Executive Committee Minutes, December 2, 2017

SEPTLA Executive Committee Meeting - December 6, 2017 - Teleconference - Meeting Minutes

In attendance: Myka Kennedy Stephens, Elizabeth Miller, Mark Draper, Bethany O’Shea, Christine Schwartz, Virginia Dearborn, Patrick Milas, Ondrea Murphy


Myka welcomed those in attendance to the meeting. She opened with a request for someone to take meeting minutes. Ondrea from NBTS offered to take the minutes.

Approval of Agenda

Approved by general consensus.


Myka announced a change in the executive committee membership. Jen Gundry has stepped down from her position as Past President effective immediately. Samantha Rice the current SEPTLA secretary was nominated to assist with Past President duties that included taking minutes of executive committee and other duties as assigned.
The motion carried.

Approval of Minutes

Approval of the August meeting minutes with minimal typographical errors corrected was approved.

Treasurer’s Report

Patrick presented the Treasurer’s Report: $2917.48 Checking & $6706.69 Money Market.

Resource Sharing Task Force – Mark Draper

Mark reported that the committee had not had a chance to meet officially due to schedule conflicts. He would like to extend the process in to the spring. He has asked that the committee report back for the February executive committee meeting. By that point he will have had a chance to meet with committee etc.

Mark proposed that a discussion of where member institutions are via electronic resources take place at the spring meeting. He believes a broader conversation should occur to confirm what is most needed by larger group.

Group discussion ensued about polling the membership before the spring meeting. Several suggestions from committee members included surveying the membership about their institutions use of electronic resources.

Mark also shared his pulling into the discussions Gerald Lincoln. Both Evan Boyd and Donna Campbell were other members suggested by committee.

Mark ended report that he would be meeting with his committee before the next executive committee meeting and would have more to report.

Organizational Matters

A. Survey results – only 11 responses.

Virginia asked what the preferred format of Teamwork be for next issue – will discuss as the next Executive meeting.
Discussion about sending out another survey to allow members to identify themselves as interested in being a mentor or mentee.

Specified interest in more discussion of resources for distance education students.

B. Bookmarks – Update needed and probably time for a new printing.

Elizabeth spoke about taskforce reaching out to other institutions about joining SEPTLA so to wait for printing. Virginia mentioned giving a mock-up version to make available to print in-house until the next printing.

Spring 2018 Meeting

Ondrea updated committee that Cairn University would be available as the host institution for the spring meeting. Stephanie Kaceli requested a May date for easier scheduling. BTS could be an alternate location if necessary.

Two possible dates decided on by Committee: 5/2 & 5/11.

The morning program will feature a FOLIO (EBSCO) presentation followed by a question and answer session.
Mark suggested adding time for discussion for the Task Force. Discussion continued regarding polling the membership before the spring meeting.

Other Business

A. Interest Group updates

TSIG – Christine Schwartz shared her committee report. Possible topics for spring include discussion about NACO training.

RIG – Patrick Milas to continue transition and discussion with new Chair, Bethany O’Shea.
Membership Task Force – Elizabeth Miller shared about the progress of the Task Force and future action items to be worked on.

B. Upcoming Meetings

Next Executive Committee Meeting to be held in February.

Meeting Adjourned

SEPTLA Business Meeting Agenda, May 11, 2018

  1. Welcome and Thanks
  2. Approval of Agenda
  3. Approval of Minutes from October 4, 2017
  4. Reports
    • Treasurer’s Report
    • Membership Task Force Report
    • Continuing Education Committee Report
    • Communications Committee Report
    • Research Services Interest Group
    • Cataloging and Metadata Interest Group Report
  5. Election of Officers
    • Secretary
    • President
  6. Additional Openings (to be appointed by Executive Committee)
    • Archivist
    • Newsletter Editor
  7. Institutional News
  8. Other Business
  9. Adjourn

Executive Committee Meeting Minutes, March 2, 2018

10:30 a.m. Teleconference

Attendees: Virginia Dearborn, Mark Draper, Patrick Milas, Elizabeth Miller, Ondrea Murphy, Bethany O’Shea, Myka Kennedy Stephens

Excused: Chris Schwartz

Approval of the Agenda

The Executive Committee voted to approve the agenda for the meeting.

Approval of Executive Committee Meeting Minutes

The Executive Committee voted to approve the minutes of the December 6, 2017 meeting.

