print or ebook format or both is based upon patron access needs, cost, usage, and enduring relevance.
BPL subscribes to databases containing e-journals and reference materials on Biblical studies, theological thought and practice, education, music, psychology, and African American studies. Streaming video is available as patron-driven acquisition through Kanopy. The effectiveness of the subscriptions is assessed by tracking usage and analyzing cost-per-use. Integration into LibGuides and the library’s discovery system promotes awareness of these research resources.
VTS degree program theses are all preserved in print copies. The library also maintains an online open access thesis repository with author permission.
Small collections of recent children’s, juvenile, young adult books, mostly on faith topics, are maintained to support seminary campus families.
Special Collections and rare books are acquired primarily by gift and occasionally by purchase. The collection foci are Anglican theology, Biblical studies, Anglican/Episcopal liturgical works, hymnals, octavos, and scores of sacred music. The collection includes Books of Common Prayer dating from the 16th to the 20th centuries. The hymnal and liturgy collection includes works that span the 16th to the 20th centuries and the rich diversity of the Christian tradition from around the world.
De-selection policy: The library implemented a deselection and de-duping program starting in 2019. The library is committed to collection curation practices that are careful, conservative, and collaborative with faculty. OCLC’s GreenGlass Collection Curation program was utilized to inform the deselection process. Criteria for de-selection include:
· Unneeded duplicate copies
· Currency: outdated materials, superseded editions
· Collection scope: no longer in collection scope, unnecessary ancillary areas
· Uniqueness or scarcity in peer library holdings
· Physical condition: damaged or deteriorated materials deemed unsalvageable
· Relevance to denominational tradition
· Relevance to curriculum/research needs
· Collection balance in subject area
· Usage: no or low and dated circulation data
· E-alternatives: availability of stable, secure, long-term full-text digital surrogate available and preserved for the future, such as HathiTrust Digital Library
· Availability for interlibrary loan
· For the Journal collection, the primary criterion is availability of secure, long-term full-text digital surrogate, such as JSTOR, ATLAS, or HathiTrust. Secondary criteria are: relevance to denominational tradition, relevance to curriculum/research needs, and incomplete runs.