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Collection Development and Access Policy: Bishop Payne Library

The current collection development and access policy adopted by the Bishop Payne Library. This policy document is guided by our mission and serves to support acquisitions and ensure the accessibility of the collection.

Diversity, Multiculturalism, Globalization

The library places a high value on providing diverse perspectives in the collection. Diversity in race, ethnicity, gender, and global theological perspectives are particularly valued. Freedom of inquiry for library staff and for seminary patrons is honored through the theological diversity of the collection.

The library is also aware that some perspectives from the past may cause offense today. Items in the Bishop Payne Library and Archive collections have been acquired over two centuries, and they reflect the society and age in which they were created. They may contain language that is troubling because of subject matter relating to race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, and other marginalized and underrepresented individuals and groups. Nonetheless, they have significant value for historical and theological research. These items are preserved to record a comprehensive picture of the history and heritage of Christianity, the Episcopal Church, and Virginia Theological Seminary.

Cataloging records and archival finding aids descriptions also reflect the time and values of their creators and may contain problematic terms. Bishop Payne Library and archival staff follow cataloging and archival standards that reflect national and local practices that continue to evolve over time.

A key global collecting priority centers around the international Anglican Communion. The library seeks to acquire local materials representing the worldwide global Anglican Communion, particularly primary source material such as indigenous Books of Common Prayer, provincial constitutions and canons, and local diocesan or provincial histories. These are collected in partnership with the Center for Anglican Communion Studies and the seminary’s international students. More broadly, the library seeks to provide a worldwide theological perspective in its collection development.