TeamWork Volume 37, Issue 1-2 (Fall 2020)

Table of Contents

2020 has been a difficult year for humanity, and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Theological Library Association (SEPTLA) has not been immune from its hardships. Our library patrons and staff have endured illnesses, closures, furloughs, layoffs, and untimely deaths, for which traditional mourning practices have been impossible. Not only do we continue to face the Covid-19 pandemic with evolving best practices for personal and social hygiene, but we also struggle anew with our implicit bias amid the racist, sexist, and classist infrastructures present in our institutions. I lament with you the tragedies in your families, libraries, schools, churches, and synagogues.

And yet, as the intentional community of SEPTLA, we abide. And we share in the mission of exemplary librarianship and its promise for the future. Since our religious and denominational affiliations run the gamut, our institutions have long held distinct and in some ways conflicting intellectual positions and theological commitments. But differing opinions have not kept us apart, whether in-person or online. Our common purposes compel us to gather, to share our burdens, and to rejoice in our significant achievements. During the SEPTLA Re-opening and Resource Sharing Summit, member libraries shared their challenges and successes serving their user communities during the Covid-19 pandemic. We heard various degrees of quarantine for print books and physical separation for employees, but a common refrain for the necessary effectiveness of virtual communication and virtual library services.

For the fall 2020 meeting, the Executive Committee has invited Dr. Thomas E. Phillips to address the membership. Dr. Phillips founded the Digital Theological Library (DTL). Its practices of joint e-book purchasing and database subscriptions have already been useful for some SEPTLA member libraries. Phillips has been vocal that he would like to support libraries and associations to harness their collective influence, save money, and share resources beyond the scope of the DTL. His presentation may shed light on an innovative way for SEPTLA to further collaborate in years to come.

I miss seeing you all in person, but look forward to gathering with you however we can. I exhort you to attend our fall 2020 virtual meeting. If you are new to SEPTLA, come to participate and plan to contribute. Interest Groups will be meeting and holding elections. Consider opportunities to serve in leadership roles. Our organization and our profession are depending on you. It will be important to have as many of you present as possible for the Business Meeting. The Executive Committee has been hard at work this year and will bring a proposal for your vote regarding a moratorium on institutional dues for the coming year. In addition, the Executive Committee will present ideas about the creation of a membership category for individuals that is distinct from our institutional affiliations. Your input will be vital to preparing a motion for consideration at the Spring 2021 Meeting.

With every good wish,

T. Patrick Milas, MLIS, PhD
SEPTLA President

Due to the coronavirus pandemic and the ensuing cancellation of the spring 2020 meeting, I did not produce a spring 2020 issue of TeamWork. The present issue captures content that would have appeared in a spring issue, including the minutes from the Fall 2019 Meeting. Therefore, this double issue is designated as “issue 1-2” of volume 37 (2020).

This issue includes all Executive Committee meeting minutes since the preceding issue of TeamWork. During this period, the Executive Committee generally met monthly, with the exception of October and December of 2019 and March and May of 2020.

I would like to thank SEPTLA’s Website Manager, Myka Kennedy Stephens, for her help in preparing this issue of TeamWork.

Greg Murray
Princeton Theological Seminary Library

SEPTLA Fall Meeting 2020 Invitation


Southeastern Pennsylvania Theological Library Association
Fall Business Meeting Agenda
Friday, October 16, 2020

Approval of Agenda

Approval of Minutes from November 1, 2019

Announcement: Michele Mesi of NBTS appointed Secretary


  • Treasurer’s Report
  • Committee Reports

Interest Group Reports

Executive Committee Report

  • Monthly Minutes available in Fall 2020 Newsletter
  • Invitation for written feedback for prospective Bylaws change (see below)

Action Item

MOTION: That the 2020-2021 institutional membership dues be suspended for all existing member institutions, due to the ongoing pandemic and reduced costs to SEPTLA.

Institutional News


Prospective Prosposed Changes to Bylaws Section 1

In June 2020, the Executive Committee voted unanimously in favor of recommending a new membership type, Individual Member, be added to the SEPTLA Bylaws. The following was proposed:

Individual membership would be open to those who:

  • Currently work in libraries
  • Have previously been employed at a library
  • Volunteer in a library, and/or
  • Are a current or recent library school student
  • Not already affiliated through an existing member library

SEPTLA individual members would be eligible to:

  • Participate in meetings
  • Vote
  • Serve on committees and in leadership positions
  • Check with individual members libraries regarding their direct borrowing programs
  • Receive complementary dues

The Executive Committee will be developing a formal proposal for consideration at the November 4, 2020 Executive Committee meeting. Should you have any suggestions for the proposal, please submit them in writing to SEPTLA President, Patrick Milas at by November 1, 2020.

Southeastern Pennsylvania Theological Library Association
Fall Meeting — November 1, 2019

I. Welcome and Opening Remarks

Patrick Milas commenced the fall meeting of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Theological Library Association at Moravian Theological Seminary. President Milas thanked the host, Elizabeth Miller, for her work on organizing the meeting space. Joining the meeting virtually were Virginia Dearborn and Mark Draper.

II. Morning Session

Lydia Putnam started a general discussion on the collection development policy of each member institution. Questions were asked and each institution was encouraged to share their current development policy. The following questions were posed and a robust discussion followed.

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

III. Afternoon Session

Members broke into two separate groups, research services interest group and cataloging and metadata interest group, for approximately thirty minutes.  James Sauer from Evangelical Seminary was asked by President Milas to serve as the chair for the research services interest group which he accepted.

IV. Business Session

Patrick Milas called to order the fall business meeting by making a motion to approve the agenda.

  1. Approval of the agenda
    1. Jim Humble made a motion to approve the agenda. Lydia Putnam seconded the motion. All member institutions present approved the agenda.
  2. Approval of minutes from the spring meeting May 9, 2019
    1. Myka Kennedy Stephens noted that the bylaws on the website are the old version from 2017 that need to be updated. Patrick Milas confirms that the website changes should be made.
    2. Greg Murray made a motion to approve the spring minutes.  Jim Humble seconded the motion. All member institutions present approved the minutes.
  3. Reports
    1. Treasurer’s Report — Evan Boyd reported $220 worth of expenses thus far. The balance was just under $12,000 currently. Evan recommended that SEPTLA find a use for the funds. Evan suggested that the Atla conference will be in Baltimore within the next 3 years and that Atla no longer requires us to use our own money to partially fund the annual conference. The complete treasury report can be found in Appendix A.
    2. Executive Committee — Patrick Milas acknowledged Virginia Dearborn’s years of service as SEPTLA’s web manager. The new appointment will be Myka Kennedy Stephens. During NYATLA’s fall meeting Patrick proposed a joint spring meeting of NYATLA and SEPTLA for spring 2020 which was received. New Brunswick Theological Seminary will host the meeting on April 16th The agenda is currently open for ideas. Patrick suggested a topic of diversity to include as a component. Separate business meetings will be held in the afternoon sessions for SEPTLA and NYATLA.
  4. Interest Group Reports
    1. Research Services Interest Group - Jim Sauer reported that the group spoke about virtual reference, chat/text reference software options, the possibility of collective use in chat/text/reference, bibliographic citation software instruction, webinars, and print vs. online reference.
    2. Metadata and Cataloging Interest Group – Vic Broberg accepted the chair position for the interest group. A discussion of better usage of opacs and resource sharing was the group’s focus.
  5. Institutional News
    1. Report from Princeton Theological Seminary provided by Evelyn Frangakis
      • There was major news after the racism and reparations audit was released. The library will be renamed after the first African American graduate of the Seminary.
      • There is lots of construction on the campus with more focus on residential learning and a master plan. Classes are now in the library during the construction.
      • Middle States Commission on Higher Education just left.
      • Work on controlled digital lending (CDL) is underway, headed by Greg Murray.
      • PTS offered retirement incentive packages, and the following library staff members accepted: curator of special collections (Ken Henke), serials and cataloging librarian (Julie Dawson), director of research and public services (Kate Skrebutenas). The library hopes to refill these key positions.
      • There is a current search for: metadata librarian, cataloging librarian, PT evening circulation supervisor.
    2. Report from Westminster Theological Seminary provided by Bob McInnes
      • WTS is remodeling the campus.
      • Staff reduction of one position.
    3. Report from Palmer Theological Seminary provided by Joy Dlugosz
      • Palmer has a new director (Joy Dlugosz) who is developing relationships with faculty and administration. Previously she was the STEM librarian and not a theological librarian.
      • There is a reduction in staff. The library staff consists of the director, two librarians, and one part-time staff administrator.
      • There is an increase in enrollment at the institution.
    4. Report from Evangelical Seminary provided by Jim Sauer
      • The director moved from Eastern (Palmer Seminary) and moved to Evangelical Seminary acting in the role of part-time Interim Director.
      • There is an increased focus on online classes and programs at the school.
      • There is a possible shrinking of the physical library with these new changes.
    5. Report from Reformed Episcopal Seminary provided by Vic Broberg
      • Currently the staff is too small with only a staff of two for archives, cataloging, and reception.
      • RES is working through Voyager and weeding the collection now.
    6. Report from Missio Seminary provided by Lydia Putnam
      • Missio is in the final stages of the move into the city. The first week in December may be the official date.
      • They have been working for several years to shrink the collection. The collection has shrunk 14,000 volumes for offsite storage. They opted to go with the vendor Iron Mountain which has a 24-48 hour delivery service for offsite storage requests.
      • Rachel McConnell is the new library director with a background in elementary education.
      • Lydia will be staying on as webmaster and technical services coordinator for the school but will be working remotely.
      • The ATS spot check will be coming next month.
    7. Report for St. Charles Borromeo Seminary provide by Jim Humble
      • SCBS is in the process of engaging architects for the new campus.
      • They are negotiating square footage for the library and considering reusing existing shelving in the new space.
      • Some sections are being weeded to accommodate the reduced square footage.
    8. Report for United Lutheran Seminary provided by Evan Boyd
      • The library’s two digitization projects are running smoothly and hope to be released in January.
    9. Report for Moravian Theological Seminary provided by Elizabeth Miller
      • At Moravian, the focus has been on outreach.
      • In October, Cory Dieterly began as the part-time College Archivist.  Cory also serves as the director of Respect Graduate School, an Islamic institution.
      • The reference librarians have organized a series of lunch and learns in partnership with the Teaching and Learning Center (TLC).  The focus of the first lunch and learn on October 23rd was on digital assignments, resources, and spaces in the library.
      • On October 30th, the librarians presented on teaching and learning resources available to faculty.
      • At the start of the fall semester, the library launched LibAnswers (a Springshare product) that facilitates virtual reference and a knowledgebase.
      • I (Elizabeth) published a book chapter in Information Literacy and Theological Librarianship: Theory & Praxis.  The book chapter is entitled "Charting Information Literacy: Curriculum Mapping at an Embedded Seminary."  A link has been posted on the information literacy channel in Slack to this open access book.
    10. Report for Lancaster Theological Seminary provided by Myka Kennedy Stephens
      • Deaccessioning and shifting projects for circulating stacks and periodicals are now complete.
      • LTS closed for two weeks in July to dismantle excess shelving, remove excess furniture, and redesign spaces. On the main floor, the makerspace was expanded and the conversation lounge has new cafe tables and sectional seating. On the lower level, patrons can find a quiet oasis with six large study cubicles, several comfortable reading nooks, and an eight-circuit labyrinth. All study and reading areas are outfitted with reading lamps and power cubes for charging devices. Good feedback was received from the changes.
      • LTS welcomed a new dean, The Rev. Dr. Vanessa Lovelace, to the campus on July 1st. The president, The Rev. Dr. Carol Lytch, announced her retirement in October. Her last day will be June 30, 2020. The Board of Trustees will be hiring an interim president to begin July 1, 2020. A presidential search committee will be formed at a later time.
    11. Report for Clarks Summit University provided by Sharon Gardoski
      • Currently Sharon is undergoing her MLIS degree program.
    12. Report for New Brunswick Theological Seminary provided by Patrick Milas
      • NBTS is currently undertaking the accreditation process for Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
      • There is an open library position for a part-time serials and acquisition staff employee.
      • Sage library is now using the vendor Gobi to provide shelf-ready cataloging.

