Measure TWYCE, Cut Once

How an Academic Library Is Engaging Vocationally Trained Alumni through Document Delivery

Abstract Library services for alumni are difficult to navigate, but they are necessary for the ongoing relationships between alumni and their schools. Theological academic libraries are no different in the struggle to navigate, as their alumni can be cut off from necessary resources and research assistance by any number of means. In expanding an existing document-delivery service to alumni, one library is seeking to keep the vocational alumni of two colleges connected to both their schools and the resources that helped shape their vocation and ecclesial identities. Through a survey, the needs of the alumni were assessed, and the resulting pilot project shows great hypothetical promise in improving alumni services.


Asking any question pertaining to servicing alumni by an academic library will lead the inquirer to frustration. It inevitably leads to questions of cost, licensing for e-resources, and varieties of accessibility to physical resources; some of those questions are easily answered. Things like adherence with copyright compliance or other legal matters are included in the platform licenses available to the currently enrolled student community, faculty, and staff members; and depending on the university, these same items might be available to certain external library card holders for a fee. What about an academic library that has been key to formation for vocational and professional development and can continue to provide resources to assist in careers? Alumni from these academic settings go from having respected and reputable resources at their student fingertips to having little to no access whatsoever to those same resources by virtue of their graduation status. What is the responsibility of their school library to them? Does and should their school library continue to have responsibility to serve them? What is the ideal relationship of these alumni to their school library?

This paper describes how one university college library is attempting to respond to the needs of vocationally trained alumni. The particulars make this response unique: the library in question is a dual-college library that supports academic and vocational training for clergy in predominantly one ecclesiastical tradition while also serving a secular undergraduate base. The same library provides a document-delivery service to the theological graduate students and both theology and humanities faculty at its two colleges. The primary goal of the new service described in this paper is to provide resources to the active alumni serving in pastorates as ordained clergy or in lay ministerial roles while remaining compliant with and in adherence to university policies and procedures.

This paper is designed to lay out the process, from planning to proposal to pilot, for the Trinity-Wycliffe Church Express (TWYCE) alumni service at the John W. Graham Library at the University of Toronto in Canada. This paper will locate the Graham Library in its context as an academic library; in particular, its audience and focus. It will provide a literature review of expanded alumni services; it will then locate the Graham Library’s proposed pilot within that literature. It will describe the process used for learning what needs the alumni have and how the library could best fulfill those needs. It will discuss what worked and what proved difficult, and it will conclude by discussing the future for the post-pilot project.


The John W. Graham Library was founded in 2000 as a refurbishment of the existing college library at the University of Trinity College, a federated college at the University of Toronto in Canada1. In its new foundation, the theological library collections from both University of Trinity College and Wycliffe College, both members of the Toronto School of Theology and accredited members of the Association of Theological Schools, were amalgamated into the single location. There is an agreement of support between the two colleges for the maintenance and development of the collection, as well as financial support for the theological reference librarian position. As of 2021, the Graham Library houses more than 80,000 physical items. It is one of the 44 campus libraries in the University of Toronto Libraries (UTL) system.

Both the Faculty of Divinity at Trinity2 and the faculty at Wycliffe College educate and train persons seeking ordained ministry, primarily in the Anglican tradition, especially for the denominations of the Anglican Church of Canada and the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States; ordination-seeking persons from other traditions are also welcomed. As members of the Toronto School of Theology, both Trinity and Wycliffe allow students from other TST schools to attend classes and be a part of communal life. Both colleges have provided residence to undergraduate students and to upper-year students.

The current alumni services provided by the Graham Library are as follows: an extramural card that allows access to the physical resources housed only at the Graham Library, very limited access to the AtlaSerials® database, and a curbside pickup accessible through an online form on the library’s website. Alumni, like any member of the public, can access the UTL catalogue online but cannot make requests for items. During the lockdowns of the COVID-19 pandemic, a curbside pickup service was developed to accommodate the needs of students, faculty, and other community members. Since the return to campus in September 2021, the curbside pickup service remained for alumni and non-conjoint students, as they did not have the necessary valid student identifiers to be allowed into the library or to request the items through the online catalogue. There has been a significant drop in usage for the curbside service, but, due to the number of non-conjoint students needing access to course texts and research items—as well as local, ordained alumni who have used the library—the service remains.

