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

Executive Committee Meeting Minutes, February 11, 2019

10:00 am – Video Conference (Zoom)

Attendees: Virginia Dearborn, Bob McInnes, Patrick Milas, Elizabeth Young Miller, James Humble, Greg Murray, Myka Kennedy Stephens
Excused: James Sauer, Chris Schwartz (interest group chairs)

    1. Welcome and announcements (Elizabeth)
      Called to order at 10:03 a.m.
    2. Approval of the agenda (Elizabeth)
      Approved by acclamation.
    3. Approval of the minutes from December 10, 2018 (Elizabeth)
      Approved by acclamation.
    4. Reports and Discussion
          1. Treasurer’s Report (Patrick)
            As of February 11, 2019, SEPTLA’s current balances are as follows:
            Non-profit Checking Acct (ending in 9912) = $5,032.54
            Money Market Acct (ending in 9552) = $6,746.43
            Total: $11,778.97
          2. Communications Committee (Virginia)
            Very pleased to welcome Greg Murray as Newsletter Editor. Greg would like a list of newsletter content by March 15, 2019; URLs of content already present on SEPTLA website. Any content not yet present on the site should be sent to Virginia. (Copy Virginia and Greg on everything, if that’s easier.) Lydia was a tremendous help in getting automatic backups established and the site updated. Thank you, Lydia! Slides from the now-disbanded Resource Sharing Task Force’s presentation at the Fall 2018 meeting have been uploaded to the website. Chris Schwartz requested and is managing a new Cataloging Resources page on the SEPTLA website. The one-per-page version of the SEPTLA Bookmark has been updated to reflect Biblical’s name change (now Missio). Print order for bookmarks on hold until Missio’s location change has happened.
          3. Cataloging and Metadata Interest Group (Chris)
            Chris was unable to attend today but sent a tentative topic (not posted to the SEPTLA listserv): library system modules for cataloging and metadata work. Also, she is managing a new Cataloging Resources page on the SEPTLA website.
          4. Research Services Interest Group (Jim Sauer)
            Jim was unable to attend today’s meeting.
          5. Spring meeting
            1. Save the Date: April 26, 2019 (Friday)*
              Jim Humble at Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary will be hosting the Spring SEPTLA meeting. Virginia will post a Save the Date message on the SEPTLA website, asking members to RSVP to Jim by April 12.
            2. SLACK
              Myka demonstrated Slack for the committee and sent invitations to executive committee to enter the SEPTLA workspace prior to the Spring meeting. Channels will be public to SEPTLA members who accept Slack invitations. Current channels in the workspace include # executive committee, # general, and # random. Slack will be the topic of a hands-on workshop at the meeting. Attendees will be encouraged to bring a laptop or tablet to the meeting so that they can enter and use the workspace. Myka will make Communications Committee members administrators in the space.
            3. Shared collection development
              The Spring meeting will also include a discussion about shared collection development.
            4. BYO – Invitation to the Spring meeting will include request for members to bring their library’s collection development policy and an internet-connected device (phone, tablet, laptop) to try out Slack.
            5. We will need Zoom (or other web conferencing tool) in order to include in the business meeting voting members from any libraries unable to travel to St. Charles.
            6. Elizabeth will check with the interest group chairs about possible interest group time on the meeting agenda.
    5. Adjourn (Elizabeth)

The Executive Committee will not meet again prior to the April 26 meeting at St. Charles.
Adjourned at 11:00 a.m.

*Note: The date of the spring meeting has been changed to May 9, 2019 and that RSVPs are due to Jim Humble by April 25. The Executive Committee has also called another Zoom meeting for April 15.

Executive Committee Meeting Minutes, December 10, 2018

10:00 am – Video Conference (Zoom)

Attendees: Virginia Dearborn, Bob McInnes, Patrick Milas, Elizabeth Young Miller, James Sauer, Chris Schwartz, Myka Kennedy Stephens
Excused: Greg Murray, unnamed Continuing Education Committee representative

    1. Welcome and announcements (Elizabeth)
      Called to order at 10:05 a.m.
      The attempt to call a Zoom meeting to update the bylaws was not successful. That series of votes and a discussion of the administrative assistant position has been postponed until the Spring 2019 business meeting.
    2. Approval of the agenda (Elizabeth)
      Approved by acclamation.
    3. Approval of the minutes from September 25, 2018 (Elizabeth)
      Reference in Treasurer’s Report to checking account changed from “business checking account” to “non-profit checking account.”
      Approved by acclamation.
    4. Confirmation of appointments
      Greg Murray’s appointment as Newsletter Editor and Co-Chair of the Communications Committee confirmed unanimously.
      Welcome to Jim Sauer as new chair of the Research Services Interest Group.
    5. Reports and Discussion
          1. Treasurer’s Report (Patrick)
            As of December 10, 2018 and the last account statements of November 30, 2018, SEPTLA’s current balances are as follows:
            Non-profit Checking Acct (ending in 9912) = $4,657.54
            Money Market Acct (ending in 9552) = $6,738.99
            Total: $11,396.53
          2. Communications Committee (Virginia)
            Form plugin we originally used on the SEPTLA website has been discontinued. A new form plugin was installed. Emailing via the new form is still under development. Information for New Brunswick Theological Seminary has been updated on the website. The officers list will be updated after the meeting.
          3. Cataloging and Metadata Interest Group (Chris)
            Planning to put resources and training materials for cataloging shared at the Fall 2018 meeting onto the SEPTLA website. Target date for posting these resources is January 2019.
          4. Research Services Interest Group (Jim Sauer)
            Planning to explore non-Western theologies at a future meeting. The interest group is interested in offering webinar presentations, perhaps in partnership with ATLA, that would be helpful to everyone.
          5. Resource Sharing Task Force
            The Task Force gave their recommendations at the Fall Meeting, thus fulfilling their charge. They did not write a formal report for the Executive Committee, but we will ask for their slides and hope to post them on the SEPTLA website. This task force is now disbanded with thanks and gratitude to its members: Mark Draper, Gerry Lincoln, and Evan Boyd.
          6. Continuing Education Committee
            1. Vacancies
              Two openings are available: chair of the committee and a member-at-large. Targeted invitations to fill those vacancies were not successful. Another announcement to the general membership will go out with the announcement for the Spring meeting.
            2. Spring meeting
              Given the vacancies on the committee, it would be too much to try and arrange the regularly scheduled biennial all-day workshop with grant funded programs/speakers. Executive Committee will be planning the meeting, using the biennial workshop schedule and facilitating the workshops ourselves.