This concluded the fall meeting for the Southeastern Pennsylvania Theological Library Association.

Respectfully Submitted,
Laura Giacobbe, MLIS
New Brunswick Theological Seminary
SEPTLA Secretary

Appendix A – Treasury Report

Beginning balance May 9, 2019 $12,090.49
PNC Non-Profit Checking
Note Deposits Date Withdrawals Posted
Membership 150.00 05/06 05/10 5,332.61
Web Host 05/09 59.94 05/10 5,272.67
Web Host 05/09 39.99 05/10 5,232.68
Web Host 06/24 59.94 07/12 5,172.74
PNC Money Market
Note Deposits/Interest Date Withdrawals Posted
05/01 6,757.95
Interest 4.02 05/31 05/31 6,761.97
Interest 3.63 06/28 06/28 6,765.60
Interest 4.28 07/31 07/31 6,769.88

Closing balance – 19 August 2019


Variance: (147.89)

Respectfully Submitted – Evan E Boyd 08/20/2019  


To learn how other SEPTLA member libraries are adjusting library services during the COVID-19 pandemic, or to update your institution’s information, please see our shared document.


On August 25, 2020, a group of SEPTLA librarians gathered on Zoom to share their libraries’ plans for reopening and to brainstorm how we can continue our commitment to resource sharing in these challenging times. The recording of this event is available on the SEPTLA website.

SEPTLA Executive Committee Meeting
September 11, 2019
Zoom Video Conference


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

Approval of the agenda

The meeting began at 2:03 pm, with Patrick explaining that the meeting will be recorded.
Several additions to the agenda were recommended, including the approval of the minutes from
the last Executive Committee meeting, the newsletter, rescheduling the next Zoom meeting, and
adding GreenGlass under other business. Virginia moved to accept these changes to the
agenda. The motion was seconded by Lydia, with all in favor of these changes.

Approval of the minutes from the August 20 Executive Committee Meeting

Elizabeth asked if there were any changes to the minutes from the last Executive Committee
Meeting. Hearing none, Lydia motioned to accept the minutes. Patrick seconded and the
minutes were approved by acclamation.

Announcements (Missio staff; NBTS staff; NYATLA meeting will be Oct 22 at Fordham)

Lydia shared that since starting at Missio, Rachel McConnell has focused on the collection that
will fit in the new space. Rachel has also looked into a moving company. Missio is scheduled
to host the spring TCLC meeting, which Rachel is assisting with. Once she is caught up, she
plans to get involved with SEPTLA.

Patrick mentioned that his colleagues have been hard at work with professional development
activities. Laura explained that she has hired two (2) library science graduate students to help
cover the desk at New Brunswick Theological Seminary. These students bring technical and
social media expertise.

Patrick explained that the next meeting of the New York Area Theological Library Association (NYATLA) is slated for October 22, the date of SEPTLA’s next Executive Committee Meeting.  Librarians from New Brunswick and Princeton often attend these meetings.  Patrick plans to attend the meeting and discuss a possible joint NYATLA/SEPTLA meeting this spring, hosted by New Brunswick.  The last joint meeting of these two (2) organizations was in 2016.  The consensus was to reschedule the next SEPTLA Executive Committee meeting, in light of the schedule conflict.

Approval of the revised spring 2019 minutes

Elizabeth sent Laura an e-mail with some additional revisions.  Virginia pointed out that Elizabeth’s name was misspelled on page 4 and that the institutional news provided by Myka Kennedy Stephens was just for Lancaster Theological Seminary, not Lancaster Bible College too.  The revisions were displayed and Patrick agreed to accept these changes.  Greg made a motion to accept the minutes, with Lydia seconding.  Thank you, Laura!

Treasurer’s report

Since Evan was not able to join us, there was not a treasurer’s report.

Continued discussion of plans for fall 2019 meeting at Moravian College 

The Continuing Education Committee has been in touch regarding the content for the fall meeting.  Splitting the day between a discussion around collection development (policy creation, revision, faculty involvement, etc.) and the value that SEPTLA offers may make sense.  Collection development was, after all, one of SEPTLA’s founding principles.  It was decided to focus on collection development in the morning and hold the business meeting in the afternoon.  During the business meeting, we can wonder aloud and explore questions related to SEPTLA’s structure, interest groups, committees, etc.

The topic of collection development may be of interest to both interest groups.  Therefore, there was some discussion as to whether or not to have interest group meetings during the fall meeting.  Patrick shared that he reached out to Jim Sauer about serving as the chair of the Research Services Interest Group and has not heard back.  Given Chris Schwartz’s new role, she would like to cycle off as chair of the Cataloging and Metadata Interest Group.  Patrick suggested having a brief time for interest groups to meet before the business meeting, for the purpose of seeing who may be willing to serve as new interest group chairs.

Elizabeth asked some questions about the schedule.  She will look to see what time the meeting started the last time Moravian hosted.  Having lunch around noon sounds good.  Setting an RSVP deadline of September 27 will provide ample time to mail attendees parking passes.  Elizabeth will send the RSVP link to Virginia.

** Please note that after the Zoom meeting, the fall SEPTLA meeting was rescheduled due to unforeseen circumstances.  The new meeting date is Friday, November 1, with an RSVP deadline of October 18.  Attendees will be parking in a different lot and passes will not be mailed. **

Virginia’s term as Website Manager and Co-Chair of the Communications Committee ends after the fall meeting.  Myka Kennedy Stephens may be interested in assuming this position.

Newsletter Discussion

Greg explained that the newsletter (TeamWork) is a conglomeration of information found on SEPTLA’s website.  Typically, the newsletter is posted/shared 30 days prior to a meeting.  Greg asked for a reminder of what is typically included in the newsletter.  Virginia replied that the minutes from the Executive Committee Meetings since the last (spring) meeting, as well as the business meeting agenda are included.  Elizabeth mentioned that the meeting schedule should also be included; she will work on the this.  The goal is to gather all the information and send it to Virginia and Greg by the end of the week.  It was decided to send out the meeting invite tomorrow.

