NYATLA Membership Benefits

The New York Area Theological Library Association (NYATLA) is a group of specialized libraries within the metropolitan New York area concerned with interlibrary cooperation in the field of religion and theology, representing a regionally distributed library collection of approximately 4,000,000 volumes.

The Association meets regularly and conducts its affairs under a constitution and by-laws that provide for institutional and individual membership and for elected officers.

NYATLA was formed in 1977 as a creative response to the cooperative challenge posed by the rich diversity of library resources within the metropolitan New York area that bear on specialized study and research in religion and theology. The purpose set forth in the constitution is to concern itself with theoretical and practical problems of regional resource development and service in religion and theology and to intensify cooperation as a matter of inter-institutional responsibility.

The Association focuses regional attention to the problems of the specialized collection in religion and theology and involves institutions in the creation of regional solutions. It provides a forum for discussion, exchange, and inquiry among its member institutions; to assess local library needs and problems on a continuing basis and respond to these, where possible, within a cooperative framework; to initiate, stimulate, support, review and evaluate programs and projects of cooperative action among libraries responsible for developing and maintaining the regional resource base in religion and theology. The problem of an institution's relation to its own resources and to the resources of its environment requires unremitting energy of focus to achieve proper stewardship of these resources. NYATLA has had a stimulating influence on participating institutions seeking to clarify responsibility and options in library resource development. Its advent marks a major concerted effort in the New York metropolitan area to assess existing resources in religion and theology and to advance integrated planning for their coordinated development.

The future of the metropolitan resource environment in religion and theology quite clearly depends on progress in resource sharing. Nurturing institutions in this progress and facilitating their movement toward a structural framework for developing and utilizing resources in common have become matters of urgent necessity. If areas are to make effective use of their increasingly limited resources, new collaborative forms will soon have to emerge, adjusting attitude and approach to common problems, altering decisions and relations among institutions, and creating innovative alignment to distribute both the cost and the benefit of resource and service commitment.

Structured inter-institutional cooperation can become a new reality for religious and theological scholarship in this situation, and it can have a decisive impact on the shape of the future locally, regionally, and nationally but it must be pursued vigorously. One of the principal tasks of leadership consists in bringing direction to this pursuit. The New York Area Theological Library Association is an active participant in this endeavor of designing and implementing an efficiently supportable regional system for religion and theology. All its work is to create and support that interfacing system.

The New York Area Theological Library Association exists as a call and as a task, as a sobering appeal for coordinated resource development among institutions within a framework of mutual responsibility.