SEPTLA Business Meeting Minutes, May 9, 2019

Welcome and Thanks

The spring meeting of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Theological Library Association began at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary at 9:35. President Miller opened the meeting by thanking everyone who came to attend the meeting and especially to James Humble, for hosting the meeting, and Myka Kennedy Stephens for conducting her tutorial on Slack. President Miller then announced that Gerald Lincoln will soon be retiring and she thanked him for his twenty-five years of service and congratulated him on his impending retirement. Then each member introduced themselves and their member library. President Miller then called the meeting to order.

Morning Program

II. The morning program began with an introduction and tutorial of Slack ( Slack is an online platform that promotes collaboration. SEPTLA has a free account with Slack. Myka Kennedy Stephens was not able to attend in person, so she conducted this tutorial session remotely. Myka explained to us what Slack is and how to work with it. Slack can replace email and it enables several people to collaborate on editing shared files. After some verbal instructions, Myka got us started with some hands-on work with Slack.

Approval of the Agenda

Clint Banz made a motion to approve the agenda. Greg Murray seconded the motion, which was then approved by sixteen member institutions.

Approval of the Minutes of the November 8, 2018 Meeting

Evan Boyd made a motion to approve the minutes of the November meeting, and Alan LaPayover seconded the motion, which then was approved by sixteen member institutions.


Treasurer’s Report

Patrick Milas distributed copies of the financial statement for those in attendance. The balance in our bank account, as of November 5, 2018 was $10,868.21. The balance as of May 9, 2019 is $12,090.49, so our financial assets have increased by $1,222.28.

Communications Committee Report

Virginia Dearborn provided the report from this committee. Virginia thanked those who provided updates of information for our website.


Myka Kennedy Stephens stated that we need to elect a new secretary and a new president. Myka thanked both the current secretary and president for their service. Unfortunately, we do not have a slate of candidates for these positions. Myka read the position descriptions.

Patrick Milas nominated Laura Giacobbe from New Brunswick to be our next secretary. She accepted the nomination and was approved by sixteen member institutions.

Nominations for the office of President. Myka called for nominations from the floor. President Miller nominated Patrick Milas for President, which he accepted. Patrick was unanimously voted to fill this position. Since he is already the Treasurer, he will have to vacate that position, and we will have to nominate and vote for a new Treasurer. The Treasurer is a four-year term. Patrick read the duties of the treasurer. Myka opened the floor for nominations for the position of treasurer. Evan Boyd offered himself as a nominee. Myka called for a voice vote by sixteen member institutions, which was passed.

Other Vacancies

Chair of Continuing Education and Member at Large of the Continuing Education Committee.

Myka pointed out that these positions are appointed by the Executive Committee. Elizabeth called for volunteers. Evan Boyd said that he would approach one of his colleagues about serving as a member at large. Lydia Putnam may also be interested in serving on this committee.

Amendments to the Bylaws

Elizabeth announced that we have sixteen voting members present at today’s meeting, which qualifies as a quorum, so we can make motions and changes to the bylaws.

The group decided to examine, a section at a time, discussing the section and then voting on the entire section.

Section 5.3

Lydia seconded the motion to strike the phrase that the Past President serves as the chair of the Executive Committee. The motion passed with 16 institutions in favor.

Section 6.1. President

A motion was made to change §6.1.2 “The President shall thank the host and speaker(s) in writing.”

A motion was made, seconded and passed to re-number §6.1.3 to §6.1.4

A motion was made, seconded and passed to re-number §6.1.2 to §6.1.5

A motion was made, seconded and passed to re-number §6.1.4 to §6.1.6

A new motion was made concerning section §6.1.7

A motion was made, seconded and passed to re-number §6.1.5 to §6.1.8

A motion was made, seconded and passed to add §6.1.9: “The President shall send a welcome packet to new library directors, including the SEPTLA bylaws and the direct-borrowing agreement for the signature of the new director.”

Greg Murray asked if it would be clearer to state that the President serves as the Chair of the Executive Committee in the same section in §6.1.4. Evan Boyd proposed to leave §6.1.4 as is. Lydia agreed with that. Greg withdrew his suggestion. Motion made, seconded and approved by sixteen member institutions.

A motion was made to eliminate §6.2.4 since this duty has been transferred to the President. The motion was seconded and approved by sixteen member institutions.