Updates on Slack use (Cont. Ed channel; collaboration)

Some SEPTLA members are using Slack.  Patrick shared that he has now made a post using this platform.  Lydia created a Continuing Education channel and will remind people at the fall meeting to use Slack to pose questions and make suggestions.  Elizabeth posted a video and brochure about OCLC’s GreenGlass to the collection development channel.

Lydia explained that changing the location of Slack on her computer seems to help her monitor posts.  Greg shared that you can control notifications when using Slack on your phone; alerts automatically pop up.

Other business (GreenGlass)

We discussed how to proceed with OCLC’s GreenGlass.  Lydia mentioned that this topic may arise from our discussion on collection development.  One suggestion is to briefly discuss this topic during the business meeting, with the possibility of a webinar in the winter.

Adjournment until next meeting

Patrick thanked Jim for attending the meeting as a member of the Continuing Education Committee.  Patrick will send a Doodle to schedule the next Executive Committee Meeting.  He is looking forward to attending the fall meeting at Moravian and adjourned the meeting at 2:52 pm.

SEPTLA Executive Committee Meeting
November 19, 2019
Zoom Video Conference


Attendees: Evan Boyd, Deacon Vic Broberg, Laura Giacobbe, Patrick Milas, Myka Kennedy Stephens, Greg Murray, Lydia Putnam, Elizabeth Young Miller

Consideration of meeting agenda

Patrick called the meeting to order at 11:02 am.  Elizabeth asked to add GreenGlass as an item under other business.  Patrick made a motion to accept this change, with Deacon Vic seconding.  All voted in favor of the proposed addition.

Consideration of September 2019 EC Minutes

Patrick asked if there were any changes to the minutes from the last Executive Committee Meeting.  Hearing none, Greg motioned to accept the minutes.  Myka seconded and the minutes were approved by acclamation.

Consideration of Fall 2019 Business Meeting Minutes

Evan explained that he has revised information to share with Laura concerning the Treasurer’s Report.  Via email, Lydia suggested capitalizing the first a in Atla, which Laura has done.

There was some discussion about institutional news.  After Lydia checked Eastern University/Palmer Theological’s website, Patrick modified the institutional news to reflect that Eastern University/Palmer Theological Seminary has a new director, Joy Dlugosz.  Myka asked if institutions would have the opportunity to revise their respective institutional news.  Elizabeth mentioned that when she served as secretary, she sent librarians a draft of the institutional news for feedback. Patrick explained that the institutional news was based on the recording from the meeting.  Lydia provided an update to Missio’s institutional news—Missio had its ATS spot check and the size of the new location was mentioned.  Myka commented that the general membership will approve the business meeting minutes at the spring meeting.  In preparation for the spring meeting, Evan recommended sharing these minutes with the membership.  Patrick mentioned that we will revisit these minutes at a future meeting.

Treasurer’s Report

As of May 9, 2019 the balance was $11,940.49.  The current balance, as of November 13, 2019 is $11,892.86.  Expenses of $219.81 have covered web hosting.  Credits of $172.18 include dues and interest.  Evan shared that he plans to send out invoices next week.

Evan asked: What do we consider SEPTLA’s fiscal year?  Evan would like to create a written budget.  Patrick explained that historically, invoices have been sent in October or November and have been paid in January.  However, Evan highlighted that invoices are not necessarily dependent on the fiscal year.  There was then some discussion about tying the fiscal year to election cycles, which will not be pursued at this time.  Lydia asked if there are any institutions that do not have a fiscal year that runs from July 1 to June 30.  All Executive Committee members shared that these are the dates of their fiscal years.  If SEPTLA adopts a July to June fiscal year, it will allow time for new treasurers to get acclimated.

Welcome to new/returning Chairs of Interest Groups and Website Manager

Patrick welcomed Deacon Vic Broberg from Reformed Episcopal as the new chair of the Metadata and Cataloging Interest Group and thanked Chris Schwartz from Princeton Theological for her dedicated service as the former chair.  Patrick then thanked Jim Sauer, now of Evangelical Seminary, for serving as the returning chair of the Research Services Interest Group.  Patrick also thanked Virginia Dearborn from Princeton Theological for her diligence as the former Website Manager and welcomed Myka Kennedy Stephens to this new role.  It is wonderful to have Myka back on the Executive Committee.

At the spring meeting, there will be elections for President and Secretary.  Julie Dawson’s retirement coincides with the end of her term on the Continuing Education Committee.  Committee members are appointed by the Executive Committee.

Debriefing about Fall 2019 Meeting at Moravian College

Patrick thanked Elizabeth and Moravian for hosting the fall meeting.  Elizabeth shared the following post-meeting survey data with the Executive Committee:

  • 12 people completed the survey.
  • The overall satisfaction with the meeting was 4.5 out of 5.
  • Satisfaction with the collection development discussion received a 4.64 out of 5.
  • Satisfaction with the business meeting was 4.45 out of 5.
  • General comments included the following:
    • Two respondents wished that there was time for the discussion on the future of SEPTLA.
    • Another respondent commented that this was one of the most productive and worthwhile SEPTLA meetings this individual has attended.
    • One person recommended sharing institutional news over lunch or creating a Slack channel for this forum.
    • One respondent commented that optional library tours would be nice.
  • Topics/ideas for the Continuing Education Committee include the following:
    • Biblical languages for those who haven’t studied these languages
    • Collection development
    • Database how-to sessions
    • Embedding in student coursework
    • Self-care for librarians, based on increasing responsibilities
    • SEPTLA budget surplus
    • Working with faculty on research
  • Interest in virtual meetings:
    • 92% interested in webinars, co-sponsored by Atla
    • 75% interested in virtual conferencing on specific topics
    • 58% interested in virtual meetings instead of attending in person
    • 50% interested in virtual networking/social activities
    • 42% interested in viewing recording(s) after meeting
    • I person expressed interest in virtual interest group meetings
  • Potential topics for virtual meetings/webinars:
    • Collection development (2 respondents)
    • Increased (financial) collaboration (2 respondents)
    • OCLC’s GreenGlass (2 respondents)
    • Virtual reference (2 respondents)
    • Cataloging issues
    • Digitization projects
    • Embedding in student coursework
    • Engaging students and faculty
    • Promoting library resources
    • SEPTLA budget surplus
    • Working with faculty on research
  • Librarians/Institutions with possible interest in SEPTLA – Several were mentioned and Elizabeth will share these leads with Patrick so that he can follow-up.

Patrick commented that the survey generated some good, as well as new ideas.  Lydia asked that the topics for future meetings be shared on the Continuing Education Slack channel.

Continued discussion of plans for spring 2020 meeting at NBTS

At the fall NYATLA meeting there was discussion about a call for speakers and panelists for the joint NYATLA/SEPTLA meeting this spring.  After consulting with Lydia, Patrick will send an email to both the NYATLA and SEPTLA listservs calling for ideas and panelists.  The Continuing Education Committee can then review the responses.  One theme that emerged at the fall NYATLA meeting is diversity and there are some administrators at NBTS who may be interested in presenting.  Patrick mentioned that the SEPTLA budget should be able to support a relevant speaker.

Patrick encouraged us to think ahead to future host institutions.  In the past, libraries have volunteered.  Missio may be an option for the spring 2021 meeting.

Other business (GreenGlass)

Based on survey data and informal comments, Elizabeth asked if there is interest in a GreenGlass webinar this winter.  The consensus was yes, with Lydia explaining that by offering this topic in the form of a webinar, other topics can be discussed during in-person meetings.  Patrick suggested mid-February.  Elizabeth will check with her contact for GreenGlass, to see when he is available for a live recorded session, and then share this information via the SEPTLA listserv and Slack channel.

Patrick commented that he will be considering the needs of the Executive Committee.  He plans to issue the call for proposals for the spring meeting in early December and allow for about a month for responses.  Patrick will send a Doodle to identify meeting times in January, February, March, and April.

Patrick asked if there were any institutional updates.  Evan share that a page of their Gutenberg Bible will be going up for auction.


Patrick thanked everyone and adjourned the meeting at 11:54 am.

SEPTLA Executive Committee Meeting
January 30, 2020
Zoom Video Conference


Attendees: Evan Boyd, Laura Giacobbe, Patrick Milas, Myka Kennedy Stephens, Greg Murray, Elizabeth Young Miller

Excused: Lydia Putnam

Consideration of meeting agenda

Patrick called the meeting to order shortly after 2 pm.  Elizabeth asked to add the Atla Conference Scholarship under other business.  Patrick made a motion to accept this change, with Greg seconding.  All voted in favor of the proposed addition.

Consideration of November 2019 EC Minutes

Patrick asked if there were any changes to the minutes from the last Executive Committee Meeting.  Hearing none, Patrick motioned to accept the minutes.  Greg seconded and the minutes were approved by acclamation.

Treasurer’s report

Evan explained that he is behind with sending out the SEPTLA invoices and apologized.  He will be mailing the invoices this week.

As of November 13, 2019, there was a total of $11,892.86 in the SEPTLA bank accounts.  In the non-profit checking accounting, there is $5,112.73 and in the money market account as of January 31, 2020, there is $6,790.38.  As of February 17, 2020 there is a combined total of $11,903.11 in the SEPTLA bank accounts.