              1. Dates
                Jim Humble at Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary will be hosting the Spring SEPTLA meeting. The following potential meeting dates will be offered to him: April 26, April 29, May 2, May 6, May 10, or May 9 if none of the other dates work.
              2. SLACK
                Myka introduced Slack as a tool we might want to use for our expertise list and mentoring, a suggestion that came out of the Future Task Force’s report. Discussion was favorable about deploying this for SEPTLA and it will be the topic of a hands-on workshop at the Spring meeting. Attendees will be encouraged to bring a laptop or tablet to the meeting so that they can join the SEPTLA Slack Workspace. The Workspace will be set up and in use by the Executive Committee prior to the Spring meeting.
              3. Shared collection development
                This is offered as a topic for a second workshop during the Spring meeting. Lancaster Theological Seminary is planning a revision of its collection development policy in March 2019 and Myka was planning to review collection development policies from other SEPTLA libraries as part of her review process. This could be the foundation for a larger conversation at the SEPTLA Spring meeting.
                Everyone agreed that these two topics would be appropriate and doable for the SEPTLA Spring 2019 meeting at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary.
  1. SEPTLA meeting survey results (Myka)
    20 people responded to the SEPTLA Fall Meeting survey.
Overall satisfaction: 4.21 (weighted average, scale of 1 to 5)
Comments about the meeting: “Wish we’d had a quorum.”
“Of course it is always good to see old friends and make new ones. I was just disappointed that we did not have enough participants to make a quorum.”
“I thought it was a really good meeting overall; the hosts did a great job! However, I was disappointed that we did not have a quorum to vote on changes to the bylaws at the business meeting. While their presentation was very informative, I wish that the Resource Sharing Task Force had more than one recommendation as to how we could work as a group in this area. The DTL is a good idea, but just one.”
“The afternoon proposal started late, was long in explanation, and isn’t an option that our library wishes to pursue.”
“I enjoyed the interest group meeting, but was a bit disappointed with the afternoon session presented by the Resource Sharing Committee. The presentation was narrower than I expected and not very relevant to my institution.”
“The space and accommodations were good, and there was value in the interest group meeting.”
Satisfaction with each session during the meeting: (Weighted averages on a scale of 1 to 5) 

Morning refreshments – 4.33

Cataloging and Metadata Interest Group – 4.6

Research Services Interest Group – 4.33

Business Meeting – 4.29

Lunch – 4.25

Conversation with the Resource Sharing Task Force – 4

Tour of Missio Seminary Library – 4

Reasons why people did not attend the Fall meeting: “The day/time did not work for my schedule” x 2 

“I am the only librarian at my institution and I am not able to attend any in-person meetings”

“I attended NYATLA rather than SEPTLA”

“Needed to help out with duties here at the library”

“RSVP was two weeks prior and I could not be sure I would be able to attend that far in advance”

[Skipped over responses to questions about scheduling a virtual business meeting to vote on amendments to the Bylaws.]
Recommended topics for future workshops or SEPTLA events “Something about effective goal setting in a too-much-to-get-done everyday working environment?” 

“Something on e-books librarianship.”

“1. Course-centric LibGuides; LibGuides as a way to “embed” a library’s research services into individual courses 2. Creation or adoption of videos as tools in bibliographic instruction 3. Developments in e-book accessibility for small libraries”

“Cataloging training for staff who are new to cataloging and/or non-catalogers who now find it is part of their job. (This could also be a refresher for those who catalog regularly.)”

“By next Fall, I might be able to present the pros/cons of the PA Power program in Pennsylvania. We’re about to implement their services.”

“We discussed in passing having an afternoon session focusing on cataloging for non-catalogers”

“setting up Slack for SEPTLA”

“Shared collection development”

“1. Creating a collaborative workspace for SEPTLA Members on Slack – this would build on the desire for and interest in building an expertise list, mentoring, and facilitating better support and interaction among members between meetings. 2. A conversation about shared collection development. We’re reviewing our collection development policy this spring, so this would be a timely discussion topic.”

Interest in virtual meeting offerings: (17 Responses to this question) 

Webinars, perhaps co-sponsored by ATLA – 82.35%

Facilitated virtual conferencing meetings on specific topics – 70.59%

Informal virtual conferencing meetings for social and/or networking purposes – 23.53%

View a real-time broadcast from the SEPTLA meeting in lieu of attending in person – 41.18%

View recordings of sessions from SEPTLA meetings after the conclusion of the meeting – 29.41%

Other: “Please provide recordings of any training or sessions which can be viewed at a later time. I am rarely able to attend a meeting at another location, and it can be difficult to attend webinars at the times they are offered.”