Section 6.3. Treasurer

Gerone Lockhart asked what was meant by the treasurer being the “steward” of SEPTLA funds. Patrick Milas explained that PNC Bank, rather than an individual seminary, or SEPTLA member holds the SEPTLA funds. The Treasurer serves as a liaison to the bank. A motion was made to renumber §6.3.1 to 6.3.2. Russ Buchanan seconded the motion which was approved by sixteen member institutions.

Section 6.4. Past President

A new motion was made to renumber §6.4.3 to §6.4.4. and add §6.4.5.

Next, there was discussion about the SEPTLA scholarship and first-time attendees. A motion was made to strike “first time attendee” from §6.4.5. Alan LaPayover seconded the motion, which was approved by sixteen member institutions.

Russ Buchanan seconded all the proposed changes concerning the Past President, which was approved by sixteen member institutions.

Other Business

Myka Kennedy Stephens reported that there were no applications for our ATLA scholarship, so it will not be distributed this year.

Gerone asked why the Past President takes the minutes at Executive Committee meetings rather than the Secretary. Gerald Lincoln said that this was intended to reduce the workload of the Secretary (back when we had quarterly meetings rather than bi-annual meetings).

Institutional Reports

Report from Westminster Theological Seminary, Montgomery Library (provided by Bob McInnes)

  • We have received a custom-made display case (made by Brian Boling) to hold and display our Torah Scroll.
  • Deanna Klein (a part-time staffer) has been cataloging the Robert D. Knudsen book collection. This collection has about 1500 books total and Deanna has cataloged about 1200 of these volumes.
  • A group of outside consultants (Gray Worth and David Stewart) visited Montgomery Library on February 26, and interviewed each member of the library staff, as well as many of our students and faculty. The findings of their report are that the library has a great staff, and that the students appreciate us. The consultants also determined that the staff is spread too thin and the library does not have adequate appropriations. They also told us that we need to increase our web presence (which we already knew).
  • I continue to work on the Hunt family manuscript collection and hope to complete this project this summer. William B. Hunt and his son Bruce F. Hunt were both missionaries to Korea. William Hunt started his missionary work late in the nineteenth century and Bruce’s missionary career spanned from the 1930s to the 1970s. Most notably, he was working in Manchuria when the Japanese took over the region, arresting him and many of his flock. Since the Japanese attempted to enforce Shinto-ism and shrine worship, Hunt and his followers were subjected to torture in an attempt to enforce conformity, and many of Hunt’s flock were martyred as a result.
  • Westminster will be renewing with the Theological Libraries E-book Project (TLELP) for two more years. The TLELP collection is nearing 1400 titles from 28 different publishers, and shared by 19 libraries. In the past month, TLELP has brought on board new publishers which provide German, Spanish, and Syriac publications: Mohr Siebeck, Gorgias Press, Gutersloher Verlag, and Vervuert Iberoamericana.

Report from Moravian Theological Seminary (provided by Elizabeth Miller)

  • Moravian Theological Seminary has been revising its mission statement and core values.
  • The seminary is also exploring new degree programs.

Report from Princeton Theological Seminary (provided by Virginia Dearborn)

  • We’ve had several retirements/departures from the Library – Collection Services Coordinator, Cataloging and Christian Education Librarian, Processing Archivist.
  • There’s a new Office of Digital Learning in the IT department. Like the rest of IT, its offices are in the library building.
  • The Seminary continues to receive testimony, recommendations and feedback from the Association of Black Seminarians on campus and others in response to its historical audit of the institution’s relationship to slavery.
  • We’ve put together a small white critical studies browse-and-borrowable book display on the main floor of the library for the second time this calendar year.
  • We’re beginning the process of implementing OpenAthens (to replace EZProxy), and we’re in the process of selecting a replacement ILS after 20 years with ExLibris Voyager.

Report from United Lutheran Seminary (provided by Evan Boyd)

  • United Lutheran Seminary Library continues to move forward under the newly merged organization. After a rocky first year, this second year has been more stable and we’ve been blessed with a large bequest for scholarship and the establishment of a new faculty chair.
  • The library has been moving forward, adding more e-resources to the collection, working to clean up spaces and weed extraneous materials.
  • We are excited to get a new library catalog over the summer, Koha, hosted and installed by Equinox Initiative and we hope it will be up by the end of August.

