Community of Christ

COVID-19  Ongoing Response

About the Library

About the Library

Library Services

The library and archives are open by appointment. The library and arches serve Community of Christ Staff, Graceland Seminary Students, MEADS Students, and scholarly researchers by appointment. To schedule an appointment, download the form and send it to the Librarian and Archivist.

The library collection includes approximately 20,000 books, 150 periodicals, 400 videos, 2,000 audiocassettes, a pamphlet collection, a departmental collection, a quarterly collection, a foreign language collection of scriptures, an unpublished collection, a vault collection, and a Herald House preservation collection.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.

Library Checkout

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.
  • Students, staff, and faculty may obtain a semester-use UMKC Courtesy Card for circulation privileges at several area colleges and seminaries. All materials checked out from other libraries are subject to circulation periods, restrictions, and fines according to the policies of the lending library.

Online Service

ProQuest Religion Database allows users to access to over 250 full text, international periodicals.  If you have any questions or would like a lesson, please call or come visit the library in person.

Genealogy Day

One day each month, we will offer entrance for individuals conducting genealogical research by appointment only. Contact the Librarian and Archivist for dates. 


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.