Recommended topics for a virtual meeting or webinar: “Developing a track within an MLIS program for theological librarianship.” 

“Research services, information literacy, archives”

“Copyright matters for digital formats”

“1. Course-centric LibGuides; LibGuides as a way to “embed” a library’s research services into individual courses 2. Creation or adoption of videos as tools in bibliographic instruction 3. Developments in e-book accessibility for small libraries”

“Ongoing intro to cataloging – Discussions about possibly creating a SEPTLA-version of the DTL”

“Cataloging refresher”

“preparing for ATS accreditation, assessment”

“best practices, emerging technologies, innovative approaches to librarianship, trends in theological and religious studies scholarship”

Referral for SEPTLA Membership: “If we’re looking to expand, perhaps we should consider those colleges in the area that offer degrees in theology or religion, and see if they have subject-specfic [sic] librarians. Also look at schools whose background is religious, and which may still maintain special collections dealing with that background. I’m thinking of a school like Haverford College, which has a religion major as well as a Quaker collection in their library. It might be worthwhile to make a list of schools whose libraries are involved in the support of religious or theological studies or in maintaining religious collections.”

The committee discussed these survey responses and expressed appreciation for the feedback from the membership.

  1. SEPTLA scholarship
    This was discussed at the Fall business meeting. The Executive Committee decided to open the application up to anyone who is attending the ATLA annual conference. Preference will be given to first-time attendees and presenters. The scholarship recipient must agree to present highlights from the ATLA conference in a SEPTLA webinar or at a future SEPTLA meeting.
  2. SEPTLA update for ATLA Newsletter
    Since there is nothing much to share from our Fall meeting, we will not send a recap of the Fall meeting to the ATLA Newsletter. The Communications Committee will send a short announcement to ATLA when we are ready to announce the Spring meeting that will include the topics for our workshops.
  3. Other business
    The Library Store discount is up for renewal; we’ll ask on the listserv to see if this is something the membership is interested in continuing.
  4. Adjourn (Elizabeth)
    Next meeting is February 11 at 10:00 a.m.
    Adjourned at 11:12 a.m.

SEPTLA Institutional News, Spring 2018

Biblical Theological Seminary

Lydia Putnam announced that Biblical will change its name in October to Missio.  The institution signed a lease for a building near the Philadelphia Art Museum and the Free Library of Philadelphia, and the move will take place between December 16, 2018 and January 22, 2019.  The library staff are busy with collection reduction.  Faculty are playing an important role in this project and discovering useful materials in the process.  Also, Biblical is scanning 750 theses and uploading them to the Digital Commons.

Cairn University

Stephanie Kaceli shared updates about the library and the University.  In February, the library switched to Open Athens, and this change has been very well received.  She also highlighted that the library lobby is being converted into a café.  Library director, Dr. Hewey is retiring, and Stephanie has been named the new director.  Stephanie mentioned that Cairn will be offering more STEM programs, specifically in chemistry.

Evangelical Seminary

Mark Draper reported that Dr. Len Sweet has been hired to teach in the newly approved doctor of theology (ThD) program.  Evangelical has applied for an online MDiv and an online Bible degree; both programs will impact the number of patrons who visit the physical library.

Lancaster Theological Seminary

Myka Kennedy Stephens announced that she returned from sabbatical in January and has been busy since her return.  The library continues its multi-year weeding project with a goal to complete it by August 2019. A modest climate control unit that helps stabilize temperature and humidity has been fixed in the rare books room.  Lancaster Seminary graduated the first students from its redesigned MDiv program on May 5 and looks forward to welcoming a new class of students in early August.

Moravian Theological Seminary

Elizabeth Young Miller reported that representatives from both ATS and Middle States visited this semester.  The administration is pleased with the result of these visits.

New Brunswick Theological Seminary

Ondrea Murphy explained that there have been a number of changes at New Brunswick.  Three library staff members resigned, including the library director.  Dr. John Coakley, a faculty emeritus, who holds an MLS, is serving as the interim library director.  A search will begin for a new director.  Rev. James Brumm was hired to oversee the new theological writing center and serves as archivist too.  On May 18, Rev. Micah L. Mcreary, Ph.D will be inaguarated as New Brunswick’s new president.  Another positive change involves technology upgrades, including new computers.

Palmer Theological Seminary/Eastern University

Dr. Jim Sauer shared information about staff changes and new programs.  He announced that Eastern University has a new president—Dr. Ronald (Ron) Matthews.  Dr. Matthews is a musician, as well as a faculty member, and it is hoped that he will raise money for the institution.  Marvin Smith in the library is retiring, and Chelsea Post, formerly of St. Charles Borromeo, has been hired as the Systems Librarian.  Eastern University offers several new programs: a doctoral education degree in STEM, a MA in classical education, and an online MA in theology designed for the Spanish speaking community.  The fourth cohort is enrolled in the MA in theology.

Princeton Theological Seminary

Virginia Dearborn announced that Chip Dobbs-Allsopp is the new James Lenox Librarian and that Evelyn Frangakis was named the Managing Library Director.  Princeton is currently working on their self-study for Middle States.

Reconstructionist Rabbinical College

Alan LaPayover explained that there is movement and change within Reconstuctionist Judaism.  While there has been a change of the movement’s central organization’s name to Reconstructing Judaism, the College will not change its name for a year.  Nonetheless, the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College will be putting up a new website sometime this summer.

