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Richmond Campus: Thompson Parking Lot Closed Until Further Notice

Posted on October 17, 2022

Due to roof repairs and potential danger of falling debris, the part of the Melrose Ave. parking lot that is adjacent to Thompson Hall (closest to Chamberlayne Ave., on the Richmond campus) is temporarily closed until further notice – even if orange traffic cones and caution tape are not in place. This includes weekends and evening hours when no work is occurring because the contractor could have left slate or other materials in a precarious position two to three stories above. Thank you for your understanding and collaboration.


May 9-14, 2022 – Morton Library Operating Remotely

Posted on May 9, 2022

Union Presbyterian Seminary’s Richmond Campus will be operating remotely during the week of May 9-14, 2022. Accordingly, the Morton Library building will be closed from 2:00 p.m. on Monday, May 9 to 8:00 a.m. on Monday, May 16. Librarians will still be available via email and the following remote services will be offered:

We apologize for this inconvenience and look forward to re-opening Morton Library on Monday, May 16.

Library Access in Richmond, 1/15 to 1/30

Posted on January 14, 2022

To protect UPSem Library staff and patrons during the current Omicron surge, during which all class meetings have been moved online, the following Library service policies will apply on the Richmond campus from Saturday, January 15th until Sunday, January 30th:

We apologize for these temporary changes and look forward to a return to our regular service schedule on January 31st, pending further developments.

Who do I contact?

Posted on December 8, 2020

While working under the conditions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, it can be especially difficult to reach people at their office or to find out who to contact about something, so the UPSem Library has recently revised its Richmond Staff page to make that easier.  The page still offers an alphabetical list of Library staff members with their contact information, but it now starts with an “accordion-style” box with sections that expand to reveal contacts for eleven particular types of services/questions, both in Richmond and in Charlotte:

We hope that this update will make it easier for Library users to find the help that they need in a timely manner.  Though Library staff members are often working away from their offices at this time, voicemail messages should forward to their email accounts, so feel free to call (and leave voicemail) or email.  We’re ready to help.

For more information on how Library access and services are being provided during the pandemic, with links to our web-based support and appointment services, please see the earlier news post titled, “Is the Library Still Closed?

Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted on November 24, 2020

Happy Thanksgiving!  In commemoration of the Thanksgiving holiday, William Smith Morton Library will close at 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday, November 25th, to reopen at 9:00 a.m. on Monday, November 30th.  The Charlotte Campus Library will reopen at noon on Tuesday, December 1st.

It has been a challenging year, but we are grateful for your understanding and support. Thank you!


CSJR Research Guide

Posted on November 9, 2020

The Library has added an online research guide to support the mission of the Center for Social Justice and Reconciliation with a collection of digital and physical resources pertaining to the CSJR’s areas of focus including: urban ministry, social justice ministry, contemporary issues, black church studies, LGBTQ ministry/justice issues, and evangelism from a social justice perspective. Each area of study has been given a separate page in the guide and you may use a navigation menu on the left to explore resources associated with these emphases.

Although the CSJR Research Guide provides links to CSJR-related eBooks and eJournals, it is not a comprehensive list and other useful digital and physical resources are discoverable through a library catalog or database search.

The Center for Social Justice and Reconciliation is located on the Seminary’s Charlotte campus and is directed by Associate Professor of Bible Rodney S. Sadler Jr. Grounded in a ministry that is mandated in scripture, its two main goals are to remind people in Seminary of the significance of social justice work as part of ministry and to help bring the activist community into the Seminary community.

