Our Growing Library

During the many years the Seminary had its home in the basement of First Church, very little was done to the library. This was due simply to the fact that the facilities in the basement were so small and cramped that there was no space for books. The little library that the Seminary had was composed chiefly of standard works which every student soon bought for himself. 

Shortly after the Seminary moved to its present location on Ivanrest, plans were made to begin a major expansion of the library. During the years that followed, literally hundreds of books were purchased so that at present there is no comparison between the library of former years and our library today. 

There are several news items (if such they may called) concerning our library which may be of interest to our people. 

In the first place, even though our Seminary program has been expanded to include Pre-Seminary courses, we have limited the books which we have purchased almost exclusively to theological subjects. The library is for the Seminary, not for Pre-Seminary studies. We did this, first, because the Seminary was the most important, and that branch of the library needed expansion before anything else. We hope the time comes when the other areas of our library can also be begun and developed, but that time is not yet. Secondly, because our students are still taking much of Pre-Seminary work in other colleges, they have access to the libraries in these colleges and do not have a pressing need for our own library facilities in these areas. 

Secondly, while Synod has appropriated a certain amount of money each year for library expansion, the support of the library fund has come mainly from private gifts. This has been a wonderful encouragement for the Seminary and we take this opportunity to express our thanks to all of you who have donated so graciously to the cause of the library. Books are expensive and it seems as if money does not go very far when books are ordered. Will you continue to remember the needs of the Seminary Library? 

Thirdly, while we purchase for the library all the worthwhile new books which are published, our main purchases consist of the acquisition of old books from book dealers in this country and abroad. We try, as much as possible, to keep up on what is available through catalogues from book publishers and book stores mainly in America, Netherlands, and Great Britain. Insofar as funds allow, we purchase what is available and what would be worthwhile additions to our library. 

Finally, when we first began to expand our library, we put the whole library on the Dewey Decimal System. It became increasingly plain, however, that this system was by no means ideally suited to a theological library. After some lengthy investigation, especially of libraries of other Seminaries in the country, we decided to change over the library to the Library of Congress numbering system. This is the system followed by almost all the Seminaries in the country, and being a part of the system would help us to have access to books difficult to find which other libraries possess. All the major libraries are being put into a central computer system which will list books by the library of Congress system. Much of this work was done this summer by some of the students, and Calvin College was very helpful in getting this system introduced into our library. 

It will also be of some interest to our readers to know that the library has begun an archives program. Already a reader-copier has been purchased which will enable the library to make use of microfilm. Work is being done to begin a collection of all material which will be of historical interest in our Protestant Reformed Churches. Much work must still be done in this area but a beginning has been made.