The document-delivery service at the Graham Library is called Graham InfoExpress. It provides physical items, links to electronic items, and scans to requesting faculty members from Trinity and Wycliffe Colleges; and it provides scans of journal articles, book chapters, and interlibrary documents to Toronto School of Theology students at the same colleges. It began in 2018, and is heavily modelled on an older, established service from the John M. Kelly Library at the University of St. Michael’s College (St. Mike’s). The library paraprofessional technician who is the coordinator and operator of this service has been in the role since the inception of the Graham InfoExpress; thus, they would also be the one coordinating and operating TWYCE. The purpose of TWYCE is to expand this already existing document-delivery service to a much larger alumni audience within Canada.

What evidence is there in the literature to support such a service expansion? Is there evidence of libraries having success in reaching out to their alumni and maintaining a relationship with them? What can the Graham Library learn from these libraries? We now turn to a review of the available literature.

Literature Review and Environmental Scan

There is no simple literature review for this proposal. Hundreds of articles have been written about how libraries have sought to engage alumni, how to keep the interest of alumni, and how to provide the necessary services. The same question is being asked time and time again: What should be the library’s role in providing service to alumni? (Horava 2007; Flegg 2012; Sanville 2012; Smith, Street, and Wales 2007; Stachokas 2016; Weiner 2009). It is both encouraging and disheartening to know that there has been no clear answer to this question yet. Most of the literature discusses the library as a service-provider, but also as a key part of the relationship between the university and its alumni. In the 2010 report for the Association of College and Research Libraries, Megan Oakleaf notes that the value of an academic library is connected to service rather than products and experience over collection, but also service delivery supported by librarian expertise (Oakleaf 2010, 23). In other words, for alumni, an improved service to suit their educational and/or vocational needs from their school library could be beneficial.

Key themes emerged and remerged throughout the literature search: the need for a healthy and robust reciprocal relationship between alumni and their school, the perceived status of alumni as purposeful borrowers, and the measurement of alumni expectations. This proposal from the Graham Library, if successful, would be a direct response to these themes. The project here is to engage academically and vocationally trained alumni in their current occupations as ministers, pastors, and resident theologians in geographical areas that cannot be served easily by an academic library; while a public library is beneficial, it too has limitations.

Two articles appeared multiple times in the search: Tom Sanville’s perspective piece “Reflections on Alumni and Libraries: Libraries Are Willing If There Is a Way” (Sanville 2012) and Chris Flegg’s perspective piece “Alumni, Libraries and Universities: Whereto the Relationship” (Flegg 2012). Both articles directly confront the relationship between alumni and their university. Sanville is briefer in discussion than Flegg, but both authors present the challenges facing any sort of alumni-service expansion: if the university is keen to maintain relationships with its graduates, it must engage them in a reciprocal relationship. It is not enough for alumni to continue to donate and invest in the university: the university will be expected to produce something in return (Sanville 2012, 63; Flegg 2012, 61). To that end, alumni need to see that what they invest in their former school is being returned to them adequately (Weerts and Ronca 2007, 23-24).

Flegg is blunt in presenting how a university will monitor its alumni and find various ways to keep them engaged and supportive of the school; Flegg asks:

[W]ith much at stake, how do these universities hold up their side of the ledger in terms of providing mutually beneficial relationships? Put more crudely, what, apart from prestige and the opportunity to network with fellow alums, can graduates expect to get back for their support and engagement? (Flegg 2012, 60)

If university administrators look to the libraries to answer that question, then, as some literature notes, the library needs to engage the alumni; however, it cannot do that without the university. The alumni development offices enable points of contact, and the library will need their resources to engage. The library cannot remain invisible to the university, and its role in the lives of the current students cannot be readily dismissed: it should be seen and viewed in partnership (Weiner 2009, 4). For this to work, as Deanna Marcum and Roger C. Schonfeld report in their book Along Came Google, the university administration must see the library as a place beneficial for “greater investment in a variety of schemes for sharing resources that would offer many options for faculty and students and sometimes the general public to gain access to institutions’ collections” (Marcum and Schonfeld 2021, 24).

