2016 Annual ALABI Meeting

We hope you have marked your calendars and are making plans to attend this year’s annual meeting, held in conjunction with the National Association of Baptist Professors of Religion and Baptist History and Heritage Society May 23-25, 2016, at Baylor University in Waco, Texas.  Registration for the meeting is through the NABPR website at, http://www.nabpr.org/Home/meetings/registration.  The registration fee is $95.00 and includes a printed meeting program, dinner Monday night, breakfast Tuesday and Wednesday, and ample coffee breaks.  The theme for the meeting is “Perspectives in Baptist History and Identity.”  As best as possible sessions will include combined papers/presentations from all three perspectives:  historians, religion professors, and librarians/archivists.  It should be a great opportunity for each group to learn from one another.

We look forward to seeing you in Waco in May!

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New Search Features for OBU Archives and Special Collections Website

Ouachita Baptist University’s Archives and Special Collections recently added a new search feature to its website, offering access to over 250,000 entries from resources pertaining to Arkansas Baptists, OBU, and Clark County, Arkansas. A great starting point for Baptist history, local, and genealogy research, a variety of works are included. Standard Arkansas Baptist history resources (some of which have never before been indexed) such as J. S. Rogers’ History of Arkansas Baptists and early association records (1820-1900), are included. Listings from the OBU student newspaper, The Signal, and other publications, carry researchers to university-related materials. Clark County entries include names and subjects from the Clark County Historical Journal, various county records (tax books, circuit court, criminal court, civil court, chancery court, brands and ear marks), and publications such as county and community histories. Each resource is accompanied by a brief description, including its location in the Archives and Special Collections Department. The database is a work in progress, with entries being added almost daily.

Visit www.obu.edu/archives and click on SEARCH COLLECTIONS to give it a try!

For questions or additional information contact Wendy Richter, Archivist, at 870.245.5332 or richterw@obu.edu.

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A Bridge to Intellectual Freedom: Virginia Union University Celebrates 150 Years

The following is a guest post by Selicia Allen, Special Collections Librarian and University Archivist at Virginia Union University and a member of the ALABI Communications Committee.

Selicia Allen, archivisit, at Virginia Union University exhibit in Pop-Up Museum at Richmond Capitol Square, April 4, 2015. Photo Credit: Ayasha Sledge

Selicia Allen, archivist, at Virginia Union University exhibit in Pop-Up Museum at Richmond Capitol Square, April 4, 2015. Photo Credit: Ayasha Sledge.

Virginia Union University celebrated its 150th anniversary over the 2014-2015 academic school year. Many events have taken place to commemorate the anniversary. In conjunction with the University’s sesquicentennial, Richmond, Virginia celebrated the end of slavery and the Civil War on April 4, 2015 in a statewide event at the Capitol. This event was coordinated by member organizations of the Future of Richmond’s Past. As part of the commemorative events Pop-Up Museum tents were designed as part of the visitor experience. The Pop-Up Museum was coordinated by the Virginia Historical Society in collaboration with the American Civil War Museum at Historic Tredegar and the White House of the Confederacy, Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia, City of Richmond Fire and Emergency Services, Department of Historic Resources, RVA Archaeology, University of Richmond, Virginia Commonwealth University, Tompkins-McCaw Library, and Virginia Union University.

The Pop-Up Museum answered nine questions about Richmond’s journey from the end of slavery and the Civil War to today. Virginia Union University answered the question: Life after Emancipation? Virginia Union’s Archives and Special Collections Department focused on the 1870’s curriculum of the Richmond Theological Institute for Freedmen. In cooperation with the University Relations Office, Vanessa Coombs and Ayasha Sledge, we produced an attention-grabbing display featuring a timeline of the university’s history and images of the various campuses leading up to today. Archivists Selicia Allen and Adam Zimmerli along with Dr. Raymond Hylton, Professor of History answered visitors’ questions about what freedmen learned, coming from little or no education, to become educated ministers. Visitors were provided with an interactive quiz card to test their knowledge on arithmetic, Latin, Greek, Theology, and spelling and writing. The archives highlighted its Richmond Theological Seminary Collection, its 1877 student register of short biographies and signatures of early students, as well as notable faculty, such as Dr. Nathaniel Colver, Dr. Charles Corey, Dr. Joseph Endom Jones, and Dr. Nathaniel Vassar.

Archivists Adam Zimmerli and Selicia Allen, and Dr. Raymond Hylton, Professor of History (L-R), discuss university history and collections with a visitor to the Pop-Up Museum. Photo Credit: Ayasha Sledge.

Archivists Adam Zimmerli and Selicia Allen, and Dr. Raymond Hylton, Professor of History (L-R), discuss university history and collections with a visitor to the Pop-Up Museum. Photo Credit: Ayasha Sledge.

In 1874-1875, students at Dr. Charles H. Corey’s Richmond Theological Institute would take what was known as “the Normal Course.” These classes were designed to give students a broad but basic education, and there were three basic subjects: English, Mathematics, and General Studies. The English classes included Reading, Writing, Spelling, English Grammar, Composition, Declamation, and Word Analysis. Mathematics courses included Arithmetic, Algebra, Mensuration, Geometry, and Trigonometry. General Studies comprised Geography, Natural Philosophy, Physiology and Hygiene, History, Rhetoric and Political Economy, also Latin and Greek. In addition, the Institute offered a Theological Course which included lectures and discussions on Systematic Theology, The Evidences of Christianity, Biblical Geography and Antiquities, Interpretation of Scripture, Inspiration, Church Polity, The Preparation and Delivery of Sermons, and Pastoral Duties. According to the 1874-1875 Catalogue of Officers and Students of the Richmond Institute, tuition was free; admission was based on referrals of good moral character, and students came with multiple recommendation letters. Boarding rarely exceeded five dollars per month, and the estimate to cover the entire expenses of a student for eight month session was $60 to $70 per month.