Update on GreenGlass recorded session or webinar

Elizabeth shared that the GreenGlass webinar is scheduled for Tuesday, February 11 at 11 am and will be recorded.  She will send a reminder email to the SEPTLA listserv, post something to Slack, and also will also share the webinar details with those who have expressed interest.

Update on Call for Proposals for spring 2020 meeting at NBTS

Patrick shared that colleagues at NBTS are collaborating on a diversity exhibit for the spring meeting, which will feature items from both the special collections and the main collection.  During the meeting we can hopefully discuss diversity in collections and services.

To date, no official conference proposals for the spring meeting have been received.  However, NBTS faculty and administration are happy to support this topic, focusing on diversity in theological education.

Evan mentioned that there is an upcoming Philadelphia Area Consortium of Special Collections Libraries (PACSCL) workshop at the Free Library of Philadelphia entitled Inclusive Practices at Philadelphia-Area LAM (Libraries, Archives, and Museums) Institutions.  He and some of his colleagues will be attending.  This conference may have some relevance for SEPTLA.

Patrick provided an update on new members in NYATLA, as well as potential new SEPTLA members.  NYATLA welcomed new member Riverside Church Archives in Manhattan.  Patrick has reached out to the Reformed Church in America (RCA) Archives to gauge their interest in joining NYATLA and/or SEPTLA.  Patrick also contacted new regional Atla members, and the theological librarian from St. Peter’s University in Jersey City may be interested in attending SEPTLA’s spring meeting.

Thinking ahead: location for fall 2020 meeting and leadership positions

Elizabeth mentioned that Westminster Theological Seminary had expressed an interest in hosting at one point in time.  Perhaps when their construction projects are complete, they might be willing to host a meeting.  Greg volunteered to inquire about hosting at Princeton Theological Seminary (PTS).  In April 2016, PTS hosted a joint meeting.  Maybe PTS could host another joint meeting with NYATLA in spring 2021 and the fall meeting would be just for SEPTLA members.

Patrick mentioned that University of Valley Forge has a new librarian.

Moving forward, Elizabeth shared that she will need to step down from her role as Past President after the spring meeting.  Typically, the Past President calls for nominations at least 30 days in advance of the spring meeting.  Elizabeth will solicit nominations beginning in early March.

Other business (including Atla Conference Scholarship)

Elizabeth explained that due to changes made to the Atla Conference Scholarship--making more members eligible to apply--she would like to spread the word to the membership in hopes of awarding the scholarship this year.  She plans to email the listserv the beginning of March.

Patrick opened a discussion regarding membership dues.  He shared that NYATLA’s dues are $20 in comparison to SEPTLA’s $75.  Perhaps a conversation about individual vs. institutional dues is warranted.  Now that SEPTLA does not need to save money to support a national meeting in the Philadelphia area, maybe it makes sense to revisit this topic with a question in the spring meeting survey.

Myka then asked about the status of the SEPTLA Administrative Assistant; dues could help pay for this position.  However, Patrick mentioned that dues may not be enough.

Evan weighed in, sharing that he would like to see dues spent on specific projects and explained that he would love to see a cross registration program.  The Chicago Area Theological Library Association (CATLA) and the Washington area regional group offer cross registration.  Patrick stated that NBTS may be open, as this offering could be mutually beneficial.  However, he cautioned that such a partnership would depend on accreditation and cost, potentially becoming political.  The question then arose: Are all SEPTLA institutions ATS accredited?  Evan volunteered to investigate and create a spreadsheet.

Members then provided some brief institutional updates.  Elizabeth shared that a longtime library employee at Moravian died unexpectedly on Saturday.  The library staff are devastated.

Patrick mentioned that NBTS’ Board of Trustees will be on campus next week to discuss an innovative hybrid curriculum.  Also, the half-time library assistant position has been filled by Michele Mesi.

Evan provided an update on United Lutheran Seminary (ULS).  The board has met the last two (2) days, and Evan is happy to share that the institution now has a consolidation loan.  In two (2) weeks, Sharon Baker will be retiring.  She has been at the library since 2002.  Evan mentioned that more items have been scanned by Backstage and 18 incunabula will be sent to auction.

Greg gave an update for PTS.  He explained that they are closing special collections temporarily due to a staffing shortage.  Currently, there are several open positions.  Greg shared that Rachel Hoff was hired as the new Preservation and Exhibits Specialist.  He will mention SEPTLA to her and hopefully she can be added to the SEPTLA listserv.

Myka mentioned that Lancaster plans to hire an Interim President before June 30.  Lancaster’s new Dean returns from study leave in a few weeks.

Adjournment (next EC meeting scheduled for February 28 at 2:30 pm)

Patrick thanked everyone for attending the meeting.  Myka moved to adjourn and Evan seconded; the meeting was adjourned at 2:45 pm.

SEPTLA Executive Committee Meeting
February 28, 2020
Zoom Video Conference


Attendees: Vic Broberg, Laura Giacobbe, Jim Humble, Patrick Milas, Myka Kennedy Stephens, Greg Murray, Jim Sauer, Elizabeth Young Miller

Consideration of meeting agenda

Patrick called the meeting to order at 2:35 pm.  Elizabeth asked to add committee appointments and elections under other business.  She also mentioned that she would like to make an announcement at the end of the meeting.  Patrick made a motion to accept these changes, with Jim Sauer moving and Vic seconding.  All voted in favor of the proposed additions.

Consideration of January 2020 EC Minutes

Patrick asked if there were any changes to the minutes from the last Executive Committee Meeting.  Greg mentioned that on page two (2), in the second paragraph, on the first line, the “L” is missing from NYATLA.  He also noted that there is some duplication regarding news at Princeton Theological Seminary, under “Thinking ahead” and “Other business.”  Even though this information was mentioned twice, it was decided to just include it once under “Other business.”  Patrick motioned to accept the amended minutes.  Vic moved and Greg seconded, with all voting in favor of the revised minutes.

Treasurer’s report

Evan was not in attendance to offer a report, so Patrick shared the numbers from Evan’s report received February 17, 2020: there is a combined total of $11,903.11 in the SEPTLA bank accounts.

Update on proposals for spring 2020 meeting

Patrick explained that the proposals are listed in the order he received them.

1. Greg Murray from PTS: Controlled Digital Lending

Greg offered to provide an overview of the basics of controlled digital lending, giving background on what PTS is doing.  He anticipates that this presentation would last between five (5) and ten (10) minutes and is not crucial to the meeting.  Elizabeth asked if this information could be shared during the institutional news, and Greg responded that yes, this is a possibility.  At a previous SEPTLA meeting Evelyn Frangakis mentioned this project.  Patrick suggested sharing institutional news outside of the business meeting so that NYATLA colleagues could be included.

2. Laura and Mariah from Fordham University: the latest in copyright concerns

Patrick received a copyright proposal from NYATLA colleagues Laura and Mariah.  He will reach out to them to find out more details, including the length of their proposed presentation.

3. Christine Fruin from Atla: an update on Atla (and/or Open Access or Scholarly Communications)

Christine Fruin approached Patrick about attending the meeting and offering a general update on Atla, lasting between 25 and 30 minutes.  She is also an expert on copyright which might be a nice tie in with the second proposal.  A discussion of open access and/or scholarly communications would also fit well with proposal four (4).

4. Jill Annitto from Atla: vocabulary clean-up for the 1000 journals indexed for RDB and Atlas, AtlasPLUS

After Patrick heard from Christine, Atla editor, Jill Annitto, contacted him.  Patrick invited both Christine and Jill to attend the spring meeting.  Jill lives in Philadelphia and her presentation might be of particular interest to the Cataloging and Metadata Interest Group.

The Executive Committee then discussed whether or not to hold interest group meetings during the spring meeting, especially since this is a joint meeting with NYATLA.  Due to the number of proposals and input from the interest group chairs, it was decided to forgo these meetings.  Vic’s topic can wait until the fall meeting, and Jim Sauer mentioned sending a survey to SEPTLA members to expand the brainstorming list.  Patrick also suggested the possibility of a conference call/Zoom meeting for the interest groups.

5. The Reformed Church in America Archives (housed in the Sage Library) is collaborating with New Brunswick librarians to curate an exhibition featuring diversity in NBTS Seminary Archives, RCA Archives, and Sage Library General and Special Collections.  This exhibit will go up on April 6 and be on display for the April 16 meeting.

Patrick mentioned that the topic of diversity was included in the survey results following the fall 2018 meeting.  NBTS plans on providing a brief introduction to the exhibit and then attendees will be welcome to explore it on their own, perhaps over lunch.

Patrick shared that money is available from Atla for regional group meetings.  Laura provided a lead for a diversity speaker: Courtney Young.  She is not available for the spring meeting on April 16, but may be an option for the fall meeting.

Special topics for the spring 2020 business meeting agenda

To prevent the business meeting from going over the allotted time, it may make sense to share institutional news at another time.  In addition to nominations and elections, the following topics will be discussed at the spring 2020 business meeting:

1. Motion from the Treasurer re: transfer of funds

Evan shared with Patrick that he would like to move some funds from SEPTLA’s checking account to the money market account, in order to earn more interest.  Patrick will request that Evan make this formal motion to the Executive Committee. Check your email for this motion.