Reformed Episcopal Seminary

Russ Buchanan reported that Reformed Episcopal will be conducting their self-study this fall ahead of their ATS site visit in 2019.  Reformed Episcopal welcomed their first international student this year; he is from Nigeria.  The Seminary anticipates other students enrolling from Nigeria.

St. Charles Borromeo Seminary

James (Jim) Humble provided several updates regarding St. Charles Borromeo.  The Seminary is working on both ATS and Middle States accreditation; they are currently trimming their ATS report.  The site visits are slated for next March.  Jim explained that nothing has been finalized either with the purchase of their current location nor where they will be moving.  The Seminary is waiting on the Board to vote, which may occur over the summer.  Most likely, it will be two (2) years before the Seminary relocates to their new campus.  Jim shared that Chelsea Post left in January to go to Palmer Theological Seminary at Eastern University.  Her position has been frozen and may not reopen.  Jim, paraprofessionals, a secretary, and student workers are staffing the library.

United Lutheran Seminary

Evan Boyd shared that there have been a lot of changes at United Lutheran. In March, the seminary board relieved the school’s first president of her role and put in place an acting president. His tenure will end June 1, as an interim president, Dr. Richard Greene, begins his duties for the coming year. ULS has received reaccreditation for all of its degree programs from both Middle States and ATS. During graduation, it was announced that the seminary received a $30 million bequest, to be used to establish a new chair on the faculty, with the bulk endowing student scholarships.

Westminster Theological Seminary

Donna Roof announced that Robert (Bob) McInnes began in January as the Archivist and Special Collections Librarian; Westminster is excited that he has formal training and experience in these areas.  She also reported that the library has new study carrels.

SEPTLA Business Meeting Minutes, May 11, 2018

Spring Meeting – May 11, 2018
Cairn University

Download PDF

I. Welcome and Thanks
Myka Kennedy Stephens welcomed everyone and called the meeting to order.

II. Approval of Agenda
Myka Kennedy Stephens asked if there were any changes to the agenda. Seeing
none, the agenda was approved.

III. Approval of Minutes from October 4, 2017 Meeting
Myka Kennedy Stephens explained that since minutes from the fall meeting were not submitted, she reconstructed them. She asked if there were any changes, encouraging members to e-mail the Executive Committee with any corrections.

IV. Reports

A. Treasurer’s Report
1. Checking balance: $4,192.48
2. Deposits reflect dues
3. Withdrawals account for meeting expenses and SEPTLA’s web presence
4. PNC Money Market balance: $6,718.14
5. Total balance: $10,910.62

B. Membership Task Force
Elizabeth Young Miller thanked committee member Jim Sauer and provided some context for the report. She emphasized that the membership would be consulted regarding the recommendations and clarified that stipends will not be offered to the president of SEPTLA.

C. Continuing Education Committee Report
Ondrea Murphy thanked Cairn University for hosting the meeting and recognized the contributions of the Continuing Education Committee: Julie Dawson, James Humble, and Lydia Putnam. The Committee will be in dialog about the fall meeting, as well as the workshop piece for the spring 2019 meeting. Currently, the Committee is looking for hosts for the fall meeting. Lydia Putnam mentioned that Biblical may be interested in hosting.

D. Communications Committee Report
Virginia Dearborn thanked those who serve on this committee and reported that that there are openings. The “News” section of the website has new content and feedback is welcome. Lydia Putnam highlighted the RSS feed on the website.

E. Research Services Interest Group Report
Ondrea Murphy reported on behalf of Bethany O’Shea. The Interest Group
discussed instructional videos, a conversation that will continue in the fall. Lydia
Putnam highlighted that there are further questions, such as meeting standards and
complying with accessibility. Virginia Dearborn also mentioned that the group
discussed how to share these videos. Bethany will share the PowerPoint slides
with Virginia, who can post them to the SEPTLA website

F. Cataloging and Metadata Interest Group
Melvin Hartwick reported for Chris Schwartz. The main topic of the meeting was the RDA Toolkit Restructure and Redesign (3R) Project. This project is dramatically changing the web-based version of the cataloging code, RDA Toolkit. At the meeting, we examined the preliminary screenshots that are available now. A beta version is scheduled to be released on June 13, 2018. We also discussed the ATLA NACO Funnel Project. Melvin highlighted that Princeton will be offering NACO training this summer and encouraged any interested libraries to contact Princeton.

V. Election of Officers
Since the past president was not in attendance, Myka Kennedy Stephens presided over the election of officers.

A. Secretary
Myka asked for nominations from the floor. Patrick Milas nominated Robert (Bob) McInnes. Bob accepted the nomination. Seeing no new nominations, Steve McKinzie moved to close nominations. Bob was elected by a clear majority.

B. President
Myka opened nominations from the floor. Donna Roof nominated Elizabeth Young Miller, who accepted the nomination. Seeing no additional nominations, Elizabeth was approved as president.

VI. Additional Openings (to be appointed by Executive Committee)

A. Archivist
Myka Kennedy Stephens shared that the Executive Committee voted to appoint Jim Humble the archivist earlier that week. The archives, which had been housed at Lancaster Bible College, will be moving to St. Charles Borromeo.