Report from Lancaster Theological Seminary (provided by Myka Kennedy-Stephens)

  • We finished deaccessioning the books from our circulating collection that we identified to withdraw and are preparing for a small renovation to our lower level. We are scheduled to be closed July 8-19 and have some folks scheduled to come in and take out shelving and other extra furniture. A survey of our users revealed that they are most excited about increasing space for study and reading. We may also add a labyrinth.
  • Our academic dean is leaving to become president of Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis. We are currently searching for and interviewing dean candidates to start on or around July 1. The Pennsylvania Academy of Ministry, originally started by the three UCC conferences in this region, is now administered by Lancaster Theological Seminary. We are launching the first Ministerial Institute, a three-year non-degree continuing education program for laity and pastoral leaders, with a one week intensive beginning July 22.

Report from New Brunswick Theological Seminary, Gardner A. Sage Library (provided by Patrick Milas)

  • It has been an incredible year at the Sage Library. Since the last institutional report, there have been several staff transitions. Rev. James Brumm (Reformed) is the new Archivist. Dr. Patrick Milas (Episcopal) is the new Director of the Library. Mr. Gerone Lockhart (Reformed) is the new Collection Services Librarian. Ms. Laura Giacobbe (Roman Catholic) is the new Public Services Librarian. A new half-time position, Library Associate for Collection Services, has just been advertised. Please direct any interested parties to: Review of applications will begin July 1, 2019.
  • Sage Library celebrates several accomplishments, including: an updated online catalog; updated print serials program; a new Faculty and Alumni Monographs Book Reading/Signing series; a new monthly thematic book display program; an updated social media campaign; and new video tutorials about library services. Sage Library partnered with the NBTS Archives and members of the Reformed Church in America to host “the Dutch in Two Worlds Revisited: a Rare Books and Manuscripts Exhibition.”
  • Next year, NBTS Library staff will serve the Southeastern Pennsylvania Theological Library Association (SEPTLA) as officers – Patrick Milas (President) and Laura Giacobbe (Secretary). Two Reformed seminaries may host the next SEPLTA meetings, including Westminster Theological Seminary and NBTS.

Report from Reconstructionist Rabbinical College (provided orally by Alan LaPayover)

Report from Missio Seminary (provided by Lydia Putnam)

  • Missio has signed a lease for the top floor at 421 N 7th Street, Philadelphia. Renovations on that space have begun and classes are expected to begin there at the end of August, with the offices and library moving in sometime during September. In conjunction with the physical move, we’ve replaced our EBSCO databases with a Digital Theological Library membership—which our faculty are very excited about.
  • We’re also looking to hire a new Director of Library Services to oversee operations at the new Philadelphia location, a process we hope to have concluded by the end of July. When that happens, Lydia Putnam will be reverting to a technical services role and working primarily from home. After 3+ years with the library, Meredith Castor has departed for an internship with a historical society in Aspen, CO; after 4+ years Denise Baum is also leaving for a local-area position.

Report from Evangelical Seminary (provided orally)

Report from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary (provided orally)

  • After the March visit, Middle States re-accredited St. Charles for another eight years, as ATS did the previous fall. The Library received praise from the visiting team.
  • The Seminary is now moving forward with its plan to affiliate with a local Catholic college. It has sold the property it currently inhabits, although it will continue to reside there for the next five years while it purchases land and builds a new seminary near Neumann University. The Library will begin preparing for the move soon, although it intends to preserve as much of its core collection in philosophy and theology as space will allow in its new quarters.

Report from University of Valley Forge (provided orally)

Report from Cairn University (provided orally)

Report from Reformed Episcopal Seminary (provided orally)

Discussion about Collection Development Policies

Following the business meeting, we engaged in a discussion about collection development policies of our member libraries. This discussion was moderated by Myka Kennedy-Stephens. Myka reported the following points:

  • Many SEPTLA libraries have collection development policies that need to be updated.
  • Collection development policies vary; depending largely on the nature of the institution. There are a lot of differences between policies.
  • Policies usually include provisions for weeding collections.
  • Some policies mention SEPTLA and their reciprocal borrowing agreements with other SEPTLA libraries, and some do not.
  • Some policies mention specific areas of collecting interest, and some do not.

During our discussion on collection development policies, the consensus was that each member library should have a statement in their collection development policies saying that their library is a SEPTLA member and that it participates in mutual lending with other member libraries. Also, when weeding out books from library collections, that library should offer their unwanted books to other SEPTLA libraries. Others mentioned that, when weeding, we might be at risk of removing a book that no other SEPTLA library has, and removing the last copy of a book is something that we want to avoid.