If alumni are “often grouped together with visitors, friends, or other categories of user that are considered part of an external community rather than being part of the university itself” (Stachokas 2016, 14), the relationship between the library and the alumni is presumed to be secondary or of less importance. George Stachokas states that some libraries were addressing “alumni needs as though alumni continue to be a part of the broader university and library community rather than lump alumni together with visitors or other outsiders” (Stachokas 2016, 15). This is applicable to TWYCE, as the Graham Library wishes to retain connection with the vocational alumni to assist them with their various research needs.

A major complication here, as noted by Stachokas and others (Flegg 2012; Sanville 2012; Smith, Street, and Wales 2007; Weerts and Ronca 2007), is legal in nature, and one that TWYCE will be confronting frequently: while the academic library may see alumni as being a part of the broader university community, various publishers do not. Stachokas writes:

[They] consider alumni to be part of a separate market sector with its own business models and pricing. Some vendors assume alumni will be served by public libraries for their personal information needs while information needs related to their employment or other commercial activities will naturally fall outside of the purview of an academic information services provider such as their previous academic library (Stachokas 2016, 16).

This confrontation may prove to be problematic and costly; however, if it leads to conversations involving the university library and vendors regarding the potential for vocational alumni to receive access without significant additional costs, there can be an improvement in quality of service throughout the university. It may lead to vocational alumni being granted a particular status to differentiate them from other alumni, which is what one academic library in the United Kingdom did for alumni of an MBA program (Stachokas 2016, 17; Smith, Street, and Wales 2007, 162-76). While TWYCE is designed for those alumni trained for ecclesial positions, they would not be the only vocational alumni produced by the university. Those from other vocational programs (education, medicine, law, etc.) could benefit from this change of status.

Status is one thing, but another recurring theme is determining how the alumni would use the resources: are the resources for business or educational purposes (Smith, Street, and Wales 2007, 163)? Most of the e-resources provided by a university are licensed for educational purposes, and identifier authentication is one form of checking. In the case of TWYCE, this becomes further complicated by asking who is receiving the educational value from the resource: the ordained alumni using it for teaching, or the parishioner who may never visit the university that provided the resource? Would TWYCE count as a business use or an educational use? The literature is not clear, but the Graham Library would have to make a definitive statement on the matter.

Alumni expectations are also mixed (Smith, Street, and Wales 2007, 166; Weerts and Ronca 2007, 31-32). Is it reasonable for alumni to expect the same access they had when they were students, or access to e-resources they never had prior? Who or what should determine access: the needs of the alumni, or the university in dialogue with the library vendors? If there is a cost to the alumni, what can the university library guarantee will be available for that cost? Is the university establishing the future alumni relationship early with existing students (McGill, Rundle-Thiele, and Lye 2009, 271), or are the current students merely accepting that they will not have a relationship with their school post-graduation?

A surprising result in the alumni-university relationship came in the number of results pertaining to the university archivist and inclusion of other university staff, particularly in the alumni office (Smith, Street, and Wales 2007, 165; Weerts and Ronca 2007, 31-32). It is most likely through the archivist that an academic library (if they are affiliated with said archivist directly) would encounter the most alumni interaction. Eddie Woodward states that this connection “provides alumni with the opportunity to reconnect and give back to the school where they earned their degrees…. [It] also dovetails nicely with the trend in modern university archives to collect material from former students to help document the student experience” (Woodword 2015, 138). Woodward notes that this gives the alumni a concrete sense of investment and ownership, which leads to future donations in artifacts and financial support (Woodword 2015, 139). While this is good for the archival aspect of university life, the sense from Woodward’s article is that this pertains most to alumni at the end of their careers or in retirement. The Graham Library’s proposed project is for vocational life immediately following graduation, to maintain an active research presence in the alumni’s working lives rather than waiting until the end.

