Call for Proposals for New Edited Volume on Theological & Religious Studies Librarians' Experiences during the COVID-19 Pandemic


The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way we go about our lives and engage with our profession. It impacted all aspects of our daily experience, from the nature of our work to our social interactions to our hopes and fears for the future. While this period of history is undoubtedly a time of great change, the impacts of the pandemic - and emerging methods for dealing with its challenges - have yet to be fully explored.

This volume, edited by Megan Welsh, Associate Professor and Interdisciplinary Arts & Humanities Librarian at the University of Colorado Boulder, and Ian Burke, Ph.D. of Burke Research Consulting, seeks to capture the varied experiences of religious studies and theological librarians from around the world throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. It will serve as a record of how this professional community addressed the challenges posed by the pandemic, as well as a resource for sharing knowledge across the field of theological and religious studies librarianship. 

The editors invite contributions for chapters containing original research and narrative accounts which highlight how the professional community of theological and religious studies librarians or libraries have experienced the pandemic. This content will represent 90% of the total volume. Contributions for full length work (original research and narrative accounts) should run approximately 6000 to 8000 words and conform to the Books@Atla Open Press Author Guidelines (see Step Two, As this work will reflect humanity across both personal and professional experiences of the pandemic, we invite the submission of short pieces of creative work which we will publish on a limited basis (representing no more than 10% of the total volume). Please consider submitting an abstract of 250-500 words that outlines your vision for a complete work to be included in this edited volume. 

Definitions of forms of work

  • Original research: Work that investigates a research question using quantitative, qualitative, or mixed methods approaches. These methods, as well as research findings, should be discussed in the body of the chapter. Authors may also apply a theoretical framework in the formulation of their research question or for the analysis of their data. Examples of original research may include interview studies, survey research, analysis of use patterns, or other works that contribute to ongoing conversations related to theological and religious studies librarianship. 
  • Narrative accounts: Work that focuses on a localized practice, situation, innovation, or other aspect of the author’s institution or practice of librarianship. Narrative accounts may also incorporate emerging local practices which may inspire the readership to adopt a change in practice at their own institutions. These chapters should provide rich descriptions of key events and experiences, grounded in personal accounts, and may include critical reflection of local experience. 
  • Creative work: Creative work may take the form of poetry, blessings or prayers (across all traditions), visual arts, photography, or other creative contributions. 

The editors are interested in contributions that can speak to the below themes in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic. This list is not exhaustive; the editors are interested in a well-rounded volume that encompasses authors’ expertise and interests.

Chapters may focus on:

  • Administration: Examples may include leadership, supervision, management, emergency planning 
  • Patron-facing services: Examples may include circulation, reference services, teaching and learning, outreach
  • Technical services: Examples may include materials processing, cataloging, integrated library system administration
  • Acquisitions and materials management: Examples may include collection development, budgeting, interlibrary loan
  • Changing nature of work: Examples may include working from home and hybrid work, work/life balance, caregiving
  • Social/emotional supports: Examples include trauma-informed care, ministerial approaches to librarianship, emergent support networks 
  • Future of theological and religious studies librarianship
  • Contemporary societal issues co-occurring with the pandemic
  • Other topics of interest

Instructions for submitting a proposal

Proposals should be submitted to and include:

  1. Author details (name, job title, institutional affiliation, and email address)
  2. A working title for your proposed contribution
  3. Abstract of 250-500 words

Interested authors will have an opportunity to meet with the volume’s editors via Zoom on June 8th between 11 AM – 12 PM CT to discuss their ideas for potential submissions. Drop in at any time on June 8th to chat with them.

Submission timeline

  • August 31, 2022: Deadline for submission of proposals. Proposals for chapters should be submitted electronically to 
  • September 2022: Review of submissions will begin immediately after proposal submission. 
  • September 30, 2022: Authors will be notified of the status of their proposal.
  • June 2, 2023: Deadline for accepted authors to submit completed manuscripts.
  • Spring 2024: Estimated publication date.