President Miller made the point that the differing collection strengths of each SEPTLA library strengthens SEPTLA overall, and that the value and strength of SEPTLA is found in its reciprocal borrowing agreements. Chris Schwartz pointed out that it used to be that in order for a library to become a part of SEPTLA, it had to have a book collection of a certain size. Nowadays, the direction of higher education is in distance education and e-book librarianship. How will the development of e-book collections impact reciprocal borrowing? Is this even possible?

President Miller asked Myka Kennedy-Stephens if she could set up a Collection Development channel in Slack for us to continue with our discussion.

In the end, we found that there is enough interest in this issue that we should continue this discussion at the fall meeting.

Respectfully Submitted,
Robert A. McInnes
Robert A. McInnes, MA, CA, MBA, MLIS
Recording Secretary

SEPTLA Fall Meeting 2019 Invitation – NEW DATE

Please join us for the SEPTLA fall meeting at Moravian Theological Seminary! Due to unforeseen circumstances, the SEPTLA meeting has been rescheduled. NEW DATE: Friday, November 1.

Registration will begin at 9:30 am with light refreshments, and the meeting will start at 10 am.

Lunch is $10; payable in cash.  Exact change is always appreciated.

Please RSVP by Friday, October 18.  Please note in the form whether or not you will need a parking pass, which will be sent via mail.

I’m still working on the parking and am hopeful that attendees can still park in the College Hill Moravian Church lot. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns. Thank you for your understanding,

Questions??? Contact Elizabeth Young Miller (

RSVP link (new link): 

Schedule (tentative)

9:30   Registration
10:00 Discussion of collection development policies

  • Given your budget, which subject areas are a priority? Have they had to change as your budget changes?
  • Does your policy provide a rationale (i.e., a principle derived from your institution’s faith-background) for the selection of all materials in your collection?
  • Does your policy provide guidance for collection choices at the broad subject level only (i.e., Music), or does it contain guidelines for specific subsections (i.e., Baroque keyboard music)?
  • As digital publications become more desirable and accessible, have you adjusted your policy to specify when electronic versions should be bought, when print ones should be bought, and when both should be bought? Do you now favor digital versions exclusively?
  • How much do you rely on faculty input for new purchases? How much discretion does the librarian have in deciding which items to purchase?
  • Does anybody “commit to retain” any portions of their collection?
  • Based on a comparison of our subject specialties/purchasing priorities, can we hammer out a list of LC subject areas that show strengths

12:00 Lunch
1:00   Interest Group Meetings (to elect new chairs)
1:30   Business meeting
2:00   Conversation on the value of SEPTLA

Executive Committee Meeting Minutes, August 20, 2019

10:00 am – Video Conference (Zoom)

Attendees: Evan Boyd, Virginia Dearborn, Laura Giacobbe, Jim Humble, Patrick Milas, Greg Murray, Lydia Putnam, Christine Schwartz, Elizabeth Young Miller

Approval of the agenda

The meeting began at 10:02 am by congratulating Patrick on becoming a new dad.  Virginia mentioned that Princeton Theological Seminary has a part-time circulation position open and moved to add this to the announcements section.  The amended agenda was approved by acclamation.

Announcements (staff transitions at Princeton Theological Seminary, Missio, Lancaster Bible College, Evangelical and Eastern)

Virginia shared that Princeton Theological Seminary (PTS) is still welcoming applications for the part-time circulation position.  The posting mentions evening hours; however, there is the possibility of some daytime hours.

On July 15, Chris Schwartz moved into a new role at PTS: Systems and Electronic Resources Librarian.  Julie Dawson is the Serials and Cataloging Librarian. Greg shared that he is happy for Chris; however, she will be missed on the digital team.  Chris’s new role means that there is now an opening for a metadata librarian at PTS.  Job openings at PTS can be found at the following URL:

Lydia announced that Missio has a new library director: Rachel McConnell.  Rachel has experience as an elementary school librarian and assisted with a move at a previous institution.  While Rachel is settling into her new role, Lydia will continue to function in some respects as interim director.  Due to a mold outbreak and a delay with the renovations, Lydia is unsure of the schedule for moving offices and the library.  She hopes to learn more at a meeting tomorrow.

