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Library and Archives

The Library and Archives are located in the Temple in Independence, Missouri, USA.


The library collection includes approximately 37,000 books, 150 periodicals, 400 videos, 2,000 audiocassettes, a pamphlet collection, a departmental collection, a quarterly collection, a multi nation language collection of scriptures, an unpublished collection, a vault collection, and a Herald House preservation collection. 

The main emphasis is religion as it relates to the Community of Christ mission with an added focus on the history of Christianity, theology, social science, and peace studies. 


Check Out Process

All library users must have a barcoded library card in order to borrow books and reserve materials. Library materials circulate up to three weeks and may be renewed. All items must be checked out at the Circulation Desk. 

  • Borrowers are responsible for any library materials checked out in their name. Fines for all regular circulation items are 10¢ a day per item after the due date and a $20.00 per book fine after a book has been overdue a month. 
  • Journals and reference books do not circulate and must be used only in the library. 


In April 1865, Isaac Sheen, editor of the “True Latter Day Saints Herald,” was appointed as the first church librarian. Frederick M. Smith was appointed librarian in 1896. In 1907 a library commission was appointed to administer the library and select a librarian. In 1918, President Frederick M. Smith recommended that the General Church Library become part of Graceland College.

It is believed that only the rare books and historical materials were kept by the historian and moved with that office to Independence in 1920.

By 1922, four library or book collections were consolidated into one building, the Institute of Arts and Sciences building: historian's collection, the remaining part of the General Church Library transferred from Lamoni, the Independence Stake library, and the Institute of Arts and Sciences library.

In 1925, President Frederick M. Smith called for the coordination of all book purchasing to avoid unnecessary duplication and expense. The library began functioning as a public and research library. By 1928 the library had a full-time librarian. In 1929 it was dedicated “The Emma Hale Memorial Library.” The Depression of the 1930s greatly curtailed the functioning of the library.

In 1952 the bulk of the library was moved to the fifth floor of the Auditorium where it was a private, closed-stack research library. In 1976 the library became open to the public and circulated books.

In October 1979, the library became part of Temple School (the educational arm of the church). In 1992 the library moved to the Temple. An online catalog began in 1994 as part of the Kansas City Library Consortium. Combined holdings in the Kansas City Library Consortium are over 3.4 million items.

In April 2016, the library became a private library dedicated to students, staff, and scholarly research.


The archival collection is housed within the library with over 1,000 linear feet of the church's institutional material, including photographs, oral histories, letters, journals, past event information, and more.


The Community of Christ Archives is the final repository of institutional records reflecting the enduring values of the institution. The archives staff provides stewardship over the documentary and primary source materials pertaining to the history of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints/Community of Christ. 

American Masters

PBS’s documentary series American Masters has released more than 1,000 hours of never-before seen footage. Users will gain insights from Maya Angelou, Sidney Lumet, and Audra McDonald, among many others. 


Cambridge University Press

Cambridge University Press launched a free, online collection of book chapters and journal articles addressing the complex relationships between race, racism and power. 


Community of Christ Catalog

Community of Christ International Headquarters provides a library catalog.  


Directory of Open Access Journals

The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) database contains peer-reviewed journals. 


EBSCO Open Dissertations

The EBSCO Open Dissertations database includes over 1.2 million theses and dissertations. 


EBSCO European Views of the Americas: 1493 to 1750

The EBSCO European Views of the Americas: 1403 to 1750 contains indexed publications related to the Americas and written in Europe before 1750. 



The GreenFILE database covers the environmental effects of individuals, corporations, and governments and what can be done at each level to minimize negative impacts. 


Heralds 1860-1994 Index

This index includes Heralds from 1860-1994.  


Herald Genealogy Birth and Blessing Index

The Birth and Blessing Index in the LDS Church History Library covers births and blessings from 1860 to 1968. 

The call number in the catalog search is M291.5 S157b. 


Herald Genealogy Marriage Index

The Marriage Index in the LDS Church History Library covers marriages from 1860 to 1955. 

The call number in the catalog search is M291.5 S157m. 


Herald Genealogy Obituary Index

The Obituary Index in the LDS Church History Library includes obituaries from 1860 to 1961. 

The call number in the catalog search is M291.5 S157o. 


OpenAccess from JSTOR and ARTSTOR

The OpenAccess database from JSTOR and ARTSTOR contains books and journals from scholarly publishers and over 1.3 million freely accessible images. 


OpenAccess from Project MUSE

The Open Access database from Project MUSE includes books and journals from scholarly publishers. 


Open Library

Open Library from Internet Archive (IA) strives to list information on every book ever published, including full scans of some books. 


ProQuest Religion Database

ProQuest Religion Database has access to over 250 full text, international periodicals.  

Contact Library and Archives with questions and for support on how to use the database.  


Smithsonian Open Access

The Smithsonian has released over 2.8 million images from its vast holdings that can be used without permission. 


Social Justice Database

The Social Justice Database from Heinonline include resources on:  

  • Civil Rights & Social Justice; 
  • Gun Regulation & Legislation in America; and 
  • Slavery in America and the World: History Culture, & Law. 

For access to this database contact Library and Archives.


Social Networks and Archival Context

The Social Networks and Archival Context shares data such as biography, occupation, and relationships. 


Szczepanski's List of Open Access Journals

This database includes the world’s largest list of open access journals in the humanities and social sciences. It was curated by Jan Szczepanski.  


Teacher Reference Center

The Teacher Reference Center from Internet Archive (IA) includes more than 230 peer-reviewed journals. 


Zion's Ensign Index

The Zion’s Ensign Index contains church periodicals from late 1800’s to early 1900’s.  


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