B. Newsletter Editor
Myka Kennedy Stephens explained that Stephanie Kaceli would be stepping down from her role as newsletter editor, and Myka asked for volunteers. Myka shared more about this position, explaining that this individual is part of the Communications Committee and serves a two-year renewable term, sharing the newsletter with the membership four (4) weeks before each meeting. Chris Schwartz asked if this person attends Executive Committee meetings. Myka replied that this individual would serve as a co-chair of the Communications Committee with Virginia Dearborn. Virginia and the newsletter editor would take turns attending the Executive Committee meetings. Since no volunteers were forthcoming, Myka encouraged interested parties to talk with her. The Executive Committee will appoint someone if there are no volunteers.

VII. Other Business
Myka Kennedy Stephens asked if there was any additional business. There was none.

VIII. Adjourn
Myka Kennedy Stephens thanked everyone for attending and adjourned the meeting.

Respectfully Submitted,
Elizabeth Young Miller

Executive Committee Meeting Minutes, September 25, 2018

2:30 p.m., September 25, 2018

Conference Call

Present: Virginia Dearborn (Communications Committee chair), Melvin Hartwick (interim Continuing Education Committee chair), Patrick Milas (treasurer), Elizabeth Miller (president), Chris Schwartz (Cataloging & Metadata Interest Group chair), Myka Kennedy Stephens (past president)

Not present: Mark Draper (Resource Sharing Task Force chair), Robert McInnes (secretary), a Research Services Interest Group representative

Elizabeth called the meeting to order.

Approval of the Agenda

Myka asked about committee members whose terms were expiring at the fall meeting. This was added to the agenda to be discussed. after the committee and interest group reports.

Approval of the Minutes from August 21, 2018

No additional revisions to the minutes were brought forward. Patrick moved to approve the minutes. Virginia seconded.

Continuing Education Committee Report

Melvin had no formal report. Discussion proceeded to review plans for the Fall meeting. The date of the fall meeting is November 8. The Resource Sharing Task Force is presenting in the afternoon, with the business meeting and interest group meetings in the morning. Work needs to begin on planning a biennial workshop for Spring 2019. Meeting documents should be published on October 8. Virginia will follow-up directly with Evan Boyd on the Resource Sharing Task Force to ask about putting a link to their latest survey on the website and including it in the newsletter email to go out on or around October 8.

Treasurer’s Report

As of September 25, 2018 and the last account statements of August 31, 2018, SEPTLA’s current balances are as follows:

Business Checking Acct (ending in 9912) = $4,132.54

Money Market Acct (ending in 9552) = $6,729.47

Communications Committee Report

The committee has continued to discuss possible tools for developing a member resource/expertise list. Myka will follow up on earlier conversations with Gillian Harrison Cain at ATLA about possibly partnering on a tool under development for ATLA members so that a decision can be made about how to proceed with this project. SEPTLA’s domain can support the creation of email accounts and has a webmail client. An email address has been established for a potential administrative assistant with a password that can be changed as the person in that role changes while also retaining archived emails. The website hosting contract is on a six month schedule and our next bill is anticipated in October.

Cataloging and Metadata Interest Group Report

There are many leadership changes across SEPTLA libraries in this field and Chris plans to offer to stay on as chair of the interest group for another year. The topic covered at the next meeting will be cataloging workflows. Copy cataloging is also an interest and folks attending the meeting will be asked to bring and share training resources they have developed or found. This will be written up for distribution prior to the meeting on the website and email newsletter.

Research Services Interest Group Report

Elizabeth announced that Bethany O’Shea is no longer at a SEPTLA library and this interest group is now without a chair. Discussion followed about the possibility of appointing an interim chair before the fall meeting. Since interest group chairs are elected by the interest group, appointing an interim chair is not within the purview of Executive Committee. An interest group meeting will be included in the schedule and those who gather for it may discuss what they want and elect a new chair at that time.

Committee Membership, Expiring Terms, and Vacancies

A review of the membership of the Continuing Education Committee revealed that Julie Dawson (member) and Lydia Putnam (member) have terms that will expire at the fall meeting. The chair is also available because Melvin Hartwick was appointed as interim until the fall meeting. A review of the membership of the Communications Committee revealed that Lydia Putnam (member) has a term expiring at the fall meeting and the newsletter editor position remains available. Elizabeth will reach out to Julie and Lydia to gauge their interest in serving another term and will write up a call for volunteers to be posted to the website and email newsletter.

Interlibrary Loan Courier Services

Following up on discussion at the previous Executive Committee Meeting, Elizabeth reported that Moravian participates in a regional consortium with a courier service that delivers every day during the semester. All institutions in the consortium are within a 30 mile radius. Moravian also has a UPS account that guarantees 24 hour delivery. Princeton uses USPS for all its ILL shipments.

SEPTLA Administrative Assistant

Elizabeth presented an updated draft job description incorporating feedback from the discussion at the previous Executive Committee meeting. Discussion followed about whether to put a cap on the hours this employee would work and would this person be required to attend Executive Committee and biannual meetings. The employee would need to be accountable to someone, and after discussion it was agreed that the President would be the best person to provide oversight. Supplies and equipment needed to perform the job might need to be defined in the job description/advertisement. Elizabeth will revise the job description to incorporate this feedback and the revised draft will be attached to the minutes of this meeting and shared/discussed during the general membership business meeting in November.

Other Business

New Brunswick Theological Seminary has two open positions – collection services librarian and public services coordinator/librarian. There is not another Executive Committee meeting scheduled before the Fall Meeting in November.

Elizabeth adjourned the meeting.


Job Description for SEPTLA Administrative Assistant (DRAFT)

The following draft awaits the approval of the SEPTLA membership.