Environmental Scan

An environmental scan of existing alumni services from other theological libraries was initially conducted in 2019. Four Anglican academic libraries from across Canada plus one Roman Catholic library3 were emailed questions about what services they provided for alumni or students who live at a distance from the school. When the scan was again conducted in 2021—this time, reading the libraries’ websites—what was learned in 2019 had remained the same. Despite changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic, students who lived at a distance from their home library were at a significant disadvantage compared to those living locally, and alumni were at a greater disadvantage than either group of students. Some libraries were willing to mail resources or to email e-resources to current students on a case-by-case basis. Others would direct the inquirer to their local university library or to make an interlibrary loan at their public library, and there might be a cost to the borrower.

The University of Toronto, for instance, charges $30 per interlibrary loan per external borrower request (University of Toronto Libraries 2022). The issue is further complicated by students living abroad, as international shipping raises the possibility of items becoming lost: the student would then be responsible for replacing a book. Initially, in 2019, the Graham Library’s proposal was met with some interest; one library expressed desire for a centralized requesting service amongst the academic Anglican libraries for alumni but shared no further thoughts. The table below provides a breakdown in the services provided by the schools.

Graham Library

University of St. Michael’s College

Atlantic School of Theology (AST)

Huron University College

Saskatoon Theological Union (STU)

Vancouver School of Theology (VST)

Distance education students


Yes (their own)





Mail books5

Canada Post

Canada Post, courier

Canada Post, courier


Canada Post, courier


Scan documents








Library card

University identifier6

Proof of registration



















Basic Degree7







Advanced Degree8







Provides Interlibrary Loan







Table 1. Services provided to alumni and distance students.

In the broader literature review, numerous libraries have tried to engage and serve alumni with mixed results; and at this time the main frustration is the lack of access to online resources. While this is based on a university policy in compliance with copyright law and other unavoidable legal matters, it is still a source of frustration and aggravation for alumni wishing to use any library service previously offered to them pre-graduation. The service project as designed at the Graham Library is not fully represented by the literature. It is to the design and the project that this paper now turns.

Proposed Pilot

The pilot project was initially constructed in 2019 as a topic of conversation between the Graham InfoExpress Coordinator and another librarian at the Graham Library. While the discussion mainly focused on the loss of an interlibrary loan service amongst the public library system in Ontario prior to the COVID-19 lockdown, it opened the potential for reaching out to alumni to assist in their research needs. Encouraging the ordained alumni to increase their use of the Graham Library seemed the logical decision to make, but the process of doing that would involve multiple steps and reviews.

To repeat: the existing alumni services provided by the Graham Library are, like those at other academic libraries, severely truncated compared to those offered to the current research body. There is an extramural library card that can only be used for circulating physical items from the Graham Library’s collection. This card is offered freely to alumni, non-conjoint students, and Anglican clergy. It allows for up to 25 items to circulate, with a loan period of two weeks. Also, for alumni of both Trinity Divinity and Wycliffe College, there is limited access to the AtlaSerials® database, a very popular resource for theological studies. To receive the card or the AtlaSerials® access, an alum must inquire in person and provide pieces of identification—in the case of ordained clergy who are not alumni, this includes proof of ordination such as their license. The card, though free, must be renewed every year. COVID-19 protocols prevent alumni from entering the library to peruse the stacks, so they are restricted to an online request form for a curbside pickup.

The proposal itself is simple: the Graham Library will extend its existing InfoExpress document-delivery service to the ordained alumni from Trinity Divinity and from Wycliffe College. The University of Toronto Library catalogue is accessible to the public, but there are options for contacting the Graham Library directly for assistance. Scans from e-resources will necessarily be bound by the licensing agreements established between the University of Toronto and the providing vendor; the more open the access, the more likely it is that scans will be provided. Like the other InfoExpress services, the pilot will follow the University of Toronto’s established guidelines for copyright-law compliance.


