Collection Policy

1. Audience

The Center and Library for the Bible and Social Justice serves biblically informed activists and justice oriented scholars. This includes scholars and students engaged in the study of biblical social settings and biblical perspectives on social justice, such seminarians, academic theologians, clergy and lay leaders as well as activists, educators, community organizers, clergy and laity seeking biblical resources to inform their efforts on behalf of restorative justice, environmental justice, equality and peacemaking. We seek to connect scholars and activists, two communities which have historically existed in separate spheres. It is our contention that these two groups have a great deal to offer to each other, and both would be enriched by interaction with the other.

2. Collecting scope

The CLBSJ collects books and periodicals (and may consider accepting materials in other formats) which relate to its mission of providing resources related to the Bible, issues of social justice, or the intersection of the two. In select cases, works that represent the antithesis of our mission will be considered on an individual basis, since they may aid in understanding mindsets that lead to injustice.

2.1 Subjects

The CLBSJ collects materials in two major subject areas:

Materials relating to the Bible and Social Justice comprise a major component of the collection. The CLBSJ collects works relating primarily to the religions of Christianity, Judaism and Islam. However, materials pertaining to peace and justice in other religious traditions will also be considered. The Bible in its ecological, historical, economic, social, and cultural contexts is a basic focus of the collection, along with Parabiblical materials and works on the history and methods of biblical interpretation. Texts in all ancient languages as well as reference works (lexicons, dictionaries, grammars, concordances, geographical and historical atlases etc.) are included in the collection, as are works in the related disciplines of history, the classics, philology, and philosophy. Works on religion in general, including comparative cultural systems, belief systems, worldviews; sacred traditions; theology (systematic, historical, moral, practical); and religious movements are likewise included.

The Social Sciences comprise another main component of the library. This entails works in the disciplines of ethnology, anthropology, sociology, folklore, cultural studies, communication, linguistics, psychology, economics, political science, law, education; studies on peace and justice and on movements including peasant revolts, socialism, communism, and anarchism.

The CLBSJ also collects materials pertaining to the Bible and Social Justice which fall into several minor subject areas:

Language And Literature, including literature from the Americas and Europe with a particular focus on classical literature from Ancient Greece and Rome. Works of literary criticism, particularly those that represent marginalized perspectives, as well as linguistics and philology are also included.

In addition, CLBSJ collects works in the discipline of History, including all eras of World History as well as the history of the Americas. We also collect materials of closely related disciplines, including the history of civilization, the study of diplomatics and archives, and works on calendars and technical chronology.

Works on Political Science, including political theory, political institutions and public administrations, international law and international relations, are also collected.

The CLBSJ collects works on the history and theory of Education, including individual institutions around the world, as well as popular education and pedagogy (including popular theater).

2.2 Formats

The CLBSJ currently collects books and periodicals, including reference works, scholarly and popular journals, individual volumes and series of works. The Center and Library may consider acquiring materials in other formats, including (but not limited to) audio visual materials, archival collections, oral histories, photographs and digital objects.

2.3 Chronology

The CLBSJ collects materials created in the 20th and 21st centuries. However, because historical events often shape current conceptions of justice and injustice, we collect materials relating to both current issues as well as historical events (for example, slavery in the United States and the Nazi holocaust).

2.4 Geography

Although the bulk of our current collection was published in the United States, the CLBSJ collects materials published or created anywhere in the world.

2.5 Languages

Although the library is and will continue to be mainly comprised of English-language materials, it does collect works in Spanish, German, French, Italian, Portuguese, and Korean. The donation of non-English materials will be considered on a case to case basis.

3. Duplicate Copies

The Center and Library for the Bible and Social Justice may be able to accept duplicate copies of books. Important reference works should be retained for use at the CLBSJ’s main location. Duplicate copies of other works may be transferred to one of our satellite locations.

4. De-accessioning

In order to reduce the need for de-accessioning, a selection committee composed of scholars and activists will carefully appraise all materials before acquiring them. Materials that have no research value or do not match the CLBSJ’s mission and vision will not be accepted for donation. In rare cases where materials already in the possession of the CLBSJ are determined to no longer match the Center and Library’s mission and vision or have become outdated, they will be de-accessioned according to guidelines outlined in CREW: A Weeding Manual for Modern Libraries (Texas State Library and Archives Commission, 2008).