About Schaff Library

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Planning Your Visit

Schaff Library at Lancaster Theological Seminary is open to the general public. We primarily serve: current LTS students, faculty and staff, LTS alumni/ae, visiting students and faculty, as well as local clergy and laity.

Visitor parking is available in the lot off College Ave. Visitor parking passes are available at the Circulation Desk for patrons conducting research and planning to stay longer than the allotted visitor time.

Our hours change depending on the seminary's calendar. Please check our main page for current hours of operation.

Semester HoursMonday-Tuesday and Thursday, 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.;
Wednesday, 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.;
Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.;
Saturday, Noon to 4 p.m.;
Sunday, 2 to 5 p.m.
Regular HoursMonday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.;
Saturday-Sunday, CLOSED
Summer HoursMonday-Thursday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.;
Friday, 9 a.m. to Noon;
Saturday-Sunday, CLOSED

What You Will Find

With nearly 130,000 volumes, over 90 periodical subscriptions, and a rapidly growing e-resources collection, Schaff Library is a theological library committed to serving the Lancaster Theological Seminary community and broader community of religious scholars and church leaders. We house a substantial rare book collection as well as the Seminary's archives, and specialize in Mercersburg theology and history of the German Reformed Church.

We are consortial partners with the Evangelical and Reformed Historical Society, and share a catalog. The ERHS is located in the Philip Schaff Library Building, but maintains its own staff and hours of operations. 

There is an array of amenities at Schaff Library. On our Main Floor:

  • color photocopier/scanner
  • Internet access terminals
  • Exhibit Gallery
  • Special Collections reading area
  • Conversation Lounge
  • Maker Space
  • Learning Commons
  • Collaboration Rooms
  • Conference Room (available by appointment only)
  • Student Snack Area

On our Lower Level:

  • computers with Microsoft Word and other software
  • study carrels
  • reading chairs

Borrowing From Us

Anyone who has a registered account with the library may check out circulating materials. A vaild photo ID, mailing address, email address, and phone number is required to open a library account. Loan periods vary by borrower type:

Borrower TypeNumber of Items Checked Out at OnceLoan Period
Current LTS Master's Studentsunlimited30 days
Current LTS Doctoral Studentsunlimited90 days
LTS Staff and Facultyunlimited180 days
LTS Alumni/ae; Families of Current LTS Students and Employees10 items30 days
Visiting Students and Faculty10 items30 days
Supporting Member ($20/year)10 items30 days
Local Clergy and Laity; General Public (complimentary)5 items30 days

Items from periodicals, reference, lectionary resources, and special collections do not circulate. Media items have a 2-week loan period for all borrower types.

Course reserve items are available for a 3-hour loan period and a maximum of 3 reserve items may be checked out at one time. Items checked out within one hour of the library's closing may be used overnight and returned within one hour of opening the following day. Overdue reserve items accrue a fine of $1/hour.

Items are due by the close of business on the date assigned. Most items may be renewed online up to two times. Items that have exhausted the number of renewals must be brought back to the library before checking out again. Overdue items accrue a fine of $0.25/day, to a maximum of $15 per item.  Borrowing privileges are suspended for current LTS students when fines reach a total of $5. All other borrowers must have a $0 balance before checking out items. Fine forgiveness is availabile and requests are reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Any overdue item that has not been returned within 30 days will be declared lost. Lost items are charged at a replacement cost plus a $25.00 cataloging and processing fee. No refund can be made if the item is found and returned at a later date.

Interlibrary loan services are available to current students, faculty, staff, and alumni/ae of Lancaster Theological Seminary. Requests may be made through our website or in person.

All current students, faculty, and staff are eligible to receive cooperative borrowing privileges at all Southeastern Pennsylvania Theological Library Association (SEPTLA) member libraries. Please stop by the Circulation Desk to receive a certified borrower document before attempting to borrow items from a SEPTLA member library.

The Fine Print: Library Policy Details

Please see Section 12 of the Student Handbook for a summary of library policies pertaining to students.

Beverages in containers with lids are permitted in the library. Food may only be consumed within the Student Snack Area, located on the Main Floor before walking through the security gate. The library is a smoke- and tobacco-free environment. Smoking, use of smokeless tobacco products, e-cigarettes and the use of unregulated nicotine products is strictly prohibited.

In compliance with the Lancaster Theological Seminary Electronics Communication Policy (pp. 73-75 of the Student Handbook), Internet terminals and computers are reserved for instructional, educational, research, administrative, and other work or mission-related purposes. Any unauthorized use of the Internet and/or computer equipment is strictly prohibited. Unauthorized uses include, but are not limited to: gaming; transmitting or receiving offensive, defamatory, pornographic or sexually explicit material; attempting to disable or compromise secure information; engaging in "hacking" or related activities.  

Children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a parent, guardian, or responsible caregiver. Unattended children under the age of 16, who are in the library without a parent, guardian, or responsible caregiver present, will be asked to leave.

Animals are not allowed in the library unless they are registered service or therapy animals.

We reserve the right to restrict library access and borrowing privileges. We reserve the right to inspect library materials and personal items upon arrival and departure from the library. We are not responsible for personal items left in the library.

Our History

The Library is named for Philip Schaff, Professor of Church History and Biblical Literature (1844-1865)

"Philip Schaff has been described as a mediating theologian who was able to bring reconciliation and cooperation across many sources of division.

Perhaps that is his greatest and most important legacy for today's Christians. We must work together - we simply don't have the leisure in our post-modern, post-Christian society to indulge in some of the battles that have plagued American Christianity in the past.

Schaff would never accept an apathetic, indifferent, theologically vapid unity, but he would insist on working together, despite deeply held differences, in the proclamation of the Gospel and the work of the Kingdom."

-- Stephen R. Graham, "The Protestant Principle and the Catholic Substance," New Mercersburg Review No. XXVII 100-101