Discussion – Executive Committee Membership Changes

Myka reported that Samantha Rice is no longer able to serve, as she no longer works at a SEPTLA member library. Virginia took the minutes of this meeting (Secretary’s duty). Elizabeth offered to help Myka with the next member survey following the Spring meeting (another Secretary duty). (Note: More frequent surveying of the membership is one of the recommendations brought forward by the SEPTLA Future Task Force.)

No minutes were received from the Fall 2017 meeting. Ondrea will try to get them from Samantha. If those minutes are not available by March 9, Myka will draft minutes based on the agenda and the exec committee will try to flesh them out. There was some discussion about the legal need (if any) for minutes as a non-profit organization. Generally, they are more of a “best practice” with the exception of documenting changes in the role of Treasurer for working with the bank.

Elizabeth volunteered to serve as Interim Secretary. There was a motion to approve Elizabeth as Interim Secretary, and the motion passed.

[Bethany joined the meeting]

Reports and Discussion:

Treasurer’s Report

The Treasurer’s Report dated March 2, 2018, was summarized by Patrick Milas, who reported that SEPTLA’s business account balance was $4,042.48 and the money market account balance was $6,712.99. View the Treasurer’s Report

The committee approved the report.

Membership Task Force Report

Elizabeth shared the report with the exec committee and there was discussion about the report and each of its recommendations.

Broadening membership criteria: As the report named several SEPTLA institutions, including Princeton, as offering both undergraduate and graduate programs, Virginia made the correction that Princeton Theological Seminary does not have an undergraduate program. Myka noted that the current SEPTLA by-laws use this language in regard to member institutions’ degree programs: “primarily at the graduate level.” Jim Sauer, who is involved in TCLC, had suggested to the task force a recruitment technique of using individuals who have contacts at potential new member institutions to send personalized letters (and chocolate) to those contacts. There was some further discussion about recruitment and whether a membership drive or something more structured and permanent was a better fit for SEPTLA.

Increase dues to $100 per institution: There are currently 17 member libraries, down from 18 because of the formation of United Lutheran Seminary. Everyone, including Patrick, agreed that it is important to know what the additional funds would go toward and to make sure that an increase wouldn’t negatively impact membership.

Explore alternate approaches to programming: We’re already doing some of these things. Greg’s talk from the Fall 2017 meeting is on SEPTLA’s YouTube channel and embedded on the SEPTLA website. ATLA is offering greater support for virtual meetings as well as producing its own webinar series. There was some discussion about Vance Thomas (Director of the Library at Central in Shawnee, KS) as a resource for producing instructional videos. When we met this fall, Elizabeth had mentioned that he presented at ATLA. Myka mentioned that increasing dues might help fund a Zoom meeting purchase for SEPTLA but that, alternatively, ATLA might be able to give online meeting support for no (or lower) cost.

New leadership model: One possibility put forth by the task force was to offer a stipend for a leadership position in SEPTLA. Elizabeth will find out what the one example group the task force had identified does. She thinks it was more like an hourly rate for administrative assistant-type duties. Other possibilities discussed were rotating leadership roles alphabetically (by institution) and/or encouraging co-leadership in executive committee roles.

There was some more discussion about the entire task force report. Myka offered to contact all recommended potential new member libraries to invite them to the Spring meeting as guests. Bethany raised a concern about how the task force’s recommendation to increase dues and possibily offer a stipend might be received. Myka will add “Do you know anyone at a non-member library?” to the next post-meeting membership survey. Discussing possible new leadership models will be saved to a future meeting when we (hopefully) have new members; e.g. a larger total membership. In order to avoid another lack of nominations for vacant or soon to be vacant executive committee positions (Secretary and President), Myka will seek volunteers/nominations prior to the Spring meeting.

The Membership Task Force Report will go out to the membership. Potential new member institution names currently in the report will not be posted online.

Resource Sharing Task Force Report

Mark shared that the task force wants to determine what current SEPTLA members are using (ILS, discovery, etc.). Evan Boyd is currently putting together the survey. Virginia will be in touch with him on behalf of the Communications Committee regarding promoting the survey to the membership. Mark spoke with the head of the Digital Theological Library consortium (DTL). Are there things SEPTLA members could be doing together to reduce duplication of effort across member libraries?

