The Shumaker Library at Central Seminary is an academic and professional library serving the information needs of the CBTS community and staging clergy. Home to over 80,000 volumes, the library collects broadly across the spectrum of Western Christianity with special emphases on the Baptist tradition, congregational health, and global Christianity. Interested individuals are welcome to visit the library and explore its resources.
The Shumaker Library is named for Ms. Dianne Shumaker, who gave the lead gift for the renovation and expressed her delight in having the library so named. “Philosophically,” said Shumaker, “my relationship with Central Seminary is ‘what God wants.’ I feel blessed to be a contributor to this greater good. Being part of the library is a special joy – I love books and have an extensive library of my own.”
Central President Molly T. Marshall reflected on the appropriateness of the name, Shumaker Library:
Dianne Shumaker shared the dream for this library from the very beginning. She loves learning and students and has sought to help provide the very best for Central–both in excellent facilities and creative programming.
In spring 2019 a major event occurred without much fanfare but with extensive consequences—Central Seminary and the Shumaker Library became members of the Digital Theological Library (DTL). After several discussions between the provost, the academic committee, the library director, and the director of the DTL, Central joined this young collective.
So, what is the Digital Theological Library? In its own words, the DTL is “a co-owned, born-digital library of religious and theological studies.” In other words, it is an organization that was formed and is sustained by member institutions (18 schools at present) who pool their financial resources to obtain access to digital resources that would be too costly to license independently. Indeed, the stated mission of the DTL is “to provide its co-owning institutions with the highest quality digital resources in religious and theological studies at the lowest possible costs.”
The principal value of the DTL for Central is the opportunity to participate in a library context of a much larger scale. For instance, the inclusion of DTL resources as part of Central’s collections more than tripled the digital holdings of the Shumaker Library. DTL holdings as of this writing are as follows: over 600,000 ebooks; over 37,000 journal and magazine titles with more than 66,000,000 articles and reviews; over 80,000 music recordings; and over 60,000 videos. This represents a value of over $1,000,000 USD in permanent access to ebooks alone. Another benefit of participating in a collective of a larger scale is the dedicated DTL staff focused on developing and sustaining the digital collections.
Another major driver motivating Central to become a member institution was the availability of Korean language resources to support our Korean programs. Korean-speaking students at Central now have access to databases hosted by the National Library of Korean, for ebooks and for articles, with a sizable volume of resources in their first language.
Current Central students, staff, and faculty are able to access resources in the DTL from remote locations. Those who are not members of the Central community are able to access these online resources by visiting the Shumaker library on the Central Seminary campus in Shawnee, where library staff will help them log on to the system.