Richmond Theological Seminary would merge in 1899 with Wayland Seminary of Washington, DC (founded in 1865 by the American Baptist Home Mission Society) to form Virginia Union University. Virginia Union University remembers its forefathers, the American Baptist Home Mission Society, and all of those who labored and endured. As the university celebrates its sesquicentennial it looks forward to the next 150 years of excellence in education.

ALABI members interested in using the ALABI blog to highlight news about Baptist resources and history at their institution should contact Steve Jones, ALABI Webmaster and Communications Committee Chairman, at sjones@sebts.edu

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Digital Projects Grant Available

ALABI officers are encouraging applications for a small grant to support Baptist digital projects. This is the second year that the digital projects grant will be offered. California Baptist University was awarded the first ALABI digital projects grant of $500 in 2014 to support their work digitizing the California Southern Baptist newspaper. Researchers can now access over 120 issues of the newspaper ranging from 1941-1950 in the California Southern Baptist Convention Digital Archive.

Please consider partnering with ALABI to make some of the important Baptist history resources in your collections accessible online for patrons at ALABI institutions and beyond. Visit the Baptist Heritage website to learn more about the guidelines and complete an grant application. The application deadline is April 1.

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Betty Hurtt Meritorious Service Award Nominations

ALABI officers are accepting nominations for the Betty Hurtt Meritorious Service Award. This award honors a current or former ALABI member or any individual who has served as a role model and contributed significantly to the preservation and promotion of Baptist records and manuscripts. The award includes a plaque and a resolution honoring the individual from the association.

If you would like to nominate someone for this award, please submit a letter of nomination to an ALABI officer by March 20, 2015. Officers include: Laura Botts, president (botts_lm@mercer.edu); Jan Ballard, vice president (jballard@abhsarchives.org); Jennifer Taylor, secretary (jrtaylor@samford.edu); and Bill Sumners, executive secretary/treasurer (bill@sbhla.org).

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2015 ALABI Annual Meeting

Please mark you calendars and begin planning to attend this year’s annual ALABI meeting, April 22-24 at the Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives (SBHLA) in Nashville, Tennessee. Our theme will be “Here in the Real World: Understanding and Serving Our Users,” so we’ll be promoting practicality with a twang. Details about lodging, meeting rooms, tours, events, and a finalized program will be coming soon.

ALABI members interested in speaking are encouraged to submit session proposals with a country music song incorporated into the title. So, get in touch if you have been helping genealogists rediscover their “Family Tradition” or connecting with new users who have left saying, “You Had Me at Hello.” Your colleagues would love to learn from your experience. Be creative, have fun, and don’t worry if you can’t think of a song title; the planning committee will be happy to help!

Session proposals should be submitted to Jan Ballard, ALABI Vice President/President Elect at jballard@abhsarchives.org or 678-547-6680. The deadline for ideas and proposals is February 27th.

Hope to see you all in Nashville!

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Position Announcement: Public Services Librarian, The Baptist College of Florida

The Baptist College of Florida currently has an opening for the position of Public Services Librarian.

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ALABI 2011 in Pictures

ALABI members who attended the 2011 meeting were treated to a variety of sights and sounds in Texas. Below are images of the meeting.

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Journal of Religious & Theological Information

Robert Ray, the Assistatnt Editor of the Journal of Religious and Theological Information, has asked that we post the following message for the members of ALABI.


The Journal of Religious & Theological Information, now published by Routledge (a member of the Taylor & Francis Group), is an essential resource for bibliographers, librarians, and scholars interested in the literature of religion and theology as well as digital information in a religious or theological context. Both international and pluralistic in scope, this peer-reviewed journal encourages the publication of research and scholarship in the field of library and information studies as it relates to religious studies and related fields, including philosophy, ethnic studies, anthropology, sociology, and history. By “information” we refer to both print and electronic, and both published and unpublished information. A board of consulting editors assists the editor in reviewing submissions as well as maintaining awareness of developments in the fields covered. JRTI welcomes submissions using various methodologies, including empirical research, essays, and critical reviews.

This journal focuses on various stages in librarianship for religious and theological information, such as:

  • production (including printing and publishing)
  • dissemination
  • use
  • storage
  • retrieval
  • preservation
  • bibliography
  • collection development
  • instruction and information literacy
  • digitization and multimedia
  • special collections and archives
  • history of libraries and librarianship
  • censorship and intellectual freedom

Manuscripts should be submitted to the Editor via email, preferably in Microsoft Word format. Send manuscripts to Mark Stover at mstover@mail.sdsu.edu

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ALABI 2010 Presentation: Library Assessment in Academic Libraries

The ALABI 2010 meeting in Georgetown, Kentucky, was graciously hosted by the staff of Georgetown College. The Anna Ashcraft Ensor Learning Center at Georgetown College is a wonderful facility, and the Mary Margaret Lowe, the Library Director of Georgetown College was a wonderful host.

During the conference, Mary Margaret treated attendees to a presentation entitled “Library Assessment in Academic Libraries.” For those who would like to revisit the information Mary Margaret provided, her PowerPoint presentation is offered below.

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