Continuing Education Committee

Ondrea said that the date of the next meeting will almost certainly be May 11, 2018 and take place in the library at Cairn University. There’s a chance that EBSCO may be willing to fund refreshments for the meeting. Ondrea will confer with Stephanie Kaceli (Cairn).

Communications Committee Update

Virginia reported that 1&1 has notified us of upcoming changes to our hosting package which will take effect on April 6, 2018. She will follow up with 1&1 for clarification. The next newsletter (Teamwork) should go out the week of April 6. Constituent pieces will need to be collected by March 23. Although we got some feedback from the membership following the fall meeting regarding newletter formatting, the format for the next issue still needs to be determined.

Cataloging and Metadata Interest Group

Chris was unable to attend today’s meeting and there wasn’t really time left to discuss anyway. She will email the committee an update next week.*

Research Services Interest Group

Bethany will also submit an update via email next week.**

Other business

Myka looked into online printing options for a new SEPTLA bookmark. It may end up being much smaller, which will require a revision of what information goes on it. She will include a question about it on the post-meeting membership survey.


The meeting was adjourned.

*Cataloging and Metadata Interest Group Report

For the SEPTLA spring meeting, the main topic for the Cataloging and Metadata Interest Group meeting will be a discussion of the new look to the RDA Toolkit–the RDA Toolkit Restructure and Redesign Project (3R Project). I plan to show portions of a video illustrating some of the changes. We will also look at the current RDA Toolkit user interface for comparison. The rollout for the redesigned toolkit is scheduled for June 13, 2018.

As time permits, we will also discuss a second topic, Name Authority Cooperative Program (NACO), in particular the ATLA/NACO funnel project. We have discussed this issue in the past, but it would be nice to revisit it to see who within SEPTLA is participating or planning to participate in the near future.

**Research Services Interest Group Report

At our Fall Meeting, several members expressed interest in seeking more information on the creation of instructional videos. Elizabeth Young Miller suggested contacting Vance Thomas, Library Director from Central Baptist Theological Seminary for advice. There’s a recording of an ATLA presentation on the topic available on the ATLA website.

SEPTLA Business Meeting Minutes, Fall 2017

SEPTLA Business Meeting

Lancaster Bible College

October 4, 2017


Present: Clint Banz, Hannah Bingman-Forshey, Evan Boyd, Russ Buchanan, Donna Campbell, Meredith Castor, Julie Dawson, Virginia Dearborn, Melvin Hartwick, Jim Humble, Myka Kennedy Stephens, Gerald Lincoln, Patrick Milas, Elizabeth Miller, Ondrea Murphy, Gregory Murray, Bethany O’Shea, Lydia Putnam, Samantha Rice, Donna Roof, Jim Sauer, Michael Skor, Marvin Smith

SEPTLA President Myka Kennedy Stephens called the meeting to order at 2:30 p.m. The staff of Lancaster Bible College were thanked by all gathered for their generous hospitality and accommodations for the meeting.

The minutes of the last general membership meeting on April 21, 2017 were presented. No changes were put forth. They were approved as is.

Patrick Milas gave the Treasurer’s Report. The balance of the checking account was $2,955.76. The balance of the Money Market account was $6,703.27. The total balance was $9,659.03. Discussion followed about what the funds are used for. SEPTLA has a few regular expenses incurred by the website and for biannual meetings. The rest is being saved for when the ATLA Annual Conference is next held in our area.

Ondrea Murphy gave the Continuing Education Committee’s Report. Sites and topics for the Spring 2018 meeting were suggested.

Virginia Dearborn gave the Communications Committee Report. Progress is being made toward an online newsletter and membership networking tool.

Melvin Hartwick gave the Cataloging and Metadata Interest Group Report. Chris Schwartz will continue to serve as chair of the interest group for another year.

Bethany O’Shea gave the Research Services Interest Group Report. She is the newly elected chair of this interest group.

Since the last meeting, United Lutheran Seminary (ULS) was formed by the merging of Lutheran Theological Seminary Philadelphia and Lutheran Theological Seminary Gettysburg. United Lutheran Seminary’s membership in SEPTLA was affirmed due to the active status and good standing of both predecessor institutions at the time of ULS’s establishment. Evan Boyd, director of the library, was welcomed by all present.

