Library Holdings of Religious Fundamentalist and Secular Universities: “Where the Twain Seldom Meet”

Reference work entry


Colleges and universities promote themselves to students, faculty, alumni/alumnae, and others in various ways; these include logos, mottos, school songs, as well as mission statements, curricula, celebration events, and websites. Another expression of their place in local and wider academic and professional communities is through their library holdings. The books and journals in their collections and the books they purchase reflect their unique place in a nationwide system of institutions of higher learning. These holdings will be related to those they serve, whether a wide public or a specific heritage, their instructional priority (a science or art), or a religious worldview. This study investigates and compares the library holdings (books) of three US fundamentalist or religiously conservative college/universities with three Quaker/secular colleges to discern what their collections reveal about their religious heritage, mission, and worldviews. One hundred fifty-five keywords and phrases about religious origins, faiths, life, and practices were identified using their online catalogues. While a degree of agreement was found on certain topics and themes, vast differences were discovered in the religious collections in these two sets of colleges/universities. While students in both sets of higher education institutions may have some similar courses about religious values, origins, missions, and social issues, some wide discrepancies exist in the amount and variety of materials for student or faculty research and overall professional development with a focus on religion.


Libraries Worldviews Religious books Fundamentalism Secularism Society of friends 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeographyUniversity of KentuckyLexingtonUSA
  2. 2.Department of GeographyUniversity of Nebraska-LincolnLincolnUSA
  3. 3.Department of GeographyUniversity of WyomingLaramieUSA
  4. 4.Department of GeographySouth Dakota State UniversityBrookingsUSA

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