Technical Services and Collection Development

The Department as a whole is committed to the on-going development and maintenance of the various instructional and research collections (Exegesis, History, Liturgy, Practical Theology, Periodicals, Reference, etc.) that support the teaching, learning, and research activities associated with the disciplines of religion and theology undertaken in the academic and professional programs offered at the Graduate Theological Union.

To fulfill our mission, the Department strives to:

  • Select, locate, and obtain quality Library materials and services in support of the academic and professional aims of the GTU
  • Maintain accurate records and effectively manage the materials budget and the financial information
  • Provide accurate statistical, fund and other management reports
  • Develop and periodically review policies and procedures to ensure effective and efficient services
  • Develop strong working relationships with vendors, publishers, consortia and other service providers
  • Maintain strong cross-departmental working relationships with colleagues
  • Seek out new technologies in support of our work
  • Maintain a commitment to staff development & training

General areas of operations managed by the Department:

  • Library resources budget
  • Efficient and effective purchase and receipt of library materials
  • Approval plans, continuations, subscriptions and memberships
  • Bindery activities for periodicals, monographs, and theses
  • Preservation of Library materials
  • Gifts
  • Fund, statistical and other management report

Collection Development

The Head of Collection Development oversees the work of the Department including: the expenditure of the Acquisitions budgets; review and revision of the Collection Development Policy; developing working relationships with vendors, publishers, and other booksellers, producing reports, preservation efforts—but  is primarily responsible for the selection of up-to-date materials and the maintenance of the retrospective or historical collections. Currently published library materials (books, journals, newspapers, DVDs, pamphlets, sound recordings, digital resources, etc.) are selected for the use of the faculty, students, and community of the GTU according to principals, procedures, and priorities established by the Collection Development Policy.  New materials are selected and purchased on an on-going basis. Faculty and Student suggestions for purchase are most welcome; click here to submit a suggestion online.

Rare, scarce, and antiquarian materials that support the educational or cultural mission of the GTU are added to the collection on a selective basis through purchase and gift.

In addition to purchased materials, the Library has enjoyed a long tradition of benefactors who have made both significant and modest donations of books and other research-related gifts to the Library. The Flora Lamson Hewlett Library cannot accept unsolicited book donations as we no longer have the space to store gifts and will not be having a booksale. If you believe your donation is uniquely relevant to the academic and research mission of the GTU and it is not owned by the library, you may contact Clay-Edward Dixon Collection Development Librarian with the title and publication information of the book you would like to donate. Please search the catalog before contacting her, as duplicate titles will not be accepted under any circumstances.

If you are interested in supporting the library with a monetary gift, please visit this page.

If you have questions about Collection Development please contact Clay-Edward Dixon via email.

Monograph Acquisitions

Monographs Acquisitions places orders for selected individual books and non-print media in current or forthcoming publication and establishes and maintains standing orders for titles published as annuals, sets, series, and as part of blanket orders and institutional memberships.

We locate bibliographic records in OCLC for publications supplied according to established selection criteria by our primary German and Italian vendors, research and make inquiries regarding possible sources of titles which any of our primary vendors are unable to supply, search for acceptable copies of out-of-print and replacement titles as needed, and place orders for rare books and for additional titles required by course reserves.

We receive and process shipments, maintaining monthly tallies of new purchases, added volumes and gifts acquired for various portions of our collection and check against our current holdings accepted donations which are within the scope of the collection.

We consult by e-mail, telephone and in person with numerous vendors and potential vendors, recording in Millennium the invoices paid for monographic acquisitions; serials binding; rebinding of library books; conservation supplies, and preservation treatments and noting in order records the history and progress of many older and more complex orders. We also maintain file copies of Acquisitions invoices paid during the previous three years.

Serials Acquisitions

The Serials Assistant coordinates the ordering and processing of journals and other periodical subscriptions in print, microform, and digital formats for the GTU Library and the branch library at SFTS.  Over 1000 current subscriptions are maintained through about a dozen foreign and domestic vendors to ensure that periodicals are received in a timely fashion. The Unit maintains about 500 direct subscriptions and gift subscriptions.  Microform back runs of a large number of periodical titles are purchased through eight vendors, while selected newspapers are filmed for the GTU collections by UC Berkeley’s Preservation Microfilming services.

The unit receives and processes an average of 650 periodicals in print, microfilm and CDs each month and processes an average of 250 claims for late or missing issues in the same time period. Email or telephone follow-ups are made to inquire about the publication or subscription status of long standing claims.

In addition to purchasing replacement issues through ordinary subscription agents, the Serials Unit participates in the American Theological Library Association (ATLA) Serials Exchange Program, which allows member libraries to offer, as well as request, duplicate materials from an online list of free available issues.

The Serials Assistant prepares bindery shipments for both the GTU & SFTS libraries —sending complete volumes of periodical titles to a commercial bindery and processing the bound volumes upon return.  The unit also assists patrons and staff with serials-related questions.

A statistical report of serial activities is compiled on a monthly and annual basis.

Conservation and Preservation

A major aspect of the stewardship exercised by the Department is the preservation of all materials housed in the Library.  Preservation pertains to all of the activities that prolong the useful life of the library’s materials.  These include:  controlling the environment (temperature, relative humidity, light and air quality) to the extent possible; handling, shelving and storage; binding and repair, both in-house and commercial; reformatting; disaster preparedness and response; exhibition installation.

These activities are addressed by staff members throughout the Library.  For example:  circulation staff identifies books which need repair and directs them to the Collection Development Librarian where they go through a decision making process, which may involve subject specialists,  to determine whether they will be repaired in-house, rebound commercially, rehoused with restricted use, replaced or deaccessioned.

We urge faculty, students, and other patrons of the library to participate in our efforts to preserve the library’s materials by handling them carefully, not writing or marking in them and protecting them from rain, pets and other risky situations.  We do understand, however, that accidents happen and we have staff trained in mending damaged books and paper so we ask that you not make any repairs yourself.


Thesis Binding


The binding of dissertations and theses is coordinated by the Naw San KD.  Representatives of each of the Member Schools send completed/approved theses to the library.  At that time, very brief cataloging entries are made so that the author and title can be searched in GRACE.  The unbound volumes are then processed for shipment.  The theses are usually off-site for no more than 2 months.  Two copies of each title are bound.  One copy is designated an archival copy and does not circulate; one copy is shelved in the circulating collection.

When the bound theses return from the bindery, each title is fully cataloged by the Library’s Cataloging staff.  They then go through further processing to receive barcodes, ownership stamps and call number labels before they can be shelved by the Circulation staff.

Rush Cataloging

If you find a book or other item in the GRACE catalog that you want, and it has the following message, you may request request rush cataloging for that item:
1 copy being processed for GTU

Send the following information to Kathy Farrell, and processing of this book will be rushed, and the book should be available within 2-3 business days.

Author (if available):

GRACE Errors

If you find what you think is an error in the GRACE catalog, please send the following information to Kathy Farrell.  Please be sure to include a detailed description of the error.

Author (if available):
Call number:
Describe the error:

Custom GRACE Searches

Are you having trouble doing searches in a particular area such as subject headings, author or title? Are you wanting information on a particular topic but are having trouble locating it or bringing everything together? The problem might be that the Library of Congress Subject Headings, Names or Titles are NOT well designed for your particular need. We can create custom Grace searches for you that will facilitate these difficult searches. If you would like to discuss possible custom Grace searches please contact Kathy Farrell.

If you would like to see an example of how these searches work, go to Grace (the Library Catalog) and explore the Bible searches.