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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.


User Services

The library user services department offers regular and one-time orientations to the library’s resources and how to best utilize them for research. Staff are trained to offer a welcoming environment to patrons of all backgrounds, and to answer their research and resource questions. Where appropriate, staff collaborate with faculty to meet the needs of students in particular classes. User services aims to cultivate the graduate theological education habits of critical engagement, exploration, and further inquiry as well as library research strategies and resource discovery methods.

Library staff strive to provide equitable service and access to the collection, responding accurately and with courtesy to library patrons of diverse abilities (physical and intellectual), backgrounds, and ethnicities. Staff recognize the wide range of faith and theological perspectives among patrons, and so provide an environment of unbiased service and respect. Patron confidentiality and intellectual freedom is strictly maintained.

Technical Services

The technical services department is responsible for optimally organizing the library’s collections and providing catalog search tools for the collection. Technical services staff ensure that the library catalog provides a means to locate relevant resources (both known and unknown, discoverable resources) as well as the accessibility of various databases and indexes to the digital collection.

Preservation: The library employs a part-time book conservation specialist to maintain the collections for use and to perform restoration work on the rare book collections.


The library’s resources are made accessible through these additional means:

· A navigable and understandable user interface for the online catalog and other online research resources (e.g. LibGuides, databases, Discovery catalog);

· Curated research guides to significant aspects of the collection and/or topics especially relevant to the Seminary’s curriculum (e.g. LibGuides, virtual library course on the learning management system);

· Webinars on specific research topics (both offered live and as posted recordings);

· Prominent instructions/guides to accessing varied types of resources (e.g. using eBooks, locating journal articles, AAEHC bibliographies);

· Regular and spontaneous reference opportunities provided in multiple formats (e.g. in-person large group, individual consultations, virtual office hours, virtual workshops, email/ask-a-librarian service) and at varying levels of formality (e.g. on-demand with circulation desk staffer or scheduled consultation).

Requests for resources not available in the library collection (or through purchase by its usual vendors), may be provided through interlibrary loan services, or through referral to the Washington Theological Consortium libraries or local public libraries (when the material falls outside the collection scope of academic libraries).