Any sort of project of this nature requires preliminary work. It is not sufficient for the Graham Library to decide that it will provide a service; it needs to know the service is (a) needed, and (b) necessary. To accomplish this, the methodology of needs assessment will be employed. While it is important to the schools—Trinity College and Wycliffe College—that their alumni are engaged for the reasons revealed in the literature review, it is also important that their alumni recognize this as a service primarily for them. Part of the pilot should result in the reciprocal investment relationship: the school and the alumni benefit from the library providing the service, while the library benefits from the school investing in the library. The alumni see a return on the investment of both time and money to the school from the library.

Before expanding an existing and viable service, the Graham Library needs to find the relevant information and understandings of what the alumni of Trinity Divinity and Wycliffe value in a library service that will specifically benefit them as a group. This will result in the Graham Library taking some sort of action, changing the service(s) it provides to alumni, and thus leading to an improvement in the overall patron-forward service it offers to the whole university community. This is a needs-assessment methodology for establishing “priorities for program or system development” (Witkin and Altschuld 1995, 5). Will there be a benefit to the Graham Library? Theoretically, yes: an improvement in circulation stats, increased number of users, and potentially higher request traffic for resources that are not available in smaller centres.

In interpreting the results from the needs assessment, a second and complementary methodology will be employed: grounded theory. This is to assist the Graham Library to better understand how it currently serves the ordained alumni and how it can improve its own stature as an academic Anglican library. The Graham Library presents an existing value statement, that it serves the students, faculty, and alumni of Trinity and Wycliffe College. It is unclear, however, how true that statement is. Grounded theory in this case would help define what alumni description best suits the Graham Library’s current service: the data collected proves the theory it creates (Echevarria-Doan and Tubbs 2005, 42). To declare that the library serves only alumni local to the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) does not accurately reflect the stance of the Graham Library as serving all the alumni from Trinity Divinity and Wycliffe College. This methodology would help reveal the areas where improvement is necessary across the services as provided by the library and give supportive evidence of the vitality the library provides to the college community and life at the University of Toronto. It will help shape how the programs for alumni are developed, determining where outreach is needed most.


Initial planning (researching, literature review, environmental scan, survey): 2019-2022 Survey9:

  • Construction: 2019, renewed in 2021
  • Redevelopment: September 2021–January 2022
  • Atla Annual Conference 2022 Proposal: January 2022, accepted March 2022
  • Research Ethics Board: Protocol submitted April 11, Approval notice May 2
  • Launch: May 9, 2022
  • Data Collection Conclusion: May 30, 2022
  • Analysis: May–June 2022
  • Presentation at Atla Annual Conference: June 17, 2022
  • Pilot: September 2022 for one calendar year
  • Pilot Conclusion: August 2023
  • Pilot Evaluation: August-September 2023
  • Official Service Expansion: September 2023

Survey and Results

The survey was created and housed on Survey Monkey. Because the survey’s results needed to be shareable for a presentation as well as a research paper, they were submitted as part of a research-project protocol to the University of Toronto’s Research Ethics Board for suggestions and approval. Since it presented very little risk to the University or the Graham Library, the protocol was approved on April 20, 2022.

The survey was launched on May 9, 2022, with a deadline for completion of May 30, 2022.

Distribution was completed through the following channels:

  • Alumni development offices of both Trinity College and Wycliffe College
  • Graham Library’s newsletters
  • Graham Library’s social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram)
  • Wycliffe Alumni Association Facebook page
  • Trinity College social media sites

The acceptable number of results in the protocol was set at 100. This number was determined according to the number of active alumni extramural cards currently in circulation. The number of responses received by the deadline exceeded our expectations at 142.

The results10 show some interesting findings. While the presumed complaint regarding access to electronic resources was expected—and yes, it was mentioned—it was not the most prominent comment. Most of the alumni who made comments were concerned about the lack of awareness regarding their continued use of the library. They were unaware of the extramural card, the AtlaSerials® option, or that they would be welcomed back into the library to use the resources.