Also since the last meeting, Patrick Milas volunteered to serve as Treasurer. As stipulated in the Bylaws, Patrick was appointed Treasurer by the Executive Committee during their meeting on May 22, 2017. Patrick’s appointment was confirmed by the general membership present.

Myka Kennedy Stephens asked for volunteers willing to serve in a few vacant positions. Jim Humble stepped forward to serve as a member of the Continuing Education Committee. James Sauer and Samantha Rice stepped forward to serve as members of the Membership Task Force. The opening for Archivist remained unfilled.

News was shared by the institutional members present: Biblical Theological Seminary, Palmer Theological Seminary at Eastern University, United Lutheran Seminary, Reformed Episcopal Seminary, Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary, Westminster Theological Seminary, Lancaster Bible College, Lancaster Theological Seminary, Moravian Theological Seminary, Saint Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, New Brunswick Theological Seminary, and Princeton Theological Seminary.

There was no additional business to be discussed.

The meeting was adjourned at 3:00 p.m.

President’s Message, April 2018

These are extremely challenging times, my friends. Many of our member institutions are in transition – staff transitions, facility transitions, and larger institutional transitions. In the face of so much change it is hard to know what, if anything, is stable enough to stand upon. Sometimes we might feel that if we could find a resting place, somewhere away from the change to catch our breath, it would help us recover our strength to continue moving forward.

I would like to offer that SEPTLA has the capacity to be such a resting place. As a 50+ year organization, SEPTLA remains committed to bringing our institutions together for fellowship, collaboration, and continuing education. While we are not immune to change and are experiencing our own transitions, our shared commitment to theological education and librarianship in this region provides a constancy that many of us can turn to for support and encouragement.

Serving as SEPTLA’s president for these past two years has been a rewarding experience, and I thank you for the opportunity. In that time, we received the findings and recommendations of the Future Task Force and began the work of acting upon those recommendations. Our meeting in May at Cairn University developed out of some of those suggestions. We will be exploring our capacity for resource sharing as a consortium through a dialogue facilitated by the Resource Sharing Task Force, in addition to hearing about new EBSCO products like FOLIO and ATLAS Plus.

Our Membership Task Force will also be presenting its findings and recommendations during our Business Meeting. The Executive Committee, having heard the report on March 2, is eager to hear feedback from the membership about its recommendations.

The spring meeting also brings with it officer elections. We will be electing a new secretary and a new president—I will have served the two consecutive terms allowed in the Bylaws. There are also two positions open on the Communications Committee: Archivist and Newsletter Editor. Please consider volunteering for one of these positions. SEPTLA is a friendly and supportive organization for those interested in serving.

I look forward to seeing you at Cairn in May,

Myka Kennedy Stephens

SEPTLA President, 2016-2018

SEPTLA Membership Task Force Report

February 2018


The SEPTLA Membership Task Force was established during the fall 2017 SEPTLA meeting on October 4 and comprised of James (Jim) Sauer, Samantha Rice, and Elizabeth Young Miller (serving as chair).  The Task Force met via conference call on October 25 to brainstorm.  The group decided to survey the 18 ATLA regional groups listed on ATLA’s website (https://www.atla.com/Members/divisions/regional/Pages/default.aspx), as well as the following regional professional groups:

  • ACLCP (PA)
  • New Jersey Library Association, College and University Section
  • TCLC (Tri-State College Library Cooperative)
  • VALE (Virtual Academic Library Environment of New Jersey)

The list was divided up with each member of the Task Force contacting six (6) ATLA groups and a couple of regional professional groups, encouraging the chair/president of each organization to complete a brief Google survey by the middle of December.  On January 15, 2018, the Task Force met via Zoom to discuss survey responses and draft recommendations.


Survey Findings and Recommendations

Eight (8) organizations responded to the membership survey—six (6) ATLA regional groups and two (2) other regional professional groups.  Several of the responding organizations sound like they are struggling, giving the task force the sense that SEPTLA is a healthy organization.  Only one (1) organization offers individual membership, in addition to institutional membership.

