Learn more about the Wesleyan-Holiness Digital Library and how it is impacting the world for the Kingdom of God.
Enter a library anywhere in the world—from the ancient libraries of Alexandria and Nineveh to the modern Library of Congress—and what will you find? Resources. These vital resources are gathered with specific purpose: to educate, inform, ignite passion, and tell the stories of great people and societies. Speaking about the Church of the Nazarene, General Superintendent Emeritus Dr. John A. Knight often stated, “Holiness, mission, and education are the hallmarks of who we are.”
As such, libraries and the librarians who staff them are true treasures to the ongoing work of the church.
In 2004, the NMI 90th Anniversary project was launched with the goal of placing books into the hands of pastors in world areas without many available resources. While the project was successful, the problem was that publishing, printing, shipping, and storing books was expensive—too expensive, especially given the rapidly growing number of women and men entering the ministry. We needed a more efficient and cost-effective way to create global access to resources—we needed a world class denominational library, and not the brick-and-mortar kind.
Librarians have been essential in helping us take our dream and make it a reality. From their first meeting in 2012 until now, librarians have led the development of the denomination’s digital library, the Wesleyan-Holiness Digital Library (WHDL.org). They insisted on key components that would ensure the system could serve long-term as a conduit of resources for pastors, students, and even those outside the church.
Language capacity was one of the difficult yet necessary pieces of the puzzle. WHDL.org allows for any kind of resource to be added to the collection in any language; there are currently resources in 68 different languages! WHDL.org is also fully functional in seven languages so that resources can be searched for in a person’s home language.
Having a diverse collection is also of utmost importance to the WHDL. This is not just a theology library. WHDL.org serves our educational institutions as their institutional repository and allows for scholarship from all the disciplines of the universities to be shared as open access (free) resources globally.
What difference does a multi-discipline, open access collection make?
Imagine a researcher looking for resources on ethics for a business paper and finding documents on ethics for medical research, nursing, and theology, as well as business. These other disciplines will help inform and stretch the researcher’s understanding of ethical issues. Imagine the day when all of our nursing schools have loaded their scholarship into WHDL.org and researchers will have immediate free access to global thinking around nursing issues. What will we discover about patient care, prayer in medicine, or treatments that will impact our global community?
Accessability was another important aspect we considered. Because internet connection is a problem in many parts of the globe, WHDL.org operates on a low bandwidth and is accessible on mobile devices. All resources are free and can be downloaded, emailed, or printed. We are also filling tablets with these resources and delivering them to pastors and educators in places where the internet has not reached or is unreliable. To date, more than 800 tablets have been delivered to various leaders across the globe.
WHDL.org is still developing. With just under 8,000 items in the collection and unlimited “shelf space,” we are continuing to upload denominational resources, scholarship, and archival material that help us educate and tell the story of Christ at work making disciples in the nations.
The most important thing to understand is that the Wesleyan-Holiness Digital Library is your library. Use it for your own research and inspiration, and help us fill it! If you have or know of resources that should be included in the collection, we want to know about them. Join the project as a volunteer or by helping to fund this great initiative. Finally, and most importantly, we ask that you would pray for the continued development of this wonderful resource for the church.
Tammy Carter is Administrative Director for the International Board of Education in the Church of the Nazarene. The WHDL team can be contacted at WHDLibrary@nazarene.org.
To read more about WHDL, visit www.WHDL.org/WHDL-library-world
Holiness Today, Jan/Feb 2019