This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing to use this website, you consent to our use of these cookies.
Bishop Payne Library


"Seek the Truth, Come Whence It May, Cost What It Will." This motto, inscribed on the entryway of the Bishop Payne Library, sums up the library's purpose on campus: to facilitate the search for God's truth through the educational experience at VTS. As the research center on campus, the library's mission is to provide patrons with research assistance in utilizing the library's rich collections.

The Bishop Payne Library staff includes four librarians, two archivists, and several support staff to assist patrons in their research. It is the policy of the library to provide all patrons with professional, equitable, and courteous reference assistance.

Borrowing Policies and Privileges

All borrower's cards are issued as a privilege, not a right, and the Library reserves the right to deny, suspend, or revoke a card at any time for any reason.

Renewals: Items may be renewed once, online or by phone, as long as the items are not overdue. If you have overdue materials or outstanding fines, you must return the overdue items and clear all fines or blocks on your record before being allowed further borrowing privileges or renewals.

Overdue Books and Recalls: Overdue fines are 10¢ per item per day for circulating items, and 25¢ per hour for reserve items. The Library reserves the right to recall any item at any time. Patrons are expected to return recalled items within five days. Fines on recalled items are $5 per day after the five day period.

Questions about borrowing privileges may be directed to the library staff at paynelib@vts.edu.

List of 6 items.

  • Visitors

    Visitors are welcome to use the collections of the Bishop Payne Library for theological research on an in-house basis. Visitors are asked to register at the circulation desk at the beginning of each visit. Use of the Library is a privilege, not a right, and the Library reserves the right to revoke that privilege at any time for any reason.
  • The VTS Community

    Members of the VTS Community automatically have borrowing privileges and may obtain a library card at the library circulation desk. Trustees, staff, students, student & faculty spouses/partners, and Evening School students may borrow books from the circulating collection for a four-week period. Faculty members may borrow circulating materials until the end of the academic year, subject to recall if needed by another member of the VTS Community. Adjunct instructors may borrow circulating materials until the end of the semester, subject to recall if needed by another member of the VTS Community.
  • VTS Alumni and Alumnae

    One of the privileges of your degree from VTS is life-time borrowing privileges at the Bishop Payne Library. The library will loan alumni/ae up to five books at a time for a four-week period. If you are not local to the metropolitan Washington DC area and reside in the continental U.S., the library will send books to you via UPS. Make your request by email paynelib@vts.edu or phone: (703) 461-1733. The library will pay shipping to get the books to you; the alumnus/a pays the shipping costs to return them. The library is not able to place holds or borrow items from other libraries via interlibrary loan for alumni/ae.
  • Washington Theological Consortium Faculty and Students

    Washington Theological Consortium patrons must register for a library card by presenting a WTC Reciprocal Borrowing Agreement Form filled out by their home library and a photo identification, preferably a current student ID. Library cards are validated one semester at a time, and a WTC Borrowing Form is required each semester. Consortium patrons may borrow up to ten books at a time for a four-week period.
  • Local Clergy

    Local clergy may apply for a borrowers card at the library. Clergy cards are issued as a professional courtesy to local ordained ministers of any denomination. Those who wish to request borrowing privileges need to fill out a "Clergy Borrowing Application Form" at the circulation desk. Episcopal clergy may request borrowing privileges without a letter of reference. Clergy of other denominations need to present a letter of reference from your church judicatory or hiring official verifying ordination, along with the application form. Local clergy borrowers may check out up to five items at a time for a four-week period. Clergy cards are for personal use and are not transferable to any other user. The library is not able to place holds or borrow items from other libraries via interlibrary loan for clergy patrons.
  • Christian Educators

    A person (a) professionally employed 10 hours per week or more as a Christian educator or (b) a person with a degree in Christian education who is serving a local parish or congregation may apply for a borrower’s card at the library. “Local” is defined as: Alexandria City, Fairfax County, Arlington County, or the District of Columbia. No more than two Christian educators from a parish or congregation will be eligible for BPL borrowing privileges at a time. Those who wish to request borrowing privileges need to fill out a “Christian Educator Borrowing Application Form", obtainable at the Bishop Payne Library circulation desk and on the website. A letter on business stationary from the rector, pastor, or head minister of the parish or congregation must accompany the application for borrowing privileges a) verifying the person’s eligibility and (b) verifying that the parish will pay replacement costs for any library materials not returned by their Christian educator. Applications must be approved by the BPL Head Librarian or the BPL Public Services Librarian. Christian educators are not eligible for borrowing at BPL if they are currently enrolled at any other educational institution. Christian Educator cards are for personal use and are not transferable to any other user. The library is not able to place holds or borrow items from other libraries via interlibrary loan for Christian Educator patrons. This policy will be in effect for a trial period during the 2008-09 academic year.



Library Services for Doctoral Students

Students enrolled in a degree program at VTS have access to all of the resources of the Bishop Payne Library, whether on campus or at a distance.
While on Campus
  • Each student will be issued a photo ID card that also acts as your library card through the patron barcode attached to the back of your ID.
  • While in residence, students may check out up to 75 items at a time. These items are checked out for a four-week period with the option for two four-week renewal if there are no holds on the item.
  • Once the student has left the campus, items can be returned via U.S. mail or UPS. The items will be checked in upon arrival using the postmarked date.
  • The library reserves the right to recall an item if it is needed by another student or for a course reserve. You have five days to return a recalled item.
  • We have recently had some problems with distance students not returning materials. Please honor the community covenant by sharing resources.  You will need to return your books and clear any outstanding fines before enrolling in the next class session. 
While away from Campus
  • The library will ship you items via UPS. Each package will contain five items at a time, up to your limit of 75 items total. The library will pay the cost of shipping items out while the patron pays for return postage.
Library Catalog
  • The library catalog is available at any time at http://librarycatalog.vts.edu.
  • Patrons may access their library accounts from the catalog page.
  • On the right side of the page, under “My Library”, click on “My Account.”
  • Enter your last name (ex. Smith) and the full library barcode from your library card (ex. BVTS0000000000). The barcode must include all digits, but no spaces, and is case sensitive.
  • Once access to your record has been attained, you are able to see what items you currently have checked out and renew items that are eligible for renewal. Item eligible for renew are those that have not been renewed yet, on or before the due date, with no outstanding fines.
Electronic Resources
  • While enrolled as a student, you have access to the library’s electronic resources, including ATLA Religion, EBSCO’s Philosophy and Religion collection, and Psych Abstracts, among others. These databases can be found at http://vts.libguides.com/eresourcesBysubject.
  • If you are trying to access resources away from campus, the system will need to validate you as a currently enrolled student. To do this, you will be asked to enter your full name and your library barcode.
  • Many of the articles in these databases are full-text so that you will be able to get access from anywhere.
  • To gain access to articles that are not found full-text but are available at the Bishop Payne Library, notify the library through paynelib@vts.edu and the staff will copy and send the article to you at a charge of five cents per page.
Interlibrary Loan
  • While on campus, a student may request items that are not owned by the Bishop Payne Library through interlibrary loan. These items must be used within the library while the student is in residence.
  • Due to the nature of the interlibrary loan system, books are loaned from one library to another. Therefore, the borrowed items cannot be mailed to a third party.
  • Interlibrary loans that are photocopies will be mailed to you.
Please feel free to contact us with your research questions by phone at 703-461-1733, by e-mail at paynelib@vts.edu or by fax at 703-370-0935.
3737 Seminary Road, Alexandria, Virginia 22304  |  Phone: 703-370-6600 or 800-941-0083 | Employee Directory