Membership criteria varies and is based on the following:

  • Geography (2)
  • ATLA membership (2)
  • Institution offering advanced study in theology/divinity
  • Librarians whose work includes religion, theology, biblical studies
  • Christian university, seminary, college
  • Organizations willing to participate in leadership

Recommendation:     Broaden SEPTLA’s membership criteria

Survey responses indicate that some ATLA organizations are not limited to institutions offering graduate degrees in religion and theology.  Currently, five (5) SEPTLA institutions (Cairn, Lancaster Bible, Moravian, Summit, and Valley Forge) offer both undergraduate and graduate programs.  Therefore, the Task Force recommends expanding membership to organizations that offer both bachelors and graduate degrees, as well as broadening the cognates of graduate degrees to include counseling and ordination.

Jim Sauer compiled a list of potential new members, which was shared with the Executive Committee.

The survey also asked about dues.  Three (3) organizations do not have dues.  Two (2) institutions base dues on a library’s total budget.  One (1) institution sets dues at $75—the same as SEPTLA—and another $100 per institution.  In comparison to TCLC and PALCI, SEPTLA’s dues are modest.

Recommendation:     Increase dues to $100.

By increasing dues, SEPTLA could explore grants, scholarships, and/or special events.  Perhaps this money could be used to sponsor a library student who would like to attend a SEPTLA meeting.  Additionally, the money could be used for stipends for members of the Executive Committee, such as the president; see below for more information.  The Task Force recommends surveying the membership to see if the proposed increase in dues would preclude any institutions from membership.

Survey responses indicate an overlap in mission and purpose of each organization, with five (5) organizations mentioning both professional development and resource sharing.  Other survey responses included collaboration (2), collection development, and community building.

In terms of programming, most organizations offer some kind of meeting.   A couple responses highlighted interest group meeting and one mentioned virtual meetings.

Recommendation:     Explore alternate approaches to programming

  • Since geography can be an issue for some SEPTLA institutions, offer virtual meetings, providing live streaming of speaker presentations, which could then be posted to SEPTLA’s website. Virtual meetings may also be a selling point for new and existing members and expand our professional development reach.
  • Consider combining meetings with different groups in the area, e.g. joint NYATLA/SEPTLA meeting.
  • Look at special interest group events planned by other organizations for ideas and inspiration.

Organizations also answered a question regarding the benefits of membership in their respective organizations.  Five (5) mentioned professional development, two (2) networking, one (1) resources, and one (1) cooperative licensing.

The survey included a question about leadership, and two (2) institutions mentioned that convening, hosting, and/or leadership rotates among institutions.

Recommendation:     Consider new leadership models

Filling leadership positions in SEPTLA can sometimes be challenging.  For this reason and based on survey responses, the Task Force suggests examining the following:

  • Offer a stipend for the president of SEPTLA
  • Alphabetically rotate leadership, with someone from each library serving one year terms, first as secretary, then president, and then past president.

SEPTLA Spring 2018 Meeting Invitation

DATE: Friday, May 11, 2018
LOCATION: Cairn University

Please plan on attending the SEPTLA spring meeting at Cairn University on May 11, 2018. All activities will be held in the Masland Library. Please park anywhere in lots A-E.

Thanks to EBSCO’s generosity, there is no additional cost to lunch for individuals. Please RSVP by April 28, 2018: https://goo.gl/h9ggu5

Directions: https://cairn.edu/about/area/map/
Campus Map: https://cairn.edu/documents/2014/01/campus-map.pdf/

Questions? Email stephaniekaceli@cairn.edu

Tentative schedule

8:45-9:15, Registration and Light Refreshments, Biblical Learning Center (BLC) 131
9:15-9:30, Welcome and Introductions
9:30-11:30, EBSCO Presentations, BLC 131
11:30-12:30, Lunch, BLC Area
Sponsored by EBSCO, Inc.
12:30-1:15, Interest group meetings
• Cataloging and Metadata Interest Group, BLC 132
Discussion of the new look to the RDA Toolkit—3R Project
• Reference Interest Group, BLC 134
Creating Library Instructional Videos
1:15-2:15, A Conversation with the Resource Sharing Task Force, BLC 131
2:30-3:00, Business meeting, BLC 131
3:00-3:30, JSTOR Forum demonstration (refreshments included), BLC 131

SEPTLA Consortia Survey

The SEPTLA Executive Committee has created a Resource Sharing Task Force to study SEPTLA member’s current usage of consortia and buying groups for the purchase of library needs.

This survey has three focus areas: library services, e-resources, and print materials acquisition.

We would like to receive at least one response from each member institution by May 1, 2018.

Thank you for your time!

SEPTLA Resource Sharing Task Force