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Library Purpose and Scope

Statement of Purpose

The purpose of the Seventh Day Baptist (SDB) Historical Library is to provide a resource for the study and appreciation of SDB life and thought, past and present.  The Council on History of the Seventh Day Baptist General Conference, USA & Canada, maintains and operates the library as a service to SDBs and, to the extent possible, to the general public, providing reference and research materials for the direct answering of specific questions and for continuing research.  The library serves as the official archives of the Conference, its related agencies, and its member churches.[1]

Scope of the Collection

Historical Society Museum inside SDB Center in Janesville, WI

In developing the collection of materials for the purpose stated above, the focus is on the history of the Sabbath and of Sabbath-keeping Baptists.  Priority is given to:

  • Publications dealing directly with group life of SDBs (local churches, associations, denominational agencies, etc.) and publications by or about individual SDBs, particularly leaders;
  • Primary source materials (organizational records, correspondence, memoirs, etc., including tapes, artifacts, and graphic materials) with a direct relationship to the group life of SDBs or to individual SDBs, particularly leaders;
  • Publications or primary source materials dealing with the Sabbath—history, theology, philosophy, and practice of Sabbath keeping;
  • Publications or primary source materials necessary to the study of the above in their historical-cultural context (including such categories as Bible and exegesis, doctrinal or practical theology, denominations and sects, church history, biography, genealogy and American history [general or local]).


Geographic focus is first on English and American SDBs and Sabbath keeping with expansion first to the areas of outreach into other countries and, finally, to the life and thought of Sabbath-keeping Baptists (more or less related to American witness) in other parts of the world.  (Non-English-language materials are not excluded but must be included selectively.)


Materials on non-SDB groups are included based on the significance of their relationship to SDBs, influences on SDBs, or involvement with SDBs (e.g., 17th century Fifth Monarchists or Particular Baptists; 18th century German SDBs or Keithian Baptists; 19th century Seventh-day Adventists or Northern Baptists; 20th century World Council of Churches, Church of God Seventh-day, or Polish Sabbath Day Christian Church).


Materials about or by individual SDBs are included relative to the significance of their influence on, influence by, or representation of the life and thought of SDBs.


Family history materials on SDB individuals and families are included as they fit the purposes and scope stated above.


Formats of materials include books, pamphlets, periodicals, manuscripts, church records and registers, audiotapes, videotapes, graphic materials, and artifacts.

Selection Criteria

Materials will be received as gifts or purchased based on the following:

  • Importance of the subject matter to the collection (see above scope);
  • Uniqueness of the material, scarcity of material on the subject;
  • Timeliness and permanence of the work;
  • Availability of the material elsewhere;
  • Ability of staff and budget resources to adequately care for the materials and make them accessible to users;
  • Reliability of the information contained and its understandability;
  • Physical quality of the material.

[1] Policy approved by the General Conference in 1990

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