The initial results (Week 1) showed that the average alumnus was a Trinity grad two to five years out, was an ordained member of the Anglican Church of Canada, and had an extramural card. This graduate would be willing to use an expanded document-delivery service for a small service fee to give them continued access to biblical commentaries and theological texts. They would expect staff support in navigating the Graham’s existing resources, better communication through the existing alumni associations, and no expiration of their privileges. They would also like to participate in the pilot project. The results from Week 1 would indicate that while there certainly is service to the alumni of Trinity Divinity and Wycliffe College, it can be improved by expansion.

Week 2’s results showed little change: the average alum was still a Trinity graduate two to five years out, was a member of the Anglican Church of Canada, was active in ordained congregational ministry, and had an extramural card. The alum would be willing to use the document-delivery service for a small fee but would also be willing to use it regardless of cost. They primarily wanted biblical commentaries and theological texts, and they wanted library staff support in navigating the existing resources. They were also very eager to participate in the pilot.

Week 3 and the final results did not change much from Week 2. The total number of respondents was 143—88 Trinity Divinity alumni and 55 Wycliffe alumni—with a 100% completion rate (no uncompleted surveys). This is a satisfactory result for a survey of this nature. The final average alum was a Trinity Divinity grad two to five years out, was a member of the Anglican Church of Canada, was active in ordained ministry, and had an extramural card. The alum would equally be willing to pay for the service regardless of cost or for a small service fee if it meant they had access to biblical commentaries, theological texts, and worship resources. The alum would also like staff support in navigating the Graham’s existing resources and no expiration of privilege. Of the 142 respondents, 116 wished to participate in the pilot, so a discussion with the senior library staff at the Graham Library about how to proceed is needed.

Future Direction of the Pilot Project

The pilot and the service going forward will require a marketing plan for promotion. The focus and target audience of this expansion is the alumni of Trinity Divinity and of Wycliffe College; it should not diminish or distract from the other document-delivery services the Graham Library provides, but rather work in complementary tandem. Since the average alumnus is an ordained person, there is great potential for them to share and discuss the service with their colleagues, some of whom will not be alumni of either college. Because the extramural card given to alumni is the same as that given to Anglican clergy, this is not currently a distinction worth making. This is especially in reference to the Graham Library’s collection management policy of April 2011, when the then Anglican Church of Canada’s library was folded into the collection at the Graham: “It is the goal of the Library, in conjunction with the Archives of the Anglican Church of Canada, to become the preeminent Canadian base for scholars of Anglicanism.” (John W. Graham Library 2011) As a result, withholding this expansion from Anglican clergy would not be a welcome step. That does not mean, however, that it will be marketed as such: it presently means that Trinity Divinity and Wycliffe College alumni will be the target audience, and their colleagues from other seminaries will not be excluded should they approach.

The marketing plan for the pilot will work like that of the survey, only this time, alumni will be contacted directly by the library rather than through the alumni-development offices. The alumni who were in favour of participation will be contacted and provided with a full explanation of what the service can do for them. A document of FAQs will be created, and also issued as a print document. The alumni will be welcomed and encouraged to ask questions of the coordinator or the subject liaison librarian at any point during their request.

When the pilot is complete, feedback will be sought in the form of a survey. It too will be published, and it is hoped that the findings will be presented at another Atla conference in the future.


The problem with providing library services to alumni as documented in the literature follows this same pattern: the library is aware that alumni are important; the library tries to determine what the alumni want and need; the alumni do not respond as the library desires; the library tries and fails again. No alumni service is going to work perfectly, and the documented attempts reveal more frustration than success. A number of these involved developing a new library service, whereas the John W. Graham Library is taking the different route of expanding an existing service for alumni.

The survey conducted by the Graham Library was structured to collect specific data about alumni informational needs. Graham Library staff can see clearly where the service needs to expand as well as what the alumni expect from it. In turn, this survey can be used to justify budgetary changes at the college level for the Graham Library. If the returns are great enough, the colleges can see how the library can benefit from their own relationship with their alumni. Resulting from this, the Graham Library will be an active partner in that relationship rather than a passive observer.

