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October 28 , 2009

A Broadening Conversation

Classic Readings in Theological Librarianship


As the American Theological Library Association (ATLA) celebrates the important milestone of its 60th anniversary this year, the editors have brought together in a single-volume anthology some of the best contributions to this field. Essays and papers from the past sixty years are grouped into six topical chapters (theological librarianship's characteristics, dimensions, educational role, settings, development within ATLA's sixty years, and most noteworthy changes), each of which is introduced by a present-day theological librarian.

This collection is likely to be valuable in many ways: as a compendium of wisdom and "best practices" over several generations, as a means of securing a grasp of how ATLA's importance and influence as an association has grown over time, and even for the way it brings back to light the life and work of so many fine librarians, Raymond Morris (Yale Divinity Library) and Julia Pettee (Union Theological Seminary) among them. Even more important, A Broadening Conversation affirms vividly that (instead of the ethos of tradition and continuity that one might suppose) a mix of trusted routines with perpetual change is what has always been on the menu for theological librarians in their daily work. This is at the heart of what continues to make theological librarianship such a challenging and rewarding vocation.
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