It’s Not Just About Books | Hartford Seminary

It’s Not Just About Books

The value of a strong collection with diverse holdings sufficient to support faculty research, graduate student investigation, and coursework as well as religious inquiry from the general public, has always been recognized at Hartford Seminary.  Even before the state of Connecticut granted a charter for the Theological Institute of Connecticut in 1834, a sum of $2,000 was voted to found its library so that a “respectable number of books” were on hand even before the cornerstone was laid in East Windsor.  Subsequent campuses in Hartford on Prospect, Broad, Elizabeth, and now Sherman Street have all boasted fine resources, whether in manuscript, print, audio-visual/film, or electronic form.

Due to the administrative funding of careful collection development strategies, as well as the largesse of many donors during the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries, Hartford Seminary has built an internationally known collection of over 70,000 volumes and over 300 journals that excels in a number of fields including the Sociology of Religion, Black Ministries, Hispanic Ministries, Theological Feminism, Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations, Pastoral Care, and Ecumenism. This collection represents a broad array of theological traditions reflecting Hartford Seminary’s diversity and multi-faith character.

A number of special collections are a treasure trove for serious students of religion who come to Hartford Seminary for study and research.  One noteworthy special collection are the hundreds of translations (including Serbo-Croatian, Gaelic, and Japanese) of The Thousand and One Nights.  There are also a significant number of holdings of the sermons and papers of the Calvinist divine Asahel Nettleton of the Second Great Awakening, supplemented by thousands of volumes from the personal libraries of missionaries, theologians, linguists, pastors, educators, divines and ecclesiastics.

Located on the ground floor of the main Seminary building, the Library’s Dillenberger Reading Room as well as the Student Reading Room and reference area contain lounge chairs, study tables and computer terminals in addition to  Library offices and service desks, all flooded by light from large plate glass picture windows on three sides.  Items for viewing in a pair of display cases add to the scholarly ambiance of the workspace.

The main portion of the collection is found downstairs, where movable stacks have allowed the Library to hold many more volumes than its size would suggest. A dedicated, professional staff of two full-time and four part-time workers, representing decades of experience in the support of religious scholarship, help ensure that library patrons will obtain the information they need, even if the particular resources are not housed at Hartford Seminary.  They are ready to assist in all aspects of electronic access to library resources from on-campus as well as remote sites.  The Library’s online public access catalog can be reached through our website at

Circulation and Checking out Library Materials

Anyone officially enrolled in courses either for credit or as an auditor is allowed to check out library materials.  Identification in the form of a picture student ID card will be requested at the time of checkout.  Books circulate for four weeks and are renewable by email, phone, or on site. Video items circulate for seven days. Fines for overdue books are 25 cents per day, $1.00 for videos. Journals do not circulate.

Persons not enrolled in courses or programs at Hartford Seminary who wish to use the library and check out materials may do so as follows:

Pay the Basic Guest Annual Fee of $25, which allows the guest member to check out up to ten books, use reference services and have access to the photocopier / printer. Payment of the Guest Scholar Annual Fee of $50 allows the guest member to check out up to 25 books, use reference services, have access to the photocopier / printer, and use the interlibrary loan service. (There is a $1 fee per article, plus costs incurred – if any.)

Reciprocal Library Borrowing

Hartford Seminary faculty, students, and staff, besides using inter-library loan and document delivery to obtain materials from other libraries, may borrow directly from academic libraries in Connecticut which participate in a Reciprocal Library Borrowing program.  Here’s how it works:  A CCALD-CLC card, which is valid for up to one academic year, can be obtained from the Seminary Library Director.  When obtaining your card, you will be asked to sign an agreement describing specifics of the lending program.  Please note that each member library reserves the right to restrict usage under this program.  So, for example, Trinity College in Hartford will honor cards held by Seminary faculty and Ph.D. candidates only, while the University of Hartford, by contrast, honors any card holder from Hartford Seminary, including non-academic staff.

When visiting a participating library, simply present your card at their Circulation Desk if you wish to check out any of their materials.  You will retain possession of your card so you may use it at more than one campus.  A list of participating institutions can be found at, which also includes links to catalogs as well as directions.  An outline of CCALD-CLC regulations governing the card’s use can be found at

PLEASE NOTE:  If you are visiting a participating library as a guest, you are able, as a matter of course, to consult the host institution’s various electronic databases.  For example, the University of Hartford has a substantial portion of JSTOR, while Trinity College carries ARTSTOR as well as Taylor & Francis journals, among others.  (We are not able to login to these collections from outside the host campus).  Again, since participation is voluntary by the various academic libraries in our state, “restrictions may apply.


Orientation to the Library

There will be a specially designated times during the semester for students to participate in a library orientation.  If special circumstances prevent you from participation in an orientation session, students may stop by the library to set-up a personalized tour. You can contact the library staff by calling 860-509-9500 or by sending an e-mail to:

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