St. Mark’s congregation is diverse in terms of backgrounds and interests. Similarly, people’s concerns change throughout life. For these reasons, the Dozier Library’s collection is equally diverse, containing books and other material on the following subjects:
- Bibles, prayer books, hymnals, and commentaries
- The history, theology, and art of Christianity
- The history and liturgy of the Episcopal Church
- Prayer, meditation, and other spiritual practices
- Preaching, lay leadership, youth education and ministry
- Pastoral care and books on major life issues
- Social justice, outreach, and stewardship
- Books for children relating to religion and values
- Other world religions
Given its space constraints, the library can only house a selection of titles on these topics, ranging from introductory to more in-depth material. The hope of the Library Committee is that these holdings will pique the interest of parishioners and lead to further exploration using the wider resources found online and in public libraries.
Getting to Know the Collection On-Site
A quick way to see what the collection comprises is to look at the printed Catalog, two copies of which are in three-ring binders to the right of the entrance. Each binder contains a short description of how the library is organized, followed by an author’s sort and a title sort for the Adult Collection, and similar sorts for the Children’s Collection.
At the back of each binder are some “Topical Sorts” listing books that are related by category or theme, such as books by St. Mark’s Authors, books pertaining to Israel and Palestine, books by scholars involved in the Jesus Seminar, and books about Women Shaping Christianity. These listings have resulted from displays put on by the Library Committee in Baxter Hall, so more will be added in the future.
The best way to discover what is in the collection, however, is to take a look at the titles of the works on the shelves. This can result in serendipitous encounters with authors or subjects for which one wasn’t intentionally searching but which strike a chord in some way.
The Library Committee also welcomes the opportunity to provide brief introductory tours to teachers, classes, and other interest groups within the congregation.
How the Room is Organized
To the right of the entrance, the low bookshelves contain three special sections:
The bookcase on the left contains books drawn from the Hebrew Scriptures and New Testament, books about aspects of prayer and worship, and books featuring art based on the Bible. The books are shelved in alphabetical order by the author’s last name. The spine labels read: CB-B, author’s last name, and the year of publication. (See the binder catalog or the online catalog for the standard Library of Congress shelving information.)
- Children’s Books – Stories
The bookcase on the right holds books with stories about other faith traditions or stories with a spiritual or ethical underpinning. Our collection does not include books about popular cartoon or film characters, as these can easily be found at the public library. The spine labels in this section read CB-S, author’s name, and date.
The bookcase on the right also holds a variety of handbooks and activity guides useful for adults working with children and teens. These are labeled YM, author, and date.
At the back of the room, the large alcove contains most of the books in the adult collection. With a few exceptions, all of these books are shelved in alphabetical order by the Library of Congress classification system. Starting with the second shelf on the far left, the LC spine labels begin with B and run along the back wall to T.
Special sections and locations
As with the books for children and Youth Ministry, some books in the adult section have special spine labels and are grouped together:
- Anchor Bible Commentaries
This large series (donated by our 11th Rector, Rev. Paul R. Abernathy) is located on top of the bookcase along the back wall. The spine labels carry the standard LC shelving information.
Some CDs and cassette tapes can be found enclosed in slipcases or books throughout the collection. Others, including videotapes, are located on the bottom shelf at the end of the adult section.
- Classics of Western Spirituality
Although each volume in this large series is labeled with its Library of Congress number, they are located together (in LC order) on the bottom shelves of the middle bookcases along the back wall.
Books too large to stand vertically on a shelf are stacked horizontally on top of the two cupboards to the left of the alcove. Their labels indicate OVERSIZE below the standard Library of Congress shelf number. They are also designated as oversize in the catalog.
This section is located in the last bookcase on the right at the back of the room. It contains a variety of different Bibles, prayer books, and hymnals, as well as concordances, dictionaries, and encyclopedias. The spine labels show “REFERENCE” below either the LC shelf number or the work’s title. All reference materials are non-circulating. They are intended for use in the library or short-term use elsewhere in the church
These books are located on the top shelf on the far left of the alcove. They include books written by current or former clergy and members of St. Mark’s. Due to space constraints, we have limited the selection to books addressing issues of church life, personal faith, and social justice. This section also includes CDs of hymns written by church members. The spine labels read: SMA, author’s last name, and year of publication.
This small collection consists primarily of Bibles and a few other texts used by the Youth Confirmation class as well as some Sunday School classes. The spine label reads “Youth Conf.” below the book’s title. These works are kept on the large rolling cart and are intended only for use in the library or a classroom, not for circulation. The bottom shelf of this cart also holds excess copies of the Episcopal Hymnal and the Book of Common Prayer, which are available for use in youth or adult classes.
Books labeled “WORSHIP” (below either the LC shelf number or the work’s title) are shelved on the small rolling cart in the Library. They include duplicates of the same Bibles, prayer books, and hymnals that are in the Reference section, as well as books pertaining to worship planning, such as lectionaries, inclusive prayers, and different liturgies. The books on the cart are non-circulating. They are intended for use in the library or short-term use by classes and committees elsewhere in the church.
Checking out and Returning Books
To check out an item, use the “Sign Out” binder located on the shelf below the bulletin board at the entrance. On the form inside, please print your name, the name of the book (or CD, video, etc.), and the date you are checking it out. If the book is one of several copies in the collection, please indicate which copy you have. In general material may be kept for 30 days.
When returning material, please place it in the box located on the bottom shelf below the Catalog and Sign-out binders. The box is labeled “Please Place Returned Items Here.” Please also find your entry in the Sign-out binder and indicate in the last column the date on which you are returning it.
If you remove one of the rolling carts for use elsewhere in the church, please return it to the library after your class or meeting is finished. If you remove individual items from the carts or from the Reference section, please return them to the shelf where you found them.
Acquisitions & Donations
At present, the Dozier Library does not have an acquisition budget and is dependent on the generosity of parishioners for donations of new or gently used books. Parishioners with suggestions of books to be added to the collection can record them in the three-ring binder marked “Suggestions” near the entrance door.
Parishioners who have books to donate should contact the Library Committee at DozierLibrary@gmail.com to arrange a time to drop off the books. Because the library is used for committee meetings, classes, and other activities each week, it is not appropriate to leave books anonymously. For one thing, there is no storage space. For another, it can be difficult to determine whether a book has been inadvertently left behind by someone who used the room or is an intended donation.
As the Library Committee accepts new books into the collection, it must sometimes cull out older titles to make room. Discarded books are either offered to the congregation or given to the Virginia Theological Seminary, to local public libraries, or to organizations collecting books for overseas education programs.