October 06: Theological Libraries Month

Barbara Kemmis writes “In October 2006, the American Theological Library Association (ATLA) will launch the first ever Theological Libraries Month to highlight the vital role libraries play in theological education.

Librarians everywhere will understand our challenge, says Dennis A. Norlin, ATLA executive director. It’s a common belief that any day now online resources will replace the library or reduce the expenses. Neither is happening.

Read on…

Instead, like all library directors, those at theological libraries are being called upon to play a pivotal role. They must navigate today’s expensive balancing act of preserving and making accessible valuable resources. The decisions theological librarians make about allocating budgets, formats, technology, and preservation all have a direct impact on the teaching and research that takes place at their institutions, says Norlin. If anything, theological libraries are becoming more rather than less important to their institutions.

Similarly, theological librarians increasingly serve as information brokers for their patrons. Whether on-site in the library building or remotely, via email and instant messaging, theological librarians save their patrons-faculty, staff, students, administrators and even alumni-time and frustration. By collaborating with each other as they have digitized their collections, theological libraries have multiplied exponentially the information resources they offer while continuing to provide expert guidance on how to navigate the newly available sources.

We want to support our members efforts to let their patrons know their value and importance. Libraries and librarians are at their service, offering more than their patrons imagine, says Barbara Kemmis, ATLA director of member services. Some of our members may participate simply by posting the Theological Libraries Month logo on their library’s website. Others will get even more actively involved, accessing the wealth of resources we are offering on a special section of our website to implement a wide range of activities.”