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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.


The mission of the Virginia Theological Seminary Archives is to serve the seminary community by collecting, preserving, and making available through open and equitable access: the institutional records of Virginia Theological Seminary and Bishop Payne Divinity School; the papers of prominent individuals of the two organizations; and the holdings of the African American Episcopal Historical Collection (AAEHC), a joint project of VTS and the Historical Society of the Episcopal Church.

The Seminary Archivist, in consultation with the Head Librarian, has the primary responsibility for building and maintaining the archival collections. Institutional records of enduring value are acquired through transfer to the Archives from the various Seminary departments. Student records are governed by the VTS Educational Records Retention Policy; they are digitized for long-term preservation and then transferred to archives ten years after graduation or withdrawal. These student records are maintained in perpetuity by the Archivist. Access to student records and/or information therein can be obtained with the permission of the VTS Administration and in accordance with FERPA regulations. Manuscript collections and personal papers are solicited by the Archivist. Collections for inclusion in the AAEHC are determined by the AAEHC staff and the Seminary Archivist often in consultation with the Head Librarian, and the AAEHC Steering Committee.

Emphasis is placed on collecting original, unique, unpublished materials not held by other repositories, including but not limited to personal papers, correspondence, photographs, documents, oral histories, and organizational records. All donations must be accompanied and governed by an executed Deed of Gift. Recommendations for collections to be acquired are encouraged from members of the Seminary community, but the decision to solicit collections and the retention of unsolicited collections and non-archival material is at the discretion of the Archivist and Head Librarian.