To access a full list of the UPSem Library’s online Research Guides, see the Research Guides menu at or visit

For questions regarding digital resource discovery and access, please contact Ryan Douthat at (804) 278-4217 or email

Book Donations Temporarily Suspended

Posted on November 6, 2020

The Seminary Library has benefited greatly from book donations in the past, and has continued to receive offers of donated books throughout the pandemic period. We are very grateful for these offers, but one of the earliest decisions that we made while transitioning to modes of service that will protect patrons and staff during the pandemic was to temporarily suspend the acceptance of book donations.  With students and faculty working online and Library staff rotating in and out of Library buildings on weekdays to provide essential services while limiting potential exposure to the virus, we simply don’t have enough on-site staff time to process book donations efficiently, or sufficient space to store donated books until they can be processed.  So, our plan is to suspend book donations for now (a step that many if not most libraries are taking) but to accept book donations again when our campuses reopen fully and staff have returned to working at the Library on a daily basis.

I look forward to the day when we’ll be able to accept book donations again and I apologize sincerely for any inconvenience caused by this temporary suspension.  In the meantime, thank you for understanding and supporting the safe, socially-distant work that is underway at both campus Library locations to provide a range of modified/extended services while the pandemic lasts:



If you have questions about any of these services, check out our updated Richmond Staff page, which lists key Library contacts in Richmond and Charlotte.


Christopher Richardson, Seminary Librarian

A Library Near You

Posted on October 26, 2020

With more students living off-campus this year, and some far from campus, it’s important to remember that – in addition to electronic resources, the Library Research Appointment service in Richmond, the week-day pick up service in Richmond, interlibrary loan, the ability to request Richmond items in Charlotte, Charlotte Library hours, and our virtual reference desk and virtual reference appointment servicesUPSem students and faculty members also have circulation privileges at academic Libraries across the country through several reciprocal borrowing agreements. 

The most far-reaching of these agreements is ATLA’s Reciprocal Borrowing Program, which provides our students and faculty with borrowing privileges at 124 other theological libraries in North America, as shown on this map and this spreadsheet.  To participate, just show proof of current UPSem enrollment/employment to set up a circulating account at the other library, usually by logging into UPSem’s Blackboard from the other location.

We also participate in state-level reciprocal borrowing programs in Virginia, through the VIVA Consortium, and in North Carolina through the Carolinas Theological Library Consortium (CTLC).  The VIVA consortium provides our students and faculty with borrowing privileges at 50 other institutions of higher learning in Virginia, listed here, including all 10 universities in the greater Richmond area. The CTLC provides borrowing privileges at 14 other theological schools in North Carolina, listed here.

Finally, for those in the Charlotte area, we have a free-standing reciprocal borrowing agreement with Queens University of Charlotte.  For more information on that agreement, please contact our Library Director in Charlotte, David Mayo.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it would be a good idea to contact these other libraries directly before visiting, to learn more about how they’re operating under the circumstances. At our Library, for example, students and faculty from other schools may set up accounts using our online Patron Registration Forms for Richmond or Charlotte and then check out items through the week-day pick up service in Richmond or during Charlotte’s library hours.

We hope that these reciprocal borrowing agreements will provide additional support for your studies this year, and in years to come!

Dr .Christopher Richardson

Seminary Librarian

Is the Library still closed?

Posted on October 12, 2020

by Christopher Richardson, Seminary Librarian

“Is the Library still closed?” I reply to that question from time to time and my short answer is that the Library has remained open, under COVID-19 protocols, since the Seminary’s shift to online learning in mid-March of this year, but that’s not the whole story – especially for alumni users, paid clergy and religious leaders, reciprocal borrowers from other schools, guest users in Charlotte, and public account holders enrolled before April 26, 2008 in Richmond.  Here’s a more detailed answer.

Under COVID-19 protocols, access to the Library’s physical spaces has been limited since mid-March, and continues to be limited in some ways, due to the threat of COVID-19 infection.  The Library’s online collections and services, on the other hand, have remained accessible (in keeping with licensing guidelines) and have been expanded since March.  Most of the Library’s current COVID-19 service protocols have been in place since June 16, but were expanded at the beginning of the fall semester.  They include:

Under these protocols, Alumni patrons may check out physical materials through the weekday pickup service in Richmond, Library service hours in Charlotte, or the Library’s Extension Service for Alumni (by mail).  Alumni may also access electronic resources through the Library’s Alumni Research Portal, which includes but exceeds the number of resources available through the ATLAS for Alumni database subscription.

