Church and Synagogue Library Association Records, 1883-2017Add to your cart.View associated digital content.

By Amanda Montgomery

Collection Overview

Title: Church and Synagogue Library Association Records, 1883-2017Add to your cart.View associated digital content.
ID: 01/ AR0898
Primary Creator: Church and Synagogue Library Association.
Extent: 18.0 Boxes

The Church Synagogue Library Association Records are divided into ten series at box level, and have been placed in folders retaining the arrangement made by the organization, with the exception of oversize artifacts and one scrapbook.

1) Awards, 2) Bibliographies, 3) Committees, 4) Conference Proceedings, 5) Church and Synagogue Libraries and Congressional Libraries Today, 6) Finances, and 7) Organizational History.

Date Acquired: 09/00/2017. More info below under Accruals.
Languages: English


The records, files, publications, and other materials of the Church Synagogue Library Association, a national special-interest library group active from 1967 to 2017. Included in the collection are also the Association-related papers of Joyce L. White, one of the founders of the group.

Scope and Contents of the Materials

This collection documents the Church Synagogue Library Association (CSLA) from its founding in 1967 to the dissolution of the national organization in 2017. The collection includes minutes from the executive board, committees' meetings, chapter reports, financial materials and correspondence from board members, handbooks, manuals, clippings, reports, publications and born digital materials. The collection also includes records the documentation of the annual CSLA conferences, starting with first conference held in Philadelphia in 1968, to the final, 50th conference, held in Rochester, New York in 2017. The collection includes photo documentation of members at various events such as programs, workshops and conferences organized by CSLA. Also held in the collection is photo documentation sent in as part of applications submitted by members for consideration as recipient of one the awards given out by CSLA, such as the Pat Tabler Memorial Scholarship Award, The Helen Keating Ott Award for Outstanding Contribution to Children's Literature, and the awards for Outstanding Congregational Library, Outstanding Congregational Librarian, and Outstanding Contribution to Congregational Libraries.

Publications in the collection include many of the aids for church and synagogue librarians published by CSLA, including guides, brochures and bibliographies. Examples include: Guide No. 3: Workshop Planning, Basic Book List; and Know Your Neighbor's Faith. The collection also has the CSLA's newsletter, Church and Synagogue Libraries (1967-2006), later named Congregational Libraries Today (2006-2017, lacking 2016) in both paper and microfilm (1986-2000). The issues from 2010-2017 are available digitally. There are also issues of newletters from established chapters, such as the Center Ohio Chapter News.

The collection includes papers of founding member Joyce L. White that document her work in CSLA. The papers include pamphlets, brochures, correspondence, conference materials and activities in which White was involved.

Biographical Note

The Church and Synagogue Library Association (CSLA) was founded in 1967, with a goal of providing the opportunity for church and synagogue librarians to help each other in the establishment and maintenance of congregational libraries. The national organization disbanded in 2017, due to lack of membership.  Local chapters either disbanded or continued as independent organizations.

CSLA created a network of about 40 chapters and affiliate members intended to provide ongoing service and fellowship in regional areas. In addition, CSLA had a national annual conference which held in different cities each year. The CSLA published a bimonthly bulletin, CSLA, books, guides to congregational library practice, media reviews, bibliographies and contributed articles on all aspects of organizing and operating effective libraries to other publications.

One of its founders was Joyce L. White (1927-2013).  White was born June 7, 1927, and she received degrees from both the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University Library School in Philadelphia, and the Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, Texas.

White was librarian of M.H. Penniman Memorial Library at the University of Pennsylvania for 25 years, and in later life was librarian at the Christ Cathedral Church Library in Salinas, Kansas. She also directed the establishment of the library at the Wessendorff Ranch Religious Conference and Retreat Center in Blanco County, Texas.

Her work with congregational libraries started in the early 1960s when she saw the need for an association focused directly on church and synagogue special libraries. Twelve librarians, including White, met in Pennsylvania in 1967 and founded the Church and Synagogue Library Association (CSLA).

White served in various capacities on the CSLA board.  She served as third president of CSLA, from 1968-1969, during which time membership grew to three hundred members. For the period 1970-1973, she served as executive secretary.

White was director of the Drexel sponsored Annual Workshops for Church Librarians from 1962-1967, and was Program Chairman for the Association’s first Annual conference in 1968. She directed the second Annual Conference, which was held in Washington, D.C.  She frequently led workshops on various phases of congregational librarianship. She was the Local Arrangement Chairman for CSLA’s annual conference in Philadelphia in 1976.

White held the office of the Directory Committee Chairman, and directed the compiling of a church library directory in the United States and was joint compiler of CSLA’s bibliography, Know Your Neighbor’s faith: An Ecumenical Reading List. Additionally, she published CSLA guides and articles in a number of periodicals including Catholic Library World, American Libraries and Drexel Library Quarterly, as well as being a guest editor of a special issue of the Drexel Library Quarterly devoted to Church and Synagogue Libraries.  White was also the author of the entry for church libraries that appeared in the encyclopedia of Library and Information Science.  She was part of several research projects on congregational libraries

White founded the Delaware Valley Chapter of CSLA, and served as Chapter President for 1975-76; she was the assistant director of the Archives Project of the Leadership Conference of Women religious.  In later life, she was also a founding member of the CSLA’s Mile High chapter.

After retirement, she continued to serve as both an academic and a local church librarian and to promote CSLA. She died on May 10, 2013, at the age of 84.

Subject/Index Terms

Access Information

Access Restrictions:

This collection is not restricted.

Use Restrictions:

Reproduction and publication of materials in this collection are subject to the policies of the Department of Special Collections.  Copyright restrictions may apply.

Physical Access Note:

This collection is stored off‐site and require a minimum of 24  hour notice prior to use.

Technical Access Note:

Digital content materials are available via web browser in the UNT Digital Library.

Reading Room or Duplication Requests

Depending on any access restrictions noted above, you may be able to request items be delivered to our reading room, or that we make reproductions for you. Just click on either the or icons in the listings below to be routed to our request form.

Administrative Information

Repository: University of North Texas Special Collections
Accruals: 2017-062, 2018-003
Acquisition Source: Maria Trauernich, Mary L. Henneman
Acquisition Method: Gift.
Preferred Citation: Church and Synagogue Library Association Records, University of North Texas Special Collections


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