2. Additional membership category and dues: Individual Member

Patrick explained that the topic of individual membership is a longstanding topic and could include retirees and people between jobs.  Patrick asked if we want to consider a lifetime membership option too, similar to Atla.  Elizabeth shared that the Membership Task Force had surveyed other regional groups on the topic of individual membership.

Jim Sauer raised some salient questions:

  1. What rights would individual members have?
  2. How would borrowing privileges work?
  3. Would individual memberships for solo librarians compete with institutional memberships? (We don’t want this.)
  4. Who are we targeting?  Alums, staff?

Myka suggested requiring institutional dues for direct borrowing.  Elizabeth shared that the Southern California Theological Library Association (SCATLA) offers different tiers of membership and only full members have reciprocal borrowing.

There are many things to consider in terms of dues.  Patrick shared that NYATLA’s dues are $40.  It was pointed out that SEPTLA’s dues enable us to offer the Atla conference scholarship.  Elizabeth mentioned that now that SEPTLA does not need to save money to assist with a national conference in our area, a discussion on how we want to spend our saved money may be warranted, and has the potential to impact dues.

3. Results of initial review of GreenGlass by EC and others

Perhaps at the fall meeting we can consider GreenGlass.  It may make sense to invite Pete Zeimet from OCLC to give a demonstration and have someone from SCELC present via Zoom and share discount pricing information with us.

4. Others: Direct Borrowing

There was some discussion on the SEPTLA listserv about direct borrowing and how institutions define students.  For example, can certificate students borrow materials?  Perhaps, this topic can be discussed at the business meeting and any changes to the policy can be made.

Spring 2020 official meeting invitation forthcoming from NBTS

Patrick will be sending a save the date email in the near future.

Other business (including committee elections and appointments)

Elizabeth mentioned that before she solicits nominations for the offices of President and Secretary, she wanted to check with Patrick and Laura to see if they would like to continue on in their roles.  They would both like to conclude their terms.

According to the SEPTLA website, Jim Humble’s term expired on the Continuing Education Committee and another member, Julie Dawson, retired.  If there are others serving on the committee, Jim is willing to stay on.

Elizabeth asked Myka for clarification as to when the appointed committee terms expire—in the spring or the fall.  Myka explained that in order not to conflict with elected officers of the Executive Committee, the appointed officers’ terms expire in the fall.  Elizabeth mentioned that the terms of several members of the Communications Committee will be ending in the fall of 2020.

Elizabeth then asked if all the open positions should be advertised in one email, or if the focus should instead be on the elected positions of President and Secretary.  The consensus was that only the elected positions should be advertised at this point in time.

Several members provided updates.  Elizabeth announced that she and her husband are expecting a baby the end of August.  Myka shared that there is a new position at Lancaster for a full-time library associate for online learning and digital projects; please spread the word.

Adjournment (next EC meeting scheduled for March 27 at 1:30 pm)

Patrick thanked everyone for attending the meeting.  Jim Sauer moved to adjourn and Greg seconded; the meeting was adjourned at 3:28 pm.

SEPTLA Executive Committee Meeting
April 28, 2020
Zoom Video Conference


Attendees: Evan Boyd, Vic Broberg, Laura Giacobbe, Jim Humble, Patrick Milas, Lydia Putnam, Myka Kennedy Stephens, Greg Murray, Elizabeth Young Miller

Consideration of meeting agenda

Patrick called the meeting to order at 2:01 pm.  Patrick made a motion to accept the agenda and Lydia seconded.  All voted in favor of the proposed agenda.

Consideration of February 2020 EC Minutes

Patrick asked if there were any changes to the minutes from the last Executive Committee Meeting.  Hearing none, Patrick motioned to accept the minutes.  Evan moved and Jim seconded, with all voting in favor of the minutes.

Treasurer’s report

Evan provided the Treasurer’s report.  The beginning balance on February 17, 2020 in the non-profit checking account was $5,112.73.  Membership deposits in the amount of $525 were made, bringing the ending balance as of April 28, 2020 to $5,637.73.  The beginning balance on February 17, 2020 in the money market account was $6,790.38.  With interest, the ending balance as of April 28, 2020 is $6,795.28.  The combined balance in the two (2) accounts as of April 28, 2020 equals $12,433.01.

Evan explained that the quarterly website payment is due.  He will coordinate with Jim and Myka regarding the invoice.

Patrick motioned that we accept Evan’s Treasurer’s report.  Jim moved and Lydia seconded, with all voting in favor.

Updates from officers’ institutions

Given these trying times, it was decided to take some time to check in with each executive officer to see how they and their respective institutions are faring.

1. New Brunswick Theological Seminary (NBTS)

Patrick shared that the physical library is under lockdown.  Staff are supporting virtual reference and highlighting digital collections.  Laura has been busy promoting the library and its services on social media and via Zoom.  Before COVID-19, a hybrid curriculum was already in place, which has made the transition to online only much easier.  Unfortunately, the endowment has suffered substantial losses making it necessary to eliminate the position of Collection Services Librarian.  Gerone Lockheart has been a wonderful colleague and librarian, coming highly recommended.

2. Missio

Lydia mentioned that Missio will be online through June.  Similar to NBTS, they were offering a hybrid model before.  Students are familiar with the online format.  However, faculty need to update some links.  Lydia shared that Campus Cafe replaced Jenzebar, and there were some issues with this transition.  Even though enrollment is down slightly, the institution seems to be doing okay financially.  Missio has received a PPP loan that will help with discrepancies.  It may take the institution longer to reopen since office spaces are closer together than the recommended 6 feet needed for proper social distancing.

3. Moravian

Elizabeth reported that all classes at Moravian are being offered online for the spring semester, as well as the summer.  Faculty have been instructed to prepare for online classes this fall; the president will most likely make a decision about format in July.  The library is offering chat reference and meeting with patrons via Zoom.  The financial impact of COVID-19 has been significant with many employees being furloughed and administrators taking pay cuts.  The library and seminary staff have been directly affected by the furloughs.

4. Reformed Episcopal Seminary

Vic shared that classes at Reformed Episcopal Seminary are all online.  Upgrades to the server and firewall are being made.  

5. St. Charles Borromeo

Jim reported that classes are being offered remotely.  Ordinations have been postponed to June, with a virtual graduation ceremony being planned.  Some other events have also been postponed to the fall, and books are not due until this time.  Employees are working from home, and Jim explained that one of the projects he is working on includes collection evaluation.  This project will aid with the move, which is still moving forward.  The institution has narrowed the decision down to two (2) locations.  A final decision will be made in July.  There is a buyer for the current property, and St. Charles has three (3) years left before they need to vacate their current space.  Fortunately, there are no layoffs at the time.

6. Princeton Theological Seminary (PTS)

Greg shared that things at PTS are much the same as they were in late March.  The library building is closed, and the focus is online reference, including email reference.  Librarians are highlighting online resources both subscription and free.  All departments have been asked to defer expenses to the next fiscal year.  No searches for open positions are being pursued at this time.  However, the library is hopeful that these positions can be filled at a later date.  All summer classes will be online.  Food is being delivered for those students remaining in campus housing. 

7. Lancaster Theological

Myka explained that the hybrid DMin program, which includes an intensive week on campus in the spring, has been shifted completely online; this change has been an adjustment for instructors, who now need to offer asynchronous activities.  Moodle and online learning have been Myka’s focus.  Myka has been working one-on-one with DMin students, both on Zoom and Google Hangouts.  Commencement has been postponed to the fall.  However, baccalaureate will be held virtually at the time that commencement was originally scheduled.  The president is retiring, and the seminary will be interviewing for an interim.  The position in the library, with time split between Moodle and digital projects, is still open.  The first round of interviews will involve an asynchronous assignment, complete with a video and questions.  Myka is considering how the library may reopen and offer access to computers.  A schedule with reduced hours may be an option.  She is exploring how to restart interlibrary loan (ILL) and holds, as well as how to offer curbside pickup.

8. United Lutheran

Evan shared that he is working from home.  Student workers continue to be paid and are uploading finding aids to ArchivesSpace for digitization.  United Lutheran is doing all right financially; the institution has received two (2) PPP loans.  Graduation has been postponed until next May.  In the morning, graduates from 2020 will be recognized, and in the afternoon/evening, 2021 graduates will be celebrated.  Classes in June will be held online, and faculty are being encouraged to prepare now for online classes in the fall.  Evan has seen an increase in online reference questions.  He is working on a phased re-entry plan that may begin as early as May 18.

Special topics for virtual business

1. Motion from Treasurer re: transfer of funds

There is approximately 4k in checking, which is not earning interest.  Since interest is accrued on funds in the money market account, Evan proposes that 2k from checking be moved to the money market account.  There was some discussion as to whether or not such a decision is within the purview of the Executive Committee, and the consensus was that indeed the Executive Committee could make such a decision.  Patrick motioned to transfer 2k from checking to the money market account, with Elizabeth seconding.  All voted in favor of this transfer of funds.

2. Additional membership category and dues: Individual member

Patrick explained that given the economic climate and the wish of certain librarians who no longer work at a SEPTLA library to be involved in the organization, it may make sense to consider an individual member category.  Lydia supports this category, proposing that individual membership be open to those who do not work at a SEPTLA library.