Other categories of Library users – including paid clergy and religious leaders, reciprocal borrowers from other schools, and public account holders enrolled before April 26, 2008 – may access physical items through the weekday pickup service in Richmond and electronic resources through a Member Research Portal that focuses on providing high-quality open-access materials from many sources through a single search interface. For additional information about access to physical Library materials in Charlotte, contact Charlotte Library Director, David Mayo, at

New accounts with circulation privileges may be requested, as usual, through our Patron Registration Pages for Richmond and for Charlotte.

As posted on the Seminary’s Coronavirus Alerts page on October 5 by President Brian Blount:

Given the ongoing health concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the physical campuses of Union Presbyterian Seminary (Richmond and Charlotte) will continue to be closed during the Spring and May 2021 terms in Richmond and the Spring and Spring 2 terms in Charlotte. Classes will continue to be delivered in online formats… Staff will continue to work under present COVID-19 protocols: working primarily from home, but coming to campus when necessary to accomplish essential duties or as directed by supervisors. In particular, library operations on both campuses will continue under present COVID-19 protocols. (, accessed 10/12/2020)

The rationale behind these protocols is that they fulfill the focal point of our Library’s purpose statement, to provide “print and electronic resources as well as library instruction to support the curricular needs and research activities of Union Presbyterian Seminary,” while limiting the number and range of individuals who have access to Library buildings for the sake of the safety of patrons and staff at a time when the path and threat of the COVID-19 pandemic are still uncertain and concerning.

Thank you for understanding and working within these protocols, as we do, to maintain access to library resources and services amid a rapidly changing public health situation. To keep up with the latest Library updates, please consider following the Library’s Facebook page, or the Seminary’s Facebook page for alumni.  News and tips will also be posted here, to the “News and Events” section of the Library web site.

Fall 2020: Services available at Morton Library

Posted on June 10, 2020

While access to the Library building remains limited during the 2020 fall semester, we offer a week-day touchless pick-up service for physical library materials at the front door of Morton Library.  To use this service :

1. Click the My Account button below the “Search Library Collections” field at, or from any search results screen in the catalog, and log in using your account number and PIN.

2. Place holds on items that you would like to pick up (up to 10 items per day).

3. Holds received by 8am will be available for pickup at 12 noon, and holds received by 12 noon will be available for pickup at 3pm (weekends and holidays excluded).  If you arrive after the scheduled pick-up time, please call the Library’s front desk at 804-278-4310. No pickups will be possible after 3:30 p.m.

If you would like to create a new library account, please visit our Patron Registration Page.

We will also offer appointment-based access to the Library building for UPSem students, faculty and staff . Students, faculty and staff are able to schedule appointments between 10am and 3pm weekdays (excluding holidays), via a link from this page.  Two appointments will be available each hour, with a maximum of two hourly appointments per person per day.  These appointments should be made for research purposes, and will allow for items to be checked out at the Library’s front desk.  Masks or other face coverings will be required during the appointment, and Library staff will also be wearing masks.  Please bring your own mask or face covering if at all possible.

Sign Up!

Additionally, InterLibrary Loans may be picked up by UPSem students, faculty and staff by appointment using the service described above. For more information or to request an Interlibrary Loan, please visit our InterLibrary Loan page.  For questions about an Interlibrary Loan, please email Mengistu Lemma at

Other Library services, including reference assistance and instruction, will continue to be delivered remotely:

NO BOOK DONATIONS : Until further notice, we are unable to accept book donations due to limited staffing.

In light of the continuing threat of COVID-19, access to the Library building will be limited to UPSem students, faculty, and staff (by appointment) for the foreseeable future, but we are glad to make circulating materials available to all Library account holders via the touchless pick-up service described above, and the staff members listed above are happy to help with any questions that you may have.

Our Charlotte campus is out of session and that Library remains closed.

Thank you for your understanding as we work to deliver library services in a safe way throughout the continuing pandemic.

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