Theological Librarianship

Authored by: Paul F. Stuehrenberg

Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science, Fourth Edition

Print publication date:  November  2017
Online publication date:  November  2017

Print ISBN: 9781466552593
eBook ISBN: 9781315116143
Adobe ISBN:


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Christian theological libraries trace their origins to the early church. Early centers included Jerusalem, Alexandria, and, most famously, Caesarea, where the library supported the work of such scholars as Origin, Eusebius, and Jerome. The Vivarium, a religious community founded by Cassiodorus, provided a model for medieval monastic libraries. At the close of the Middle Ages faculties of theology developed libraries that continue to this day. In North America independent seminaries and schools of theology appeared in the early nineteenth century in response to the rise of Unitarianism. The American Theological Library Association was founded in 1947 in part to improve standards for theological libraries. It has played a leadership role in the professional development of theological librarians, and the indexing and preservation of theological literature. Theological libraries range in size from small operations supporting the curriculum to comprehensive research institutions. Many theological libraries remain small and underfunded.

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