Patrick shared that Gerry Lincoln retired from Lancaster Bible College, and Mark Draper, the former library director at Evangelical Seminary, was hired as the new Electronic Resources Librarian.  Julie Miller remains at Evangelical as the Assistant Librarian and Jim Sauer, formerly of Eastern/Palmer Theological Seminary and College, is the new Librarian at Evangelical, serving in a part-time role.  The new library director at Eastern/Palmer Theological is Joy Dlugosz.

Approval of the Spring 2019 minutes

Several Executive Committee members proposed revisions and updates to the minutes.  Patrick and Laura will collaborate on a revised version, which will be shared with the Executive Committee at the next meeting.

Treasurer’s report

Evan mentioned that his name has been added to the PNC accounts.  Currently, there is $5,172.72 in the non-profit checking account and $6,769.88 in the money market account for a total of $11,942.60.  Lydia motioned to approve the treasurer’s report and it was approved by acclamation.

Reviewing survey results from the spring 2019 meeting

Elizabeth provided some highlights from the spring meeting survey.  Ten (10) people responded.  In terms of overall satisfaction with the meeting, all respondents rated the meeting a five (5), the highest score.  Comments indicate that attendees really enjoyed the discussion and topics presented, with the report on collection development receiving the highest marks.  All respondents attended the meeting.  With regard to topics for future meetings, there is interest in e-books, as well as continued conversation on collection development and how this could impact the bylaws.  Respondents indicated an interest in virtual meeting and could choose more than one response for this question.

  • 6 are interested in webinars co-sponsored with Atla (topics mentioned include e-books and support for distance students/online programs)
  • 5 are interested in specific topics
  • 3 are interested in attending a live broadcast in lieu of attending in person

Individual membership was mentioned in the comments section.

Chris asked for some clarification about the future meeting topics.  Elizabeth explained that the topics of e-books and collection development are distinct topics, as opposed to collection development policies that address/include e-books.

Plans for Fall 2019 meeting at Moravian

Elizabeth mentioned that plans are underway at Moravian for the fall meeting and asked what time the meeting would begin and end, when lunch should be scheduled, and if break-out rooms for the interest groups are needed.  Once she knows this information, she can coordinate with catering and arrange for parking.

Virginia asked about the Research Services Interest Group.  When Jim Sauer was at Eastern/Palmer Theological, he had expressed a willingness to chair this interest group.  Patrick will follow-up with him.

Lydia mentioned that she hopes to be in touch with the Continuing Education Committee in the next couple of weeks.  Focusing on collection development, in light of e-books may make sense.

Patrick shared his thoughts about interest groups and ideas for the fall meeting.  Perhaps the interest groups could expand; sometimes topics apply to both.  Moving forward, we may want to discuss as a membership what has gone well at our institutions in the last five (5) to ten (10) years, in addition to sharing both how we can help each other with current projects and big ideas for the future.  Maybe we could have small group discussions that could result in lighting talks lasting three (3) to five (5) minutes.

Elizabeth mentioned that she and Myka Kennedy Stephens had been in conversation last fall about discontinuing interest groups for the time being, given all the vacancies in SEPTLA leadership roles.  However, when volunteers emerged, this idea was tabled.

Chris explained that the management of acquisitions and e-resources do not fit well with the current interest groups’ focus.

Patrick encouraged the committee to continue the conversation surrounding interest groups and Virginia highlighted that the Slack channel can be used for discussion.

Status of Slack adoption and use for collaboration

Virginia shared that there has been some activity on both the general and random Slack channels.  Lydia explained that timing may factor into the usage of Slack; it is the summer.  However, Slack may be useful for newcomers.  Patrick mentioned that Slack could potentially be used for a courier system for interlibrary loan (ILL), resource sharing, and/or shared reference services.  Lydia plans to use Slack to communicate with the Continuing Education Committee.  Other committees and interest groups could also use Slack to extend conversations.

Exploring GreenGlass for shared collection development

Elizabeth shared that after the spring meeting and the possible interest in shared collection development, she reached out to OCLC to learn more about GreenGlass.  She spoke with Pete Zeimet at OCLC and shared Pete’s follow-up e-mail with Patrick.  The big unknown is cost.  Pete would like to show us a demonstration, either at an Executive Committee meeting and/or at our fall meeting.  Elizabeth will follow-up with Pete about additional information, namely costs, and share what she finds with the Executive Committee.  She will also post some material to Slack.

