Pitts Theology Library opens in new space in Candler building

By Laurel Hanna | Emory Report | Aug. 5, 2014

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Pitts Theology Library opens to the public Aug. 5 in its new space in Phase II of the Candler School of Theology's new building. Guided tours are available.

Pitts Theology Library opens to the public today in its new space in Phase II of Candler School of Theology's new building. Beginning Aug. 5, library staff will lead guided tours to acquaint visitors with the space and the resources the library offers. Tours are open to the public and will continue throughout the coming weeks; signup is required.

With more than 610,000 volumes, Pitts is among the premier theology libraries in North America and one of the most comprehensive in the world. The library's new home includes high-density shelving, a dedicated special collections area, space for small-group study and breakout rooms for larger groups. It also features an 80-seat lecture hall and 1,000 square feet of adjacent exhibit space.

"When visitors come to the new library, they will be able to benefit from all of the new spaces and new technology," says Patrick Graham, director of the Pitts Theology Library. "It will make their time spent here much more efficient, and they are going to enjoy it much more."

Since its beginnings as a small collection of books in a dark basement corner of Wesley Memorial Methodist Church, Pitts has grown exponentially in the number and quality of its holdings, forging an international reputation along the way.

"It's a mistake to view libraries as just warehouses for books," Graham says. "They do have lots of books and people can go there to use them, but libraries are also places where you have highly trained staff who care very much about helping students do their work. Pitts Library has developed a reputation as a great training ground for theological librarians."

Pitts vaulted to world-class status in 1976 when its holdings tripled through the acquisition of Hartford Seminary's 220,000-volume collection. This year, the library completed processing a gift of 85,000 volumes from General Theological Seminary, which added to its holdings 25,424 monographs, 428 periodicals, and 2,721 special collections titles.

Phase II of the new Candler building is adjacent to the Rita Anne Rollins Building on Dickey Drive. An Emory or other photo I.D. is required for entry into the library.