Welcome to the Library!

The Bishop Payne Library provides an inviting context for theological exploration. Spaces have been designed to accommodate a variety of learning styles, facilitate group work, and host engaging programming. 

Our passion is to help you go deeper in your faith and vocation through reading, research and resources.

Librarians are ready to assist with your research. Use the tabs at the left, or explore the pages throughout our website to learn more about the resources and services of the library.




Visiting the Library

The library collection and building support the theological research and teaching of the Seminary. Building access and resource use is given priority to the VTS Community (students, faculty, staff, their families, VTS alumni, CXM Supervisors, and guests of the Seminary) and students and faculty of the Washington Theological Consortium.

  • Local Clergy: Local clergy who have previously held borrowing privileges with the library may visit the library to apply for renewal of privileges. Local clergy new to the library will be required to apply for borrowing privileges at their first visit. Local clergy must sign-in at the circulation desk at the beginning of each visit. 
  • Individual Researchers: Visiting researchers must make an appointment to visit the library, upon each separate visit. The library is open to researchers who have a specific need to use the library's collections. Access is intended for limited-duration, distinct projects. Borrowing privileges are unavailable to visiting students, outside of the library's existing agreement with the Washington Theological Consortium libraries. 

    To schedule a visit, submit a Visiting Researcher Appointment Request form, including information about your project and use of the BPL collections. A library staff member will reply to your request.
  • General Public: Members of the general public should make use of the Alexandria Public Library System.
Research Services

We are here to help.

You don't have to research alone. Librarians are available to partner with you at any stage of your project. They can help you develop a research topic, suggest recommended resources or help you choose sources to use, and they can help you put it all together for an assignment. 

Book a Consultation:

  • Fill out a research request form
  • Ask at the circulation desk for research help. Remember, you are never "bothering" the circulation desk staffer. We are here for you! 
  • Schedule a Meeting with Vincent Williams, our User Services Librarian. Vincent can meet with you in-person, over the phone, or via Zoom.
  • If your research question concerns archival material, email askarchives@vts.edu.
Borrow and Renew

You'll need your VTS ID card to check out books using the self-checkout station or with the circulation desk staff.


Most materials at the Bishop Payne Library are available to borrow. Exceptions are books in the Reference Section or Special Collections. Loan periods vary slightly depending on your relationship to VTS.

Loan Limits and Periods
Borrower Type Number of Books Loan Period
Student 75 4 Week
Faculty 150  Academic Year
Seminary Staff 10 4 Weeks
Seminary Family 5 4 Weeks

Renew Books

Library users may self-renew books up to 3 separate times through My Account. Log in using your last name and library barcode to view or renew the materials you've borrowed. You may also renew materials by emailing paynelib@vts.edu or by calling the circulation desk, 703.461.1733.

Course Reserves

Professors may ask the library to place reading materials on reserve in the library. These materials are located at the circulation desk. Course reserves can be checked out for 2-hours and renewed if no other student is waiting for access.

You can find course reserves through the VTS Library Catalog. Select Course Reserves and enter the professor's last name in the search box. You can browse the list of items on course reserves, including e-Books. Many professors also integrate their course reserve texts with their Brightspace course pages.

Study Spaces

Group study room and carrels are for the use of the seminary community only.

Group Study Rooms

There are 5 group study rooms in the library, for use by students doing small group study or for course-related small groups. These operate on a first-come-first-served policy for groups of 2 or more. They are not intended for individual study. Library staff occasionally reserve these spaces for departmental or faculty meeting needs.

Individual Carrels

Carrels are available on the main and upper floors of the library, reserved for use by students writing theses, those with a documented learning accommodation, and visiting scholars. Please inquire at the circulation desk about the carrel policy. When not reserved, these rooms can be used on a first-come, first-served basis.

Print, Copy, and Scan

Copiers are located in the middle area of each floor as you get off the elevators. A VTS ID card is required to access print, copy, and scan features. You can use library computers on any floor to print by logging into the VTS Papercut Service.

If you need to set up your papercut account, contact the VTS Computer Lab at computerlab@vts.edu.




Alumni have library privileges, though they differ from student privileges. The same ID and library barcode used as a student will carry over for alumni. If you've misplaced your library barcode, email paynelib@vts.edu and a library staff member will set you up with a new one.

Go to our Alumni Resources guide for information about services and databases to which alumni have access.