Planned review of SEPTLA Bylaws and Constitution

Patrick explained that before amending the bylaws and constitution, he would like the membership to do some “soul searching,” examining the structure of the organization.  He plans to begin these conversations at the fall business meeting, which will in turn inform proposed changes to the bylaws and constitution.  The Executive Committee supports this plan.

Other business

Evan shared that he has been working on some digitization grants, using the Internet Archive and Backstage.  He highly recommends PA Photos & Documents—great platform and unlimited space.

Chris explained that now that her main focus is systems, she is not the right person to chair the Cataloging and Metadata Interest Group.

Adjournment until next meeting: September 11 at 2 pm

Patrick adjourned the meeting at 10:58 am.

TeamWork Volume 36 Issue 1 (Spring 2019)

Table of Contents

SEPTLA Spring Meeting 2019 Invitation

Please join us for our next meeting Thursday, May 9, 2019, hosted by St. Charles Borromeo Seminary.

RSVPs accepted through April 25: jhumble [at] scs [dot] edu

Agenda (updated 5/6/2019)

9:00 – 9:30: Registration and continental breakfast

9:30 – 10:30: Slack workshop

10:45 – 11:45: Business meeting

12:00 – 1:00: Lunch

1:00 – 2:30: Report on collection development policies

Go to original post

SEPTLA Business Meeting Minutes, November 8, 2018

The Semi-annual meeting of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Theological Library Association convened at 10:00 AM at Missio Seminary, in Hatfield, Pennsylvania; Elizabeth Young Miller, presiding. The meeting was called to order at 10:45.

