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Wesley’s Library Chosen for Discussion Participation

Jun 11 2014

“More than simply a place to borrow a book, the library is called to be a place where a community can learn, reflect and connect together,” said James Estes, associate professor of theological bibliography and director of the library. “This happens through individual study and group discussions and through engagement with a plurality of textual forms -- written, spoken, visual, etc. In this light, the library can be a place which promotes the construction of a theological knowledge that nourishes the mind while forming the spirit. Just as a seminary chapel can promote intellectual formation, so can a seminary library provide spiritual formation.”


Wesley is one of twelve institutions selected to participate in “The Future of Libraries in Theological Education: A Conversation with Chief Academic Officers, Information Technology Officers, and Library Directors​.” The program, sponsored by the American Theological Library Association and Association of Theological Schools, will be held as a pre-conference event on June 24, before the 2014 ATS/COA Biennial Meeting in Pittsburgh, Penn.


“We are delighted to be among the select few participating in this discussion about the future of libraries,” said the Rev. Dr.  Robert Martin, dean and professor of Christian formation and leadership. “Like everything these days, the way that knowledge is stored and made available for future learning is changing rapidly. In fact, the way we think and learn is changing as well. Wesley Theological Seminary is committed to adapting vigorously and prudently in all aspects of theological education so that we prepare effective missional leaders holistically and comprehensively.”


This day-long conversation will bring together librarians from leading schools from different religious traditions who are charting a course for theological libraries as relevant and engaged partners in the future of theological education. The conveners of this conversation anticipate it will be a first step toward understanding the roles of libraries and librarians in theological education as perceived by academic leaders, information technology officers and librarians. Participants will share their perceptions and create a shared vision for the future theological library in the changing world of theological education.


“Ultimately, a library is not simply an information dispensary. It can be a locus of intellectual and spiritual formation,” said Estes. “Barth’s instruction that clergy must preach with the Bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other must be broadened to accommodate the internet, social media and the modern information society. The library represents millennia of theological reflection on many of the same questions first-year students will encounter, and I always invite our students to join the ongoing dialogue with this textual ‘cloud of witnesses’.”

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