The topic of whether or not individual members could vote arose.  Lydia proposes that individual members could attend meetings, but not vote.  Myka mentioned that Atla allows one (1) vote per institution, as well as one (1) for each individual member.  If SEPTLA adopted such a model, it might be easier to establish a quorum when voting on changes to the bylaws, constitution, etc.  Evan clarified that Atla requires a quorum for both categories.  Lydia then asked what the benefit would be of having individual members who are also institutional members.

Some discussion surrounding the amount of dues ensued.  Myka shared that perhaps if institutional dues were too expensive, a librarian may be able to afford an individual membership.  Another option, of course, would be to reduce dues in general.  For example, dues could be based on collection budgets, with a cap of $75 (the amount of our current dues).  Dues do not need to increase if SEPTLA is not contributing host funds to a national meeting.  Vic asked why SEPTLA’s dues do not go up each year.  Lydia explained that having a flat dues structure makes membership an easier sell.

The financial aspect can be complicated.  We would need a way to distinguish why institutional membership is best for a library.  For example, institutional membership could offer interlibrary loan (ILL) services, as well as reciprocal borrowing.  Elizabeth shared that a perk of institutional membership in Atla includes waving the national conference registration fee. The consensus was to leave the institutional membership category as it stands.  Perhaps it makes the most sense to offer individual membership to those who are not affiliated with a SEPTLA institution.  Patrick shared that NYATLA’s dues are $25.  He wonders if SEPTLA could offer individual memberships for $15 and student memberships for $10.   Another potential category is for retired members.

Lydia highlighted that with more members, the organization would have a larger pool of volunteers from which to draw upon.

The Executive Committee then discussed whether a special task force should be formed to explore various membership options, or if this is a project that the Executive Committee would work on.  Greg recommended that the Executive Committee explore this topic.  The Executive Committee could look at Atla, TCLC, and the Southern California Theological Library Association (SCATLA).  Elizabeth volunteered to take a look at SCATLA’s dues structure.  As we learn about how other organizations handle membership and dues, we can share this information with the SEPTLA listserv.

Other business: solicitations for open positions for officers and committees

Patrick asked Elizabeth if she had received any nominations for the open positions on the Executive Committee.  She responded that she has not received a response from her call for volunteers both on the listserv and on Slack.


Patrick will send out a Doodle to identify times for other Executive Committee meetings.  Hopefully, we can meet again in May.

Patrick thanked everyone for attending the meeting.  Patrick moved to adjourn and Lydia seconded; the meeting was adjourned at 3:04 pm.

SEPTLA Executive Committee Meeting
June 16, 2020
Zoom Video Conference


Attendees: Evan Boyd, Laura Giacobbe, Jim Humble, Patrick Milas, Myka Kennedy Stephens, Greg Murray, Elizabeth Young Miller

Consideration of meeting agenda

Patrick called the meeting to order at 2:01 pm.  Since no new topics were proposed, Patrick made a motion to accept the agenda and Myka seconded.  All voted in favor of the proposed agenda.

Consideration of April 2020 EC Minutes

Patrick asked if there were any changes to the minutes from the last Executive Committee Meeting.  Hearing none, Patrick motioned to accept the minutes, and the motion passed.

Treasurer’s report (if any)

Evan provided some updates.  He has received more renewals and is still waiting on a few.  Evan will send an invoice to Greg for Princeton’s dues, and Elizabeth will share contact information with Evan for St. Tikhon’s.  After receiving the SEPTLA listserv message from Jim Sauer at Evangelical, informing members that Evangelical will be leaving SEPTLA and becoming part of the Kairos Project, Myka contacted Jim.  Evangelical has been removed from the SEPTLA website.  The bookmarks will need to be revised to reflect this change too; the most recent update to the bookmarks includes name changes for Missio and United Lutheran Seminary (ULS).

Updates from officers’ institutions

There was a reminder offered regarding the SEPTLA shared document created by Evan, noting the services that each library is offering and its institutional status (e.g. online classes, library building closed, etc.).  Please update this document as changes occur at your respective institution.

1. New Brunswick Theological Seminary (NBTS)

Patrick shared that New Brunswick Theological Seminary (NBTS) is experiencing a record number of online enrollments for summer.  The faculty voted to keep online instruction in place through the fall semester.  The library’s digital services are expanding and the former acquisitions position has shifted to digital services.  NBTS has joined the Digital Theological Library.  Social media and outreach remain important.  Laura has also been busy working on course reserves.

2. United Lutheran

Evan reported that ULS has not yet made a decision regarding the format for the fall semester; the institution plans to do so by July 1.  The earliest the library would reopen is once both surrounding counties move to the green phase, and the archives will open to outside researchers after January 1.  Evan also shared that he has resigned from the Atla Committee for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.  The statement that Atla released was fundamentally different from that which the committee drafted.  Evan also expressed frustration over promises that were made to the committee over three (3) years ago and have not come to fruition.  Evan’s dean is encouraging him to write about his experience.

ULS announced that their new president will be Rev. Dr. R. Guy Erwin, who is currently the bishop of the Southwest California Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.  Erwin starts on August 1.  Evan shared that Erwin is no stranger to ULS’ library.  When Erwin was working on his dissertation, he incorporated rare library materials into his research.

3. Lancaster Theological

Myka commented that their community and circulation librarian position was discontinued and a new full-time library associate for online learning and digital projects was hired. Their new staff member will be responsible for supporting Moodle and assisting with digital projects. Library staff have returned to the building for solo shifts in order to process orders, receive materials, and fulfill interlibrary loan requests. A final decision has not yet been made regarding the course format for the fall and beyond. Surveys were sent regarding opening/format preferences. The dean is leaning towards online classes.

4. Princeton Theological Seminary (PTS)

Greg mentioned that summer classes are online and the library is largely closed.  The front of the library, however, is open to those with a valid ID as a study space.  This area can easily be closed off from the rest of the library.  The library is offering curbside pickup for books, and there are a few staff working in the library building, including some catalogers.  Those who can work from home are being encouraged to do so through December 31.  Greg explained, though, that there is an effort to have students on campus in the fall.  However, classes may still be online.  The library is down five (5) staff members, and there is currently a hiring freeze.  Digitization is at a halt too, though staff may be allowed back in to work on such projects.

5. Moravian

Elizabeth reported that all classes at Moravian are being offered online for the summer, and the hope is that some classes will be offered on campus during the fall.  If classes are held face-to-face, there will be no fall break, and classes will be held the day before Thanksgiving.  Students will be encouraged to remain on campus.  Once they go home for Thanksgiving, they will not return until the spring semester.  Finals will be online.  The seminary students are primarily commuters and may have a different schedule.  Similar to several other institutions, the library is offering curbside pickup for books.

6. St. Charles Borromeo

Jim reported that while the library is closed to the public, it did reopen this week for faculty and staff.  Temperature checks are in place and staff must wear masks.  However, working from home is still an option.  The library is still offering interlibrary loan services.  The hope is to have students return to campus for the fall semester, especially for formation purposes.  Students may not have breaks and will be discouraged from going home.

Special topics for virtual business

1. Additional membership category and dues: Individual member

With Jim Sauer’s departure from Evangelical Seminary, a SEPTLA individual membership category seems especially relevant.  Elizabeth had shared with the Executive Committee information about the Southern California Theological Library Association (SCATLA).  This organization offers two (2) types of membership: full and affiliate.  Full members have a certain number of volumes in their collection, are accredited, and have at least one full-time librarian; these full members receive interlibrary loan (ILL) and reciprocal borrowing privileges.  Affiliate members are welcome to attend meetings, but are not eligible for ILL and reciprocal borrowing partnerships.  Currently, SCATLA does not charge any dues.  However, they have considered changing this to offset meeting host costs.

Greg shared that he is in favor of an individual membership option that would include networking opportunities and attendance at meetings.  Jim also supports this proposal and suggests that individual members not be extended interlibrary loan benefits.  Greg does not recommend borrowing privileges for individual members either.  The public may borrow materials from PTS for a fee.  Elizabeth and Myka shared that their institutions (Moravian and Lancaster) offer free borrowing cards to local clergy.  Extending borrowing privileges to individual members could present some issues.  Currently, parent institutions are responsible for lost items; this is the case both for SEPTLA and the Atla Reciprocal Borrowing Program.  The question then arises for individual members--who would become responsible for tracking down books?  This is probably a duty that the Executive Committee would prefer to avoid.  It was suggested that direct borrowing for individual members be at the discretion of each library.

Next the topic of leadership and service on committees was discussed.  Myka advocates that individual members be allowed to serve in these capacities, and Patrick echoes this sentiment.  Laura shared that she specifically joined the New Jersey Library Association, as well as ALA due to the professional development opportunities, which include serving on committees and discounts for conferences.

Another related question emerged--should individual members then be allowed to vote?  It could become awkward if this is not the case.  Laura emphasized that voting is essential for members to feel welcome and be heard.  What then would voting look like?  Would each institution receive a vote or each person?  Atla gives each institutional member, as well as each individual member a vote, so in some cases, individuals vote twice.

Another question arose--are individual members eligible for the Atla conference scholarship?