  1. Mrs. Elizabeth Young Miller, president of the SEPTLA, started the meeting by welcoming the members.
  2. The Agenda: The President announced that there were not enough representatives from enough member institutions to constitute a quorum at today’s meeting. For that reason, we would discuss the issues on the agenda, but we would vote on measures or motions. The members approved this measure by acclamation.
  3. Approval of the minutes of the spring meeting. The minutes of the spring meeting were approved by acclamation.
  4. Reports:
    1. The Treasurer’s report: Patrick Milas was unable to attend today’s meeting, so President Miller distributed the Treasurer’s report and provided an oral presentation summarizing the report. This report shows that the beginning balance of our bank account and money market account totaled $10,910.62 on May 10, 2018, and on November 8, 2018 is was $10,868.21.
    2. Research Services Interest Group: President Miller provided a brief oral presentation from this interest group. James Humble, Bob McInnes, Virginia Dearborn and others provided insights on their work experience in research services. The RSIG has a new chair: Jim Sauer, who will serve through the spring 2019 meeting.
    3. Cataloging and Metadata Interest Group: Chris Schwartz provided the report from the CMIG: The group discussed cataloging workflows and Chris provided handouts of two sets of workflows that she and Melvin Hartwick had developed for cataloging at Princeton Seminary’s library. The second topic of discussion was training resources for cataloging, particularly copy cataloging. Chris provided additional handouts from Princeton used for in-house cataloging training. She also provided handouts for several online cataloging resources. The group decided that they would continue to explore ways for the interest group (and SEPTLA) to provide and facilitate training for staff new to cataloging or those who need a refresher; as some SEPTLA staff find that they catalog in addition to other responsibilities. Chris will work with Virginia to create a page on the SEPTLA website for links to cataloging resources and training materials. The CMIG will take responsibility for maintaining the links on this page.
    4. Continuing Education Committee: This committee needs volunteers.
    5. Communications Committee: Virginia Dearborn reported that this committee has produced the SEPTLA bookmark, which is available for download.
  5. Amendments to Bylaws (discussion only):
    There are intended changes to §5.3 concerning the office of the past president of SEPTLA. Also §6.1, concerning thanking the host institution in writing. Section 6.2 concerns requiring the president (rather than the secretary) to distribute the bylaws to new member institutions. Section 6.3.2 concerns the duties of the treasurer. Section 6.4.4 concerns the past president and duties about the meeting follow-up surveys. Section 6.4.5 concerns scholarships for first-time attendees for the ATLA annual meeting. There was discussion about removing the “first time” attendee requirement from this section. Since there was not a quorum present, a Zoom business meeting will be scheduled in early December to discuss and vote on these amendments.
  6. Discussion about the position description for the SEPTLA administrative assistant. Virginia Dearborn pointed out that details on the matter are available in the minutes of the September meeting of the Executive Committee. Mr. Lincoln said something about independent contractors and IRS requirements. We may need to contact a CPA to help us with these requirements. Myka Kennedy Stephens said she would look into the matter. There was discussion about monetary compensation for this position and how it would be funded. We may need to increase the institutional dues to providiethe necessary funding.
  7. SEPTLA Position Openings.
    1. Continuing Education Committee needs a chair [No one was willing to serve as chair or co-chair.]
    2. Member-at-large of the CEC. [No one was willing to serve in this position.]
    3. Newsletter editor: Greg Murray volunteered for this position.
  8. Institutional News:
    1. Donna Roof reported on the latest developments from Westminster Theological Seminary: Our enrollment this fall has increased. We had somewhere between 90 and 100 new students coming this fall. Donna Campbell and her assistant completed a major project—cataloging the Stonehouse collection, and they have begun cataloging the Knudsen collection. We have new study carrells, which look nice and have enhanced the appearance of Montgomery Library. WTS has started a new degree program: Master of Arts in Christian Studies. Bob McInnes, our archivist, has completed the arrangement and description processing for the William Young collection. Dr. Young was a WTS alumnus, philosophy professor and Presbyterian pastor.
    2. Alan LaPayover reported on the latest developments from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Seminary: Things are in a state of flux at RRS. Our sign now says “Reconstructing Judaism” and their various organizations are now under one ‘umbrella’ organization, and there have been changes made to the curriculum. We have a new archivist. Staff reductions in the library have turned Alan into a ‘one-man shop.’
    3. Jim Sauer reported on the latest developments from Eastern University, Palmer Theological Seminary. EU has a new president. The PTS library lost some of its staff. The seminary library is transitioning from EBSCO to ProQuest. As with so many other seminaries, things are financially tight at EUPTS.
    4. James Humble reported on the latest developments from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary. Enrollment is up there. St. Charles just went through an accreditation review with ATS with good remarks from this evaluation. Middle States will review their accreditation soon. Their building has recently been designated as an historical landmark.
    5. Clint Banz reported on the latest developments at Lancaster Bible College: On August 22, Dr. Peter Teague, the President of the College for twenty years announced that he will retire as of August 1, 2019. A presidential search team has been formed and the consulting firm, The Dingman Company, has been contracted to assist them in the search. Our own Director of Library Technology, Dr. Gerald Lincoln, will be retiring May 2019. Dr. Lincoln will have been at Lancaster Bible College for twenty-six years. We will miss him but are very happy that he will be able to return to his family farm in Wisconsin. This fall the College launched three new fully online programs. By next fall the goal is to have thirteen programs and in seven years they hope to have 5,000 students enrolled. The library will very soon be posting a need for an Electronic Resources Librarian position.
    6. Lydia Putnam reported on the latest developments at Missio. As of October 15, Biblical Theological Seminary is now Missio Seminary. Since the name of this institution has changed email addresses will change soon—Missio will send out an update to the SEPTLA listserv when that happens. Missio is planning to relocate to a place new location near the Philadelphia Art Institute in the summer of 2019. Due to difficulty in securing a contractor for the needed renovations on their new Philadelphia site, the seminary’s move has been delayed to the summer of 2019, at the very earliest. Enrollment is down a little. You can find Missio now at, and our online catalog has changed to Missio now has its own online digital archive, thanks to the expertise provided by Princeton University. One project that was completed ahead of schedule is the digitization of their collection of 750 theses from the former Biblical Seminary of New York, and Princeton is very kindly hosting them on their Theological Commons: The link to this is also available on our member page on the SEPTLA website.
    7. Virginia Dearborn reported on the latest developments from Princeton Theological Seminary: PTS’s FTE for 2018-2019 is down to 432. The Library is doing authority work with Marcive and doing clean-up work in Voyager (locations, patron types, etc.) in advance of migrating to another system (2-3 years from now). The Seminary has completed and published on the web a report on the institution’s relationship to slavery: Our archivist, Kenneth Henke, assisted on the report and presented during a panel discussion on October 17, 2018: Two positions from the Library moved over to IT as of July 1, 2018: Academic Technology Librarian and Digital Media Lab Coordinator.
    8. Myka Kennedy Stephens reported on the latest developments from Lancaster Theological Seminary. LTS has reconfigured its staffing responsibilities and hired Tim Whitney as Community Engagement Librarian in September. Lancaster Theological Seminary is continuing to expand its participation in the open source community as early adopters for Koha upgrades with ByWater Solutions. They are also exploring ways to better integrate SubjectsPlus (an open source library guides platform) with Koha through use of APIs, and integrating both into Moodle, its open source learning management system. The Seminary has added two JSTOR collections and a subscription to CMOS Online this summer. Lancaster Theological Seminary has begun some renovations to its campus. Their chapel has new lighting, including back-lighting of our stained-glass windows in the evenings. The chapel has been closed for the remainder of the year for additional renovation: new floors, plaster repair and painting, and new seating. The campus has been renamed in honor of a major donor, so LTS is now “Lancaster Theological Seminary, Ann B. Barshinger Campus.”
    9. Elizabeth Young Miller reported on the latest developments from Moravian Theological Seminary: With the exception of a few changes to the seminary faculty, not much has changed at Moravian. One new service, however, is Zotero workshops for seminary students.
    10. Evan Boyd reported on the latest developments at United Lutheran Seminary: United Lutheran Seminary Library has recently joined the Power Library of Pennsylvania for statewide ILL, a digital collection platform, and some e-resource collections. The seminary is currently reorganizing staff roles and a search is underway to hire a professor of worship & liturgy.
    11. Stephanie Kaceli reported on the latest news from Cairn University: The Library front desk has been relocated to the main floor of the library and the new café will be opening early December. In October, the library was able to acquire Worden shelving from Western Theological Seminary in Holland, Michigan and the library is currently working through the plans for a building renovation. Dr. Brian Toews stepped down as Provost in July and Dr. Jason Van Billiard, previous dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, has returned to Cairn as Senior Vice President and Provost.
  9. Other Business: Lacking a quorum, there was no other business.
  10. Conclusion and Next Meeting: Jim Humble offered his institution, St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, as the site for our next meeting in the spring of 2019.