The struggles other libraries have had in alumni services are not without merit for the Graham Library. It too has struggled to find and refine services to suit the needs of all its patrons. This is only one component, one aspect of service; it will need constant attention and refinement as the number of alumni grows and spreads. Exciting times lie ahead.

Appendix A: Survey Questions and Percentage Results

  1. Which college did you graduate from? (If you graduated from both, please select the most recent)
    1. Trinity (Divinity) 61.97%
    2. Wycliffe 38.73%
  2. Are you a member of the Anglican Church of Canada?
    1. Yes 81.69%
    2. No; my denomination is in full communion (joint or shared ministry) with the Anglican Church of Canada 3.52%
    3. No 13.381%
    4. Prefer not to answer 1.41%
  3. When did you graduate?
    1. Less than 2 years ago 14.08%
    2. 2–5 years ago 43.66%
    3. 6–10 years ago 14.79%
    4. 10+ years ago 27.46%
  4. Are you ordained, and are you serving a congregation?
    1. Yes, and serving a congregation 62.68%
    2. Yes, and not serving a congregation but engaged in other ordained or commissioned ministry (e.g., chaplaincy) 14.79%
    3. No, and serving a congregation as either an ordinand or lay leader 7.04%
    4. No, and not currently serving a congregation but engaged in other commissioned ministry (e.g., chaplaincy) 4.23%
    5. No, and not currently serving a congregation and not engaged in other ministry 11.27%
  5. Are you aware the John W. Graham Library has an alumni card that allows you to borrow books from its collection?
    1. Yes, and I have one 49.30%
    2. Yes, and I don’t have one 15.49%
    3. No 35.21%
  6. If you answered “Yes, and I don’t have one” or “No,” please tell us why you don’t use the Graham alumni card (not interested, forgot it existed, distance to and from the library, two-week loan period too short, no access to the University online resources, et cetera).
  7. The John W. Graham Library is considering expanding its existing service to alumni of Wycliffe College and Trinity Divinity. This would include the possibility of delivering documents or materials via Canada Post or email, and may include a small service fee. Would you be interested in participating in a trial pilot project?
    1. Yes, regardless of cost 35.92%
    2. Yes, for a small service fee 36.62%
    3. Yes, as long as it is free (aside from overdue fines) 20.42%
    4. No 7.04%
  8. In order to better understand what materials and resources would be needed, please indicate below what you would borrow from the John W. Graham Library (select all applicable materials):
    1. Bible commentaries and theological texts 86.62%
    2. Worship resources (prayer books, liturgies, hymnals, et cetera) 47.89%
    3. Other 27.46%
  9. If you answered “Other” in Question 9, please give a description of the materials and resources you would want to borrow from the John W. Graham Library.
  10. If the John W. Graham Library were to expand its existing alumni service, what would make it attractive to you? (Select all that apply)
    1. Staff support in navigating the Graham’s existing resources 54.93%
    2. Better communication through the existing alumni associations 46.48%
    3. Little to no cost for usage 42.96%
    4. No expiration of privilege 48.59%
    5. Other 6.34%
  11. If you answered “Other” in Question 10, please give a description of your ideal alumni service from the John W. Graham Library.
  12. Any additional comments on expanding the alumni service are welcomed. Please provide feedback or suggestions.
  13. Would you like to participate in the service expansion pilot project?
    1. Yes 81.69%
    2. No 18.31%

The remaining two questions were for submission of an email address for participation in the pilot and for the incentive draw for the gift cards.

Appendix B: Survey Comment Results

The survey responses are presented verbatim.