Dues were also discussed, both for individual and institutional members.  Some amounts that were suggested for individual members included $15 and $25.  A sliding scale for institutions was also suggested, with a ceiling.  Issuing invoices with these various models in place may become more complicated and additional means of payment may need to be explored, such as cash.  Elizabeth shared that the SEPTLA Membership Task force had looked at the amount for dues and surveyed members too.  It appears that our institutional dues structure is not broken, and therefore, should remain in place for the time being.

Patrick mentioned structural injustices and that dues could potentially be a barrier for some individual members.  Therefore, he suggests that individual membership be free.  This decision would provide a lower barrier for membership and could lead to more participation.

A topic that surfaced again was the relationship between individual members and institutional members.  Greg advocates that individual membership not be available to those who are employed at an institutional member library.  This recommendation was widely accepted by the Executive Committee.

Jim raised the question of termination of membership.  What would happen if an individual member presented a significant distraction or other issue?  Evan checked the bylaws, which state in 1.3.3 “[t]he Members may vote to withdraw membership from a Member for nonpayment of dues or other just cause.”

After much discussion, the Executive Committee attempted to outline who would qualify for individual membership and what this membership would encapsulate.  The following was proposed:

Individual membership is open to those who:

  • Currently work in libraries
  • Have previously been employed at a library
  • Volunteer in a library, and/or
  • Are a current or recent library school student

SEPTLA individual members are eligible to:

  • Participate in meetings
  • Vote
  • Serve on committees and in leadership positions
  • Check with individual members libraries regarding their direct borrowing programs
  • Receive complementary dues

There was a motion to bring this proposal for SEPTLA individual membership as outlined above to the membership for a vote at the next business meeting.  Jim seconded the motion, with all voting in favor of this proposal.

2. Central India Theological Seminary (CITS), located in Madhya Pradesh, India has expressed initial interest in joining SEPTLA

Patrick shared that he has responded to this inquiry.  Perhaps CITS is interested in virtual networking.  Patrick has specifically asked CITS what interests them about SEPTLA and what their membership goals are.  He has not heard back yet from CITS, but will keep the Executive Committee posted.  Jim mentioned that Atla may offer more for international members.  However, dues may be the issue.

Open Forum: other agenda items

Several Executive Committee members shared that they will be presenting at the upcoming Atla conference later this week.  Evan’s presentation is entitled “Implementing an Open Source Catalog in a Consortia Environment.”  Myka is participating in a panel presentation called “Defining Balances in Collection Development Policies.”  Elizabeth is also participating in a panel presentation entitled “Physical Collections and the 21st Century Theological Library.”  There was a question about when Atla denominational meetings will be held.  Some of them are scheduled for the week following the conference.

Patrick shared that with NBTS’s decision to offer online classes in the fall, hosting the fall 2020 meeting may not be feasible.  A decision regarding group meetings at NBTS will be made on July 15 at the earliest.

Consideration of next meeting: July or August

Evan shared that the more connected we are the less isolated the COVID-19 quarantine feels.  There was consensus to continue to meet as a group in both July and August.  Myka graciously offered to take the minutes during the July 21 meeting, as Elizabeth will not be available.

Officers expressed interest in meeting virtually as a membership.  Ideas suggested included a professional development meeting, and/or a meeting to discuss COVID-19 responses, next steps, and lessons learned from the pandemic.  Encouraging more members to communicate via Slack would be good too.


Patrick adjourned the meeting at 3:34 pm.

SEPTLA Executive Committee Meeting
July 21, 2020
Zoom Video Conference


Attendees: Patrick Milas, Myka Kennedy Stephens, Greg Murray, Vic Broberg, Evan Boyd

Consideration of meeting agenda

No additions; Greg moved to accept the agenda; motion approved.

Consideration of June 2020 EC Minutes

Correction to New Brunswick report: the former cataloging position is shifting to digital services, not the former acquisitions position

Myka moved to accept the corrected minutes; motion approved.

Treasurer’s Report


Beginning balance 28 April 2020 $12,433.01  
PNC Non-Profit Checking    
Note Deposits Date Withdrawals Posted    
        04/28 5,637.73  
Membership 375.00 05/26/2020   5/27 6,012.73  
Membership 150.00 6/28/2020   6/29 6,162.73  
TRANSFER TO M.MRKT 06/30/2020 2,000.00 6/30 4,162.73  
  Ending Balance       $4,162.73  
PNC Money Market    
Note Deposits/Interest Date Withdrawals Posted    
        04/28 6,795.28  
Interest 0.28 04/30   04/30 6,795.56  
Interest 0.27 05/29   05/29 6,795.83  
TRANSFER 2,000.00 06/30   06/30 8,795.83  
Interest 0.30 06/30   06/30 8,796.13  
  Ending Balance 07/21/2020     $8,796.13  
Balance 28 Apr 2020 $12,958.86  
Expenses:       (-)

Credits: 525.85

Respectfully Submitted – Evan E Boyd 07/21/2020    

NOTE: $2,000 moved from PNC Checking to PNC Money Market on 06/30/2020 - eb

Patrick moved to accept the report; motion approved.

Special topics for virtual business

1. Pandemic and reopening topics proposal from M. Draper

No further development on this front since Mark Draper suggested hosting this event. We had talked about the first week of August as a good time for this type of web conference. Patrick will follow-up with Mark soon to see if this is still an interest and if the timing would be good.

2. GreenGlass consortial opportunities

There is a GreenGlass offer open for Atla member libraries. An OCLC representative has offered to present at an EC or a general membership meeting sometime this fall. We still do not have pricing information. Myka shared how Lancaster Theological Seminary is using 583 and 593 notes in the MARC record to indicate which titles the library intends to retain in lieu of GreenGlass.

3. Official business amid COVID-19: what about Bylaws voting and committee member/chair/officer vacancies/transitions?

Many aspects of business are difficult when we cannot meet physically. It is unlikely that we will be able to meet physically this fall. How will we handle virtual voting? Greg offered that quorum could be reached either physically or virtually. Myka suggested that there may be a way to use the SEPTLA Survey Monkey account to construct an online ballot to collect votes. The person reviewing the ballots would need to check to make sure each institution cast one vote and that quorum was reached.

Open Forum

SEPTLA members were congratulated for their contributions to the Atla Annual Conference. We had strong representation at this virtual conference.

Princeton Theological Seminary is following up about their membership dues.

The SEPTLA listserv will be transitioning along with other Atla lists. Patrick will be receiving a spreadsheet that will need to be updated.

Brief updates from officer’s institutions

New Brunswick Theological Seminary: Michelle Macy is transitioning into a digital services role from an acquisitions position. Fall planning is proceeding with all courses to be offered online. The library’s HVAC has failed and access to the building is limited while cleaning and repairs are being made.

United Lutheran Seminary: The Gettysburg campus is looking for an assistant archivist. Two overhead book scanners have been purchased, one for each campus. The Gettysburg campus had an HVAC failure and repairs are underway. All classes will be taught online this fall. The library will offer very limited access to students on a pre-scheduled basis.

Princeton Theological Seminary: No status updates since our last meeting. It looks like the library will remain closed for the fall semester. Hiring freeze remains in place.

Lancaster Theological Seminary: No status updates since our last meeting. New student orientation started online on July 15.

Reformed Episcopal Seminary: Seminary was hit with a ransomware attack and IT recovery work is underway. Discussion is underway about how to conduct classes in the fall, though no decision has been made yet.

August through December 2020 EC meetings poll forthcoming

Patrick will send out a Doodle poll. This will also include possible dates for a virtual fall membership meeting that would include interest group meetings and other presentations. Please continue to use the SEPTLA listserv and Slack workspace to keep in touch.


Evan moved to adjourn at 2:39 p.m.; motion approved.

SEPTLA Executive Committee Meeting
August 11, 2020
Zoom Video Conference


Attendees: Evan Boyd, Laura Giacobbe, Myka Kennedy Stephens, Patrick Milas, Greg Murray, Lydia Putnam, Elizabeth Young Miller

Consideration of meeting agenda

Patrick called the meeting to order shortly after 1 pm.  He asked if there were any changes to the agenda.  Elizabeth inquired if we would be discussing the fall meeting.  Patrick suggested this discussion be incorporated with the topic of GreenGlass under “special topics for virtual business.”  He then made a motion to accept the revised agenda and Lydia seconded.  All voted in favor of the proposed agenda.

Consideration of July 2020 EC Minutes

Patrick thanked Myka for taking minutes at the last meeting and asked if there were any changes to the minutes.  Hearing none, Patrick motioned to accept the minutes as distributed.  Greg moved, with all voting in favor of the minutes.

Treasurer’s report (if any)

Evan explained that he has been dealing with a destroyed check; the corner of the check was ripped out, most likely by an automatic mail sorter.  He also shared that he just received a dues check from St. Tikhon’s.

Special topics for virtual business

1. SEPTLA Resource Sharing Status & Reopening Summit

Topics proposal from M. Draper

August 25 from 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Q&A format, with topics including: current status of SEPTLA ILL; use of spreadsheet; lessons learned from summer semester etc.

At this point in time, it sounds like the following institutions will be offering in-person classes: Cairn, Eastern, Evangelical, Lancaster Bible College, and Moravian.