Reporting to the President of SEPTLA, the Administrative Assistant serves as a liaison to several SEPTLA committees, namely the Executive Committee, the Communications Committee, and the Continuing Education Committee.

Duties include:

  • Serving as an intermediary between the meeting host institution and the Continuing Education Committee.
    • Confirming speakers.
    • Collaborating with the host institution.
  • Preparing a newsletter in advance of the fall and spring meetings.
  • Creating and ordering organizational bookmarks.
  • Serving as the point person for consortial purchasing.
  • Performing other duties as assigned by Committee Chairs and/or the President.

Note: The Administrative Assistant is welcome to attend the fall and spring membership meetings.  However, this is not normally required.

Successful candidates will have:

  • Proficiency with Microsoft Office suite, Google applications, and editing software.
  • Excellent organizational and communication skills.

Note: The Administrative Assistant is responsible for filing taxes on earned income for the calendar year.  SEPTLA does not file employee forms.  Assistant wages should be claimed with the IRS as self-employment/consultant wages.  Applicable taxes will be paid by the Administrative Assistant.  This position is not eligible for benefits.

Hours of Work:

  • Part-time, flexible
  • On average 10 to 15 hours per month
  • Hours will fluctuate based on the meeting schedule

Wage:  $13.00 an hour

Work Location:           Remote.  SEPTLA does not provide office space, a computer, or phone.

Executive Committee Meeting Minutes, August 21, 2018

1:00 p.m., August 21, 2018
Video Conference

Present: Virginia Dearborn (Communications Committee chair), Mark Draper (Resource Sharing Task Force chair), Robert McInnis (secretary), Patrick Milas (treasurer), Elizabeth Miller (president), Bethany O’Shea (Research Services Interest Group chair), Myka Kennedy Stephens (past president)

Not present: Chris Schwartz (Cataloging & Metadata Interest Group chair), a Continuing Education Committee representative

Elizabeth called the meeting to order at 1:05 p.m.

Not all members expected were present at the time the meeting was called to order. Bob asked if we needed a quorum of the Executive Committee to be able to conduct business. The Bylaws do not state that the Executive Committee needs a quorum to meet.

Elizabeth welcomed everyone to the meeting.

Approval of the Agenda

The agenda was approved with the correction that the minutes to be approved were from the August 1, 2018 meeting.

Virginia moved that the minutes from the August 1, 2018 Executive Committee meeting be approved with no changes. Bob seconded.

Continuing Education Committee

  • No one has stepped forward to volunteer as chair of the Continuing Education Committee.
  • Virginia offered to confer with her supervisor about sharing the call with the PTS Library staff.
  • Myka asked if the potential hire of a SEPTLA Administrative Assistant might make chairing this committee more attractive and doable for SEPTLA librarians.

Fall Meeting

  • Date set for November 8 at Biblical Theological Seminary in Hatfield, PA.
  • Elizabeth proposed that the plenary session be a continuation of our resource sharing conversation from the Spring Meeting.
  • Mark agreed to reach out to the members of his task force to verify that they could help lead the plenary discussion.
  • Myka asked if Lydia Putnam at Biblical could act as an interim chair or unofficial point person for Continuing Education until the Fall Meeting so that this committee has voice and representation at Executive Committee meetings. This suggestion was put on hold until after Virginia talks to her colleagues at Princeton.

Resource Sharing Task Force

  • Another survey will be going out very soon to get clarity about where SEPTLA libraries are getting their resources from and who are they getting them through.
  • Are SEPTLA libraries already getting consortial pricing for their resources? If so, a lot of vendors will not let libraries change consortiums.
  • The conversation in November will explore if SEPTLA is viable as a consortium, and if so what it would look like.
  • The revised survey will be sent out very soon and Virginia will also post a link to it on the SEPTLA website.
  • Another resource sharing possibility is exploring a federated catalog.
  • Elizabeth offered to follow-up with Jim Humble about what is in the archives related to any past consortial agreements that SEPTLA may have entered.
  • Myka asked about resource sharing in terms of interlibrary loan, direct borrowing, and shared collection development. Are there possibilities to expand and broaden resource sharing activities that would support these things that we’re already doing? For example, a courier service. Virginia offered to find out what Princeton Seminary does for loans.


  • Virginia shared a mock-up of a new bookmark design based on the feedback received from the Spring Meeting survey.
  • Biblical Theological Seminary is changing its name to Missio Seminary in October 2018, and they will be relocating to Philadelphia, PA in January 2019. Because of these changes, Virginia would prefer to wait until early 2019 to print the new bookmarks. They could be passed out at the Spring Meeting in 2019.
  • New Brunswick Theological Seminary ran out of bookmarks and would like to print their own. Virginia offered to send them the file for the new design.
  • The committee agreed that Virginia should also post the file for the current design (with Biblical as Biblical and in Hatfield) on the website.

Proposed Changes to the Bylaws

  • Section 5.3 – strike confusing language about who is chair of the Executive Committee
  • Section 6.1 – make additions to the President’s responsibilities so that it accurately reflects what the President does
    • 6.1.7 – add thanking host institutions and speakers
    • 6.1.8 – Executive Committee responsibilities
    • 6.1.7 – determine the need for task forces (numbering will be adjusted when the proposal is prepared for the membership meeting)
    • 6.1.9 – send a welcome packet to new directors; Virginia proposed to add “library” before directors.
  • Section 6.2 – strike the responsibility to reach out to new library directors from the Secretary’s responsibilities
  • Section 6.3 – revisions to the Treasurer’s responsibilities were discussed at the meeting on August 1, 2018.
  • Section 6.4 – additions to Past-President’s responsibilities
    • 6.4.3 – add survey responsibilities; Virginia proposed to add “membership” before meeting
    • 6.4.5 – add responsibilities related to the ATLA conference first-time attendee scholarship
  • Myka moved to bring these changes to the membership meeting; Bob seconded; the motion carried unanimously.

