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.
II. The morning program began with an introduction and tutorial of Slack (https://septla.slack.com). 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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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: http://www.nbts.edu/employment-at-nbts/. 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.
Robert A. McInnes
Robert A. McInnes, MA, CA, MBA, MLIS