The first question that required a comment was question six: If you answered “Yes, and I don’t have one” or “No,” please tell us why you don’t use the Graham alumni card. Of the 82 comments, it was fairly divided between the following:

  • “I was not aware of it.”
  • “I believe I would need longer loan for it to be worthwhile, as I live out of town.”
  • “I have never received one.”
  • “I wasn’t aware that I could apply for such as card.”
  • “I’m not in Ontario and so I am not able to access the library physically.”
  • “I have never heard of it.”
  • “Distance from the library.”
  • “I was not aware! I would LOVE to use it!”
  • “I live outside Toronto and it is not feasible to come to Toronto to the library.”
  • “My fault. I just was unaware. I would be delighted to have such a card and will take steps to acquire one.”
  • “It wasn’t clear how to get an alumni card based on my programs.”

The second question that required a comment was question nine: If you answered “Other” in question 8, please give a description of the materials and resources you would want to borrow from the John W. Graham Library. Of the 48 comments, only six referred specifically to online resources.

  • “Academic resources, e-books, and journal articles.”
  • “Journal articles, e-books.”
  • “It would be great to have access to electronic journals—leadership, homiletics, field education, etc.”
  • “It would be great to have access to online material as well, and not just printed resources.”
  • “It would depend on what else was made available, how one could discover what was available and how it could be accessed. As noted above, I don’t live anywhere near Toronto so access could be a major problem.”
  • “Access to journal articles.”

The third question that required a comment was question 11: If you answered “Other” in Question 10, please give a description of your ideal alumni service from the John W. Graham Library. Of the 51 responses, five specifically mentioned online resource access.

  • “Access to journal storage sites.”
  • “Internet access; someone at the end of the telephone.”
  • “Access to online resources.”
  • “Being able to access materials at a distance—if that is indeed possible.”
  • “Access to online resources, such as journals and periodicals, and online books would be especially useful, esp. for alumni in areas far from Toronto.”

The final question that required a comment was Question 12: Any additional comments on expanding the alumni service are welcomed. Please provide feedback or suggestions. Of the 51 responses, four mentioned access to online resources, five mentioned service ideas, and nine mentioned their appreciation for the library’s consideration. Of these 18 comments, the following are most telling:

  • “I feel strongly that education should be made accessible and I don’t agree with limiting access to people who would use the resources.”
  • “This is being completed by a wife/caregiver of a Trinity College Divinity grad who has Alzheimer’s/ dementia, but while he was serving in the church, it would have been great for him to know about [it] and [it] would have been used.”
  • “Creating awareness and making some donation that would help in expansion.”
  • “Grand idea. Would be a great kickstart for those us of who are wallowing in self-pity and ennui.”
  • “Digital (video) welcome to the services. Would love to put a face to those who would help find the information. A contact person with Trinity’s theology (e.g.: someone who is safe for women and lgbtq+ people), and who will offer suggestions from women, bipoc, and lgbtq+ authors and not just old dead white guys.”
  • “I appreciate that you are even considering this idea, whether or not I am able to take advantage of it.”


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1     See and for details on how the Memorandum of Understanding works at the University of Toronto, Canada.

2     Also known as Trinity Divinity; the terms will be interchanged.

3     The Atlantic School of Theology (Halifax, NS), Huron University College (London, ON), Saskatoon Theological Union (Saskatoon, SK), and the Vancouver School of Theology (Vancouver, BC); the John M. Kelly Library at University of St. Michael’s College (Toronto, ON) was included due to the very close proximity to the Graham Library in structure and service provision. The Graham InfoExpress service is modelled heavily on the same service as provided at the Kelly Library. Each of these schools has its own resident library.

4     Huron has no online courses available for theology students but has older adult students whom it tries to accommodate based on needs.

5     Canada Post’s Library Shipping Tool, Canada Post regular service, courier; STU sends prepaid postage envelopes with their books, St. Mike’s uses couriers for international shipping (three books maximum), VST ships on a case-by-case basis.

6     University identifier—e.g., at the University of Toronto, a UTORid—is required by all current students, faculty, and staff for access to affiliated university library databases; AST provides a login for OpenAthens.

7     Basic Degree—an introductory degree in theological studies (MDiv, MTS, etc.).

8     Advanced Degree—a secondary academic degree in theological studies (ThM, MA, PhD).

9     See Appendix A for survey and numerical results.

10   See Appendices A and B for results.