About the Library
The Graduate Theological Union’s main library, the Flora Lamson Hewlett Library in Berkeley, is at the heart of the GTU campus both physically and intellectually. The library building was designed by Louis Kahn, the “architect of light,” and features the distinctive skylight that inspired our GTU logo. We also have a branch library located in the North Bay, on the campus of the San Francisco Theological Seminary (SFTS) in San Anselmo. Both libraries have places for collaboration and group work, silent study, and a helpful staff.
The GTU library is among the largest theological libraries in the West, but in addition GTU students also have access to the University of California Berkeley Libraries (just a five-minute walk from the GTU Library) giving students access to millions of books to check out. These libraries are excellent resources for interdisciplinary topics. The GTU Library subscribes to 131 databases that support the study of religion, as well as approximately 34,000 digital journal titles. Faculty, students, and alumni can access all these resources remotely through the Library’s website. In addition, we have relationships with seminary and theological libraries all over the country through the American Theological Library Association (ATLA) reciprocal borrowing program, so if you are writing your dissertation from your hometown or just traveling, you are never far from a library you can use.
One of the greatest strengths of the GTU library is the religious diversity of the collection. We purchase books and journals from many viewpoints, as what might be taboo to some is sacred text to others. The librarians love to receive suggestions for purchases, so if there is a topic in theology that is underrepresented in the collection, let us know and we’ll be happy to look into buying it; however, you might be pleasantly surprised at the breadth and diversity of what you can find here. We have a large and unique selection of archival materials and special collections, including Sanctuary Movement Collections, the Edith Stein Collection, Viktor Frankl Logotherapy Collection, and New Religious Movements Research Collections.
Our knowledgeable staff is available to help you navigate your research at either location, and are available for one-on-one research consultations. We offer research workshops to help students save time and work smarter, and many of the required PhD and MA courses are held right in the library to have easy access to the librarians and the collection. If you are thinking about coming to the GTU and have questions, just chat us, call, email or visit; we are happy to help!
For a brief history of the library, see this page.