Respectfully Submitted,
Robert A. McInnes
Robert A. McInnes, MA, CA, MBA, MLIS
Recording Secretary

SEPTLA Spring Meeting 2019 Invitation

Please join us for our next meeting Thursday, May 9, 2019, hosted by St. Charles Borromeo Seminary.

RSVPs accepted through April 25: jhumble [at] scs [dot] edu

Agenda (updated 5/6/19)

9:00 – 9:30: Registration and continental breakfast

9:30 – 10:30: Slack workshop

10:45 – 11:45: Business meeting

12:00 – 1:00: Lunch

1:00 – 2:30: Report on collection development policies

President’s Message, April 2019

Recent discussions surrounding the mission statement of Moravian Theological Seminary have reminded me of SEPTLA, for a trademark of both organizations involves community.  At Moravian, we pride ourselves on our hospitality and being a warm and welcoming environment, and I believe that SEPTLA embodies this same type of community.   As an organization, SEPTLA values collaboration, and members benefit from learning from one another.  Simply put, we are better together.

At the hands-on spring meeting, scheduled for Thursday, May 9 at St. Charles Borromeo, we will be harnessing the collective wisdom of SEPTLA, sharing collection development policies and exploring Slack, a cloud-based collaborative tool.  SEPTLA members can use Slack to communicate with one another, asking questions and sharing best practices.  During break-out sessions, interest groups can brainstorm how they can use Slack to build community.  To get the most out of this workshop style meeting, please bring your own device—laptop, iPad, etc.

During the business meeting, we will elect new leaders and revisit proposed changes to the bylaws, as well as the potential addition of an administrative assistant.  The proposed changes examine workflow and responsibilities.  All are welcome to participate in these discussions, which will be occurring concurrently in person and via video-conferencing (Zoom).  Please consider how you can join the conversation.

I would also encourage you to become involved in the SEPTLA community by serving in a leadership role.  There are amble ways to serve.  Currently, the following positions are open:

  • Chair of the Continuing Education Committee
  • Member at large of the Continuing Education Committee
  • President
  • Secretary

If you would like to learn more about any of these opportunities, please contact me or the Past President, Myka Kennedy Stephens.

In closing, I would like to leave you with Helen Keller’s words, which point to the value of community: “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”

Elizabeth Young Miller

SEPTLA President, 2018-2019