Emily Suzanne Clark
This post is a quick heads-up about a research planning project being overseen by the American Theological Library Association (ATLA), the Catholic Library Association (CLA), and the Association of Jewish Libraries (AJL). The project is called "In Good Faith: Collection Care, Preservation, and Access in Small Theological and Religious Studies Libraries." The research planning project centers on the creation and analysis of a preservation survey for small theological and religious studies libraries, archives, and cultural institutions. The point of the survey is to collect information from the librarians and archivists at small religious studies and theological libraries in order to get a sense of collection care and preservation needs that are unique to these smaller institutions. This way, the ATLA, CLA, and AJL can plan classes, seminars, and programs specially geared towards these smaller libraries' needs. The rich materials found in these smaller institutions are so important to the kind of work we as scholars can do and sometimes unknown to us. The forthcoming survey will be available in March, and please pass it onto to your favorite small library or archive. Though the advisory group has been working on a definition of a small library, it is being conceived somewhat broadly. So if you're not sure if your favorite small religious studies or theological library fits the definition, send it on anyways. Here is a press release about the forthcoming available survey.
The grant is financially sponsored by the Institute of Museum and Library services and overseen by representatives from the ATLA, CLA, AJL, and research consultants. I serve on the advisory board to represent researchers. Not only are the other people on the advisory board lovely, it has been a wonderful experience seeing into the world of libraries and archives—places I rely upon heavily to do my work but don't think too much about beyond that. At AAR this fall, stop by and see what the librarians at the ATLA booth are up to. They are much more than databases. They're fun people and smart thinkers who ask insightful questions.