About the Divinity School Library

The Divinity School Library contains a collection of more than 400,000 volumes in the fields of religion and related disciplines, and affords a wealth of material for the seminary student. An integral part of the university’s library system, which possesses more than 6,200,000 volumes, the Divinity School Library occupies facilities within the Divinity School building. The library currently subscribes to over 700 religious periodicals, offers study facilities for students in its reading rooms, and houses a reference collection in religion. Although some of the library’s collection is stored off-site, the majority of the collection can still be browsed within the library’s open stacks. Some seating and reading areas of the Divinity School Library are undergoing renovation and are temporarily closed. The improvements will be completed in fall 2016.  The York Reading Room, formerly the school’s chapel, will be available for reading and study during periods when study seating is required.

Staffed by the library director, digitization and technology librarian, a reference services librarian, two circulation staff members, and by a number of student assistants, the Divinity School Library offers a variety of services to assist students in selecting and locating information. The book, electronic, microform, and periodical collections are carefully chosen to support basic course work as well as advanced research in all major fields of theology and religious studies.

The library is the host institution for the Religion in North Carolina Digitization project funded through grant support provided by the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act. The act is administered by the State Library of North Carolina, a division of the Department of Cultural Resources. This large-scale digitization project is a collaborative effort with Wake Forest University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH).

The Divinity School Library offers a wide variety of computerized resources, including an online catalog and over 100 databases available through the Web, and a growing collection of electronic books. The library’s web page,  http://library.divinity.duke.edu/,  contains information about services and electronic resources, links to websites in religion, and online forms for interlibrary loan, reference questions, and more. The library also provides power, printing, and network connections for laptop computer use, book/chapter scanning, and offers wireless connectivity to the Internet throughout the library, including the York Reading Room.

Seminary students may also use the resources and facilities of all other Duke libraries, including extensive electronic resources, public documents, maps, periodicals, newspapers, microforms, and special collections (within which are 100 prized ancient Greek manuscripts). Students may arrange to borrow in person from the other libraries of the Triangle Research Library Network (North Carolina Central University, North Carolina State University, and UNC-CH) and may present their Duke IDs to use the theological library at Shaw University.

Special collections in Religion

The David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library collects a variety of religious materials in partnership with the Divinity School Library. Notable collections include:

  • The collection of Methodism and Wesleyana material assembled by Dr. Frank Baker-- the most comprehensive Wesleyana collection in the United States
  • Judaica including the Abram and Francis Pascher Kanof Collection of Jewish Art, Archaeology, and Symbolism which includes more than 300 Haggadahs, many of them early, illustrated, limited, or ephemeral editions.
  • Kenneth Willis Clark Collection of Greek Manuscripts-- 98 items dating from the 9th to the 17th centuries. Of these 27 contain texts of the New Testament. Others represent diverse homiletic and litergical books for services in the Byzantine Church.
  • A number of religious pamphlets, tracts, sermons, diaries, hymnals and manuscripts dating from the 8th century to the present.


The library is open to all researchers, and offers study spaces and services that meet ADA requirements.

Map and Guide

A map and guide to the stacks of the Divinity School Library will help you identify where the books are located according to Library of Congress classification. Our collection uses the Library of Congress (“LC”) classification, which organizes material by subject (just like Dewey Decimal), but starts with letters instead of numbers. Library of Congress classification assigns letters of the alphabet to subjects. For instance, in the “BX” section of the basement/level E, you will find books on Christian Denominations.