SEPTLA Administrative Assistant

  • Elizabeth shared a drafted job description for an administrative assistant that could be hired by SEPTLA.
  • A note on the job description states that the employee would be responsible for filing his/her own taxes for self-employed/consultant wages. Is this sufficient to protect SEPTLA? Elizabeth believes so because she modeled this after a similar job description for another organization like SEPTLA.
  • Discussion followed that it might be helpful to clarify that the employee would work remotely and that SEPTLA would not provide office space or equipment.
  • Virginia offered to look into our ability to provide an email account that could store archived emails instead of an email alias.

Other Business

  • Virginia asked about updates to the officers page on the website. The Membership Task Force may be removed because they completed their charge.
  • Virginia also shared a draft post of the Executive Committee minutes on the SEPTLA website. She will continue working on formatting to share posts in the new accordion widget.

Elizabeth adjourned the meeting at 2:08 p.m.

Addendum for online business:

  • On August 28, Elizabeth emailed all Executive Committee members with the news that Melvin Hartwick at Princeton had volunteered to serve as interim chair of the Continuing Education Committee until the Fall Meeting.
  • Six votes confirming Melvin’s interim appointment were tallied via email. No dissenting votes recorded.
  • On August 29, Elizabeth emailed all Executive Committee members with the results of the vote and announced Melvin’s interim appointment. She also shared that the Resource Sharing Task Force members had confirmed to lead the plenary session for the Fall Meeting.
  • Virginia emailed all the Executive Committee members that she was able to set up an email address for a potential administrative assistant ( and that the current draft of the SEPTLA bookmark is now on the Member Libraries page of the SEPTLA website.

Executive Committee Meeting Minutes, August 1, 2018

10:00 a.m., August 1, 2018
Video Conference

Present: Virginia Dearborn (Communications Committee chair), Bob McInnis (secretary), Patrick Milas (treasurer), Elizabeth Miller (president), Bethany O’Shea (Research Services Interest Group chair), Chris Schwartz (Cataloging & Metadata Interest Group chair), Myka Kennedy Stephens (past president)

Not present: Mark Draper (Resource Sharing Task Force chair), a Continuing Education Committee representative

Elizabeth called the meeting to order at 10:04 a.m.


  • Patrick announced that he will be the new director of the Gardner Sage Library at New Brunswick Theological Seminary. All the SEPTLA treasurer documents will be transferring there with him.
  • Myka announced that Hannah Bingman-Forshey resigned as circulation manager of Schaff Library. Lancaster Theological Seminary is currently seeking a Community Engagement Librarian.
  • Bob shared that he is planning to attend the Society of American Archivists meeting. The International Congress on Calvin Research will convene at Westminster Theological Seminary in late August.

Approval of the Agenda

  • No changes were made to the agenda.
  • Bob moved to approve the agenda as is; Virginia seconded.

Approval of the Minutes from March 2, 2018

  • No changes were made to the minutes.
  • Elizabeth moved to approve the minutes as is; Bob seconded.

Change in Executive Committee meeting dates

  • The meeting previously scheduled on September 19, 2018 has been canceled.
  • An additional meeting is added to the schedule for Tuesday, August 21 at 1:00 p.m.
  • A meeting in September will be held Tuesday, September 25 at 2:30 p.m.
  • Meetings will be held for 90 minutes and cut off even if there are items remaining on the agenda.

Treasurer’s Report

  • Patrick shared that the only account activity since the last meeting was a disbursement for web hosting.
  • The checking account balance is $4,132.54.
  • The money market account balance is $6,726.61.
  • Accounts total $10,859.15.

Continuing Education Committee Report

  • Ondrea Murphy is no longer at New Brunswick Theological Seminary. She took a position at a library in Delaware that is not a SEPTLA member library.
  • Elizabeth will reach out to the Continuing Education Committee members to begin work on the Fall meeting plans and to solicit nominations for a new chair.
  • The Executive Committee will revisit Continuing Education Committee membership at our next meeting and hope to make appointments for vacancies at that time.

Resource Sharing Task Force Report

  • Mark Draper was not in attendance.
  • Discussion postponed until next meeting.

Spring Meeting Survey Results

  • Overall the feedback on the meeting was very positive.
  • Ideas for topics to cover at future meetings included:
    • A fuller presentation on creating instructional videos
    • The possible development of a theological librarianship course at a nearby MSLIS school. The committee discussed that this is something we might need to refer to ATLA.
    • Assessment and preparation for ATS accreditation
    • Library and archives tours
    • User experience and needs assessments
    • Collection analysis and shared collection development among SEPTLA libraries
  • Respondents were overwhelmingly in favor of webinars co-sponsored with ATLA as well as facilitated virtual conferencing meetings on specific topics. Elizabeth suggested the next survey will ask which topics people would be most interested in engaging in a webinar or virtual conference format.
  • The only possible new member suggested was Eastern Mennonite University, which has a campus in Lancaster. Myka shared what she knows about EMU’s Lancaster campus based on Lancaster Theological Seminary’s agreement with them for library access. When their new community engagement librarian is hired, Lancaster Theological Seminary will renew their relationship with EMU’s Lancaster campus and provide SEPTLA with an update.
  • Most respondents were either very satisfied or satisfied with the format of Teamwork’s spring issue.
  • When asked about a dues increase, 10 respondents thought it would be fine and 4 were against. Those who spoke against it were strongly against it. Myka suggested that perhaps the Executive Committee should go ahead and move forward with new initiatives that may have a financial cost and revisit the topic of a dues increase once we know the full financial impact of the initiatives and how much of an increase is needed to keep SEPTLA’s accounts healthy.
  • The bookmark option that got the most top choice results is a 2.5″ x 8″ bookmark with the SEPTLA logo and general information about reciprocal borrowing on front, and a list of SEPTLA member libraries with city and state on the back (color front, b&w back). Virginia offered to make a design attempt before the fall meeting.