The format of the proposed meeting will be similar to the fall meeting, with a series of questions that individuals will be prompted to answer.  Lydia inquired if this meeting will be in lieu of a fall meeting, or if this is a supplemental meeting.  Patrick responded that this meeting will serve as a special meeting and not replace the fall meeting.  Elizabeth asked if the date of the start of the semester will interfere with attendance.  The consensus seemed to be no.  If this is an issue, recording the meeting via Zoom will help.  Patrick will coordinate details with Mark and plans to issue a Zoom invite to the SEPTLA membership soon.

2. Fall meeting and GreenGlass offer to present at a fall meeting

Patrick reached out to Pete Zeimet at OCLC regarding pricing and did not receive any figures; this may be due to the pricing model, which is based on collection size.  Lydia wonders if an institution’s ILS may also factor into the cost; for example, for those institutions with OCLC’s WMS perhaps the cost would be less.  While not a replacement for GreenGlass, Myka has developed a process to publicly note both in OCLC records and the library’s online library catalog which items the library is committed to retain.

The fall meeting will have several parts and will most likely occur in October.  Lydia advocates for more time for interest group meetings, especially if the meeting is held virtually.  A business meeting will also be part of the agenda.  New Brunswick Theological Seminary (NBTS) has graciously offered to host a virtual fall meeting.  Myka shared that there is a SEPTLA YouTube channel, which could be used for recording.  When setting up the meeting in Zoom, one should select “allow recording/record the meeting automatically” and choose the option “optimize for 3rd party editor.”

3. Vacancy of Chair of Research Services Interest Group

With Jim Sauer’s departure from Evangelical, SEPTLA needs a chair of the Research Services Interest Group.  It is within the Executive Committee’s purview to appoint someone.  Also, the past president or president could solicit volunteers.  The consensus was to wait until the fall meeting and decide on a new chair during the interest group meeting; this has been the practice in the past.

Open Forum

Patrick asked if there were any institutional updates since the last meeting.  Lydia shared that due to the size of the classrooms at Missio, the decision was made to offer online classes.  The library, however, is open by appointment; four (4) people can be in the library at a time.  Interlibrary loan is also up and running.


Patrick thanked everyone for attending the meeting and adjourned the group at 1:33 pm.

SEPTLA Executive Committee Meeting
September 9, 2020
Zoom Video Conference


Attendees: Evan Boyd, Laura Giacobbe, Myka Kennedy Stephens, Patrick Milas, Lydia Putnam

Consideration of meeting agenda

Patrick called the meeting to order shortly after 2 pm. He invited changes to the agenda. None  were proposed. A motion was made to accept the agenda. All voted in favor of the proposed agenda.

Consideration of August 2020 EC Minutes

Thanks go to Elizabeth Miller for taking the minutes at the last meeting. Patrick asked if there were any changes to the minutes. Hearing none, Patrick invited a motion to accept the minutes as distributed. It was so moved, with all voting in favor of the minutes.

Treasurer’s report (if any)

Evan and Patrick discussed the latest back-and-forth with the mailing of checks. Evan proposed to forego 2020-2021 dues collection. It will be discussed further at the October E.C. meeting, with plans to take the matter to the membership at the fall meeting.

Reopening Summit Debrief

Thanks to Mark Draper for hosting. Lydia voiced that the discussion was needed. Myka has received the recording. It will be posted on the SEPTLA YouTube channel. Myka will announce its availability to the listserv. Myka broached the issue of a newsletter on the website prior to the fall meeting as per usual. She will call a meeting of the Communications committee including Newsletter Editor Greg.

Fall Meeting via Gardner A. Sage Library (NBTS) Zoom Planning

1. Date/time proposal: Friday, October 16 1-3:30PM

E.C. members present expect to be available. Save-the-date to be sent to membership by NBTS (host institution). Evan proposes to have 15 minutes of break for each 50 minutes of meeting.

2. Topics of interest (E.C. and C.E. committee to coordinate):

Lydia spoke in favor of a focus on serving students while library resources are constrained; let us consider implications for next fiscal year. Laura spoke advocating the importance of anti-racism in collection development and curriculum support. Evan spoke about collaborating with the Philadelphia Area Consortium of Special Collections Libraries’ Committee on Anti-racism.

Patrick spoke about the particular timeliness of diversity awareness and engagement.

Myka spoke about prioritizing critical matters of business at the fall meeting, and postponing topical interest content to be delivered via webinar format. Patrick proposed inviting DTL guests to speak for 30-45 minutes. Lydia will contact DTL staff. If they are not available, we could offer a dialogue about the benefits of constorial development. Diversity topics and GreenGlass content should be engaged in a webinar series format.

3. Interest groups: meeting time of 15-20 minutes will be reserved for IGs.

There will be Zoom breakout group meetings for the two groups. Laura clarified that an administrator needs to send users into Zoom rooms; the host can also broadcast meeting time remaining. Evan suggests including users’ IG affiliation in the RSVP. Lydia proposed offering for folks to remain in the main room if they wish.

Action item: election of chairs. Note: research and reference chair is entirely vacant.

4. Call for business meeting agenda items

Patrick suggested: spring 2019 minutes approval; honoring Jim Sauer’s retirement from Evangelical Seminary, and Sharon Baker’s retirement from United Lutheran Seminary; and committee and interest group reports.

Lydia reminded us about waiving the SEPTLA membership fee for the upcoming year as proposed by Evan.

Evan proposed to formalize the membership category proposals decided at the July E.C. meeting.

The agenda will include the election of a Secretary. This election has been postponed since the spring 2020 meeting. The position will be vacated by Laura.The C.E. committee will be recruiting for a new member to replace recently retired member Julie Dawson. James Humble will need to clarify his intentions for the Archivist position.


The next E.C. meeting is on October 6 at 1PM.

SEPTLA Executive Committee Meeting Minutes
October 6, 2020
Video Conference

Present: Patrick Milas, Evan Boyd, James Humble, Michele Mesi, Gregory Murray, Lydia Putnam

Patrick called the meeting to order at 1:01 p.m.

Consideration of meeting agenda

No changes were asked for. Patrick called for an approval of the meeting agenda; Lydia moved to approve.

Consideration of September 2020 EC Minutes

No changes were asked for. Patrick called for an approval of the minutes from the last executive committee meeting; Evan moved to approve.

Treasurer’s report

Evan deferred his information until the discussion of the fall meeting.

Welcome new officer

Patrick welcomed Michele Mesi of New Brunswick Theological Seminary to the Executive Committee in her new role as Secretary. Lydia suggested that Patrick introduce Michele as Secretary during the upcoming Business Meeting.

Consideration of term statuses

The terms of three of the positions on the Committee are set to expire. James Humble (archivist), Lydia Putnam (chair, Continuing Education Committee), and Gregory Murray (editor, Teamwork) agreed to stay on for another term.

Fall Meeting Plans

Patrick brought up the proposal for changing the bylaws to allow membership for non-affiliated librarians. The relevant bylaws are 1.1 (whose criteria must change), 1.2.5. (on voting privileges), and 1.3.1. Evan suggested that we use the next executive committee meeting to hammer out the wording of the changes. Lydia agreed. It was decided that the committee will present members with the thoughts that led to this discussion about the possibility of individual memberships. Thus, a general discussion about this matter will be part of the business meeting agenda.

At the November 4 meeting, the Executive Committee will then work on the wording the updated bylaws. At the Spring 2021 meeting, the changes will be put to a vote. Lydia  noted that this will work out well time-wise, since membership dues are usually sent out in the Fall. Patrick asked Greg to write this up for the newsletter, and to stress that it will not come up for a vote during the upcoming meeting.

Evan put forth the proposal that the 2020-21 dues be suspended due to impact on SEPTLA’s services wrought by COVID changes. Patrick put forth a motion to approve, which Lydia seconded. The motion passed unanimously.

Newsletter update

Myka (through Patrick) said that the save-the-date for the meeting appears in the slider on the homepage of the site. To clean up the News page, there are now only two sliders. To get to the video, go to News; it is the second item under "Most Recent News."

Greg apologized for not releasing the newsletter one month from the date of the general meeting, to which Patrick replied he’s not concerned with its relative proximity to that gathering.

This led to a discussion about posting minutes to the website. Greg said, and Myka corroborated, that the newsletter alone will contain the minutes; there will be no separate link for them at the bottom of the page. Minutes and meeting agendas will be incorporated as part of a single newsletter post from now on.


Jim shared that St. Charles Seminary, following through on its plans, has brought all its students back for the fall semester. Students and staff must wear masks in public places, and remain distanced in gathering-places like classrooms. The library follows these guidelines but otherwise is open for student and faculty use. Curbside pickup is now done for the sake of its lay patrons.

Evan shared that United Lutheran Seminary was renting out its unused dorm space to Gettysburg College students, which had an outbreak as soon as students returned for the fall. The Seminary is holding classes online, with some students living on campus.

Lydia shared that Missio Seminary is online for the fall.

Greg shared that Princeton Seminary is online for the fall. The library remains closed. Curbside pickup has expanded beyond faculty and doctoral students (pilot phase) to include master’s students.

Patrick shared that New Brunswick Seminary is operating all online through the spring.


The next executive committee meeting will be held via Zoom on November 4 at 1:00 PM.

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