Communications Committee Report

  • Virginia demonstrated a new format for the electronic newsletter on the SEPTLA website. Discussion followed about how to populate the format with text from posts so that text does not have to be entered twice.
  • Elizabeth has tried reaching out to three different libraries to find a newsletter editor and has not been successful in recruiting a nomination.
  • Virginia mentioned that she does not wish to be reappointed to website manager and co-chair of the Communications Committee at the end of her term.

Cataloging and Metadata Interest Group Report

  • Chris shared that attendance at the spring meeting was smaller than usual, but they had a good discussion.
  • An observation: there are several newer catalogers and those who catalog in addition to other responsibilities who may benefit from a more collaborative teaching/training opportunity at SEPTLA meetings.
  • At the fall meeting, the interest group will be continuing a discussion of the RDA Toolkit.
  • Chris will be stepping down as chair and the group will elect a new chair at the fall meeting.

Research Services Interest Group Report

  • Bethany shared the following that she intends to forward to the interest group: At the Spring meeting, many of the attendees mentioned wanting to further pursue the topic of creating instructional videos. I think a group-wide discussion might work as one of this years meeting programs. We could brainstorm resources that we own and talents each member possesses as a way to think about how each library/group of libraries could work to make videos. I would be interested in showing clips of the video creation process from other librarians and could re-show my example video from the Spring meeting.

SEPTLA Updates for the ATLA Newsletter

  • Myka provided some background information: Roger Morales at ATLA would like to help regional groups connect with the larger ATLA membership through the ATLA Newsletter. In the past, SEPTLA has only submitted articles to the ATLA Newsletter when we’ve received a grant for one of our biennial meetings. Do we want to submit articles to the ATLA Newsletter more often? Who should be responsible for this?
  • Elizabeth suggested that it would be good to submit an article to the ATLA Newsletter at least once a year.
  • Chris suggested that we might repurpose some of our own blog posts instead of generating new content. Discussion followed that most of our blog posts are reports and minutes that wouldn’t necessarily be of interest or appropriate for the ATLA Newsletter.
  • This could be part of the responsibilities of an administrative assistant, if this is a direction we’d like to pursue.
  • The Communications Committee would also be a good home for something like this.
  • Patrick suggested that the past-president might be an appropriate person to submit a SEPTLA annual report for the ATLA Newsletter. Since the past-president does not currently generate an annual report for SEPTLA, this would be a new responsibility and could have value for the organization.
  • The Executive Committee will revisit this in the spring.

Potential New Member Library

  • Elizabeth shared that Duquesne University in western Pennsylvania near Pittsburgh is interested in joining SEPTLA. One major difficulty is that we would not be able to make a site visit as stipulated in our bylaws, and the staff members would not be likely to attend any SEPTLA meetings. Bethany shared that Pittsburgh Theological Seminary is a member of the Ohio Theological Library Association. Elizabeth will suggest DU look into membership there.
  • One possibility is to offer individual membership in addition to institutional membership. This would also help librarians in other non-ATLA libraries who have an interest in theological librarianship become involved in an professional organization.
  • Chris remembers a time when individual memberships were discussed before, and one former SEPTLA member felt very strongly that individual memberships would help people feel more invested in the organization, but nothing ever came of the discussion. Jim Humble might be able to find something in the SEPTLA archives.

Membership Drive or New Leadership Model?

  • Invitations to the spring meeting were sent out to the libraries identified by the Membership Task Force as possible potential member institutions. There was a very low response rate. A membership drive for institutional members is not likely to be fruitful or very feasible.
  • A new leadership model for the elected one-year term offices may be very helpful to keep us moving forward. These offices are secretary, president, and past-president.
  • Elizabeth proposed an alphabetical rotation based on institution name. Another regional library organization uses this model. This would mean a three-year commitment for an institutional representative to cycle through the three offices.
  • Additional rotation cycles might also be helpful for committee membership and committee chairs.
  • The possibility of individual memberships was brought up again and how this could also potentially help with leadership.

Changes to the Bylaws

  • Elizabeth is in the process of reviewing the Bylaws and making suggested changes so that they more accurately reflect the current responsibilities and expectations of the offices.
  • Language for updating the Treasurer’s section was discussed.
  • A more thorough consideration of Bylaws revisions will be given at the next meeting.

SEPTLA Administrative Assistant

  • This discussion was postponed until the next meeting

Other Business

  • The Fall meeting is not settled. Potential dates to suggest to the Continuing Education Committee were discussed. The best possible dates for those present and their institutions included November 7, 8, 12, 13, 14, or 15.

Elizabeth adjourned the meeting at 11:32 a.m.

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

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.