Services for Visitors

Turpin Library is a private library owned and operated by Dallas Theological Seminary. However, we are open to the public. This page is a description of some basic services the library provides for visitors and registered courtesy-card users in the Dallas Fort Worth area, including DTS graduates with courtesy-cards. If you are not in the DFW area and wish to obtain books by mail, see this page instead. If you are looking for a list of electronic resources for graduates, you have reached the wrong page. See the Grad Electronic Resources page instead. See House Rules for additional information about rules. In the event of a conflict between House Rules and this page, House Rules take precedence.

Days and Hours of Operation

See the Library calendar for days and hours open. Many library services are available whenever the building is open, but some services are available only 40 hours/week, M-F.

Access and Reading Privileges

Dallas Seminary is a private institution. The library welcomes visitors from the general public who are seriously studying theology and related topics. Visitors must sign the visitor's logbook at the circulation desk every time they visit the library. Visitors are permitted access to library book stacks, periodical stacks, reference collection, and general reading areas. Visitors may apply for borrowing privileges (a courtesy-card). Visitors are permitted to read materials in the building without applying for borrowing privileges.

Reference Assistance

Reference personnel with theological and bibliographic expertise are available to provide limited help. Our priority is serving DTS faculty and students. But, as time permits, staff may recommend resources or teach visitors how to use those resources. This service is available 40 hours/week, M-F without advanced notice.

Access to Electronic Resources

The library catalog and scores of databases and other online resources are available on campus. Visitors and registered courtesy-card users are able to use many (not all) of these electronic resources on campus. Visitors and registered courtesy-card users are not legally permitted to use electronic resources off campus. Database licenses (contracts) limit remote access (off campus access) to current faculty, students and staff. Visitors and community users are explicitly prohibited by license. Those are the conditions set by the vendors.

Borrowing Privileges. Loans and Renewals

The library allows registered courtesy-card users in good standing to borrow materials. Some materials, however, such as reference books and periodicals, are non-circulating and never leave the building. Loans must be properly recorded against the borrower's account before materials can be removed from the building. Circulation staff process all borrowing transactions. All borrowed items must be returned to the circulation desk on or before the date due. Regular books and other sturdy items may be returned after hours in the overnight book drop near the main entrance. Borrowers with overdue materials are subject to fines, and long overdue materials will be declared lost and the borrower invoiced. See House Rules for loan periods, renewal rules, and other details.

Any adult who lives in the DFW area may apply for borrowing privileges (a courtesy-card). Approval is not automatic. You may secure borrowing privileges free through the TexShare program, which is explained below. Alternatively, you may pay an annual fee. The current fee for borrowing privileges is $50.00/year. This entitles the user to borrow up to five books at one time. The current loan period for books is 21 days, with one renewal. DTS grads and former students pay a discounted fee to obtain borrowing privileges.

The following categories of people are eligible for free borrowing privileges:

  • Retired DTS staff who live in the DFW area. (That's retired staff, not former staff.)
  • Currently active participants in the DTS volunteer program, as certified by Human Resources
  • Current faculty and students in TexShare institutions who present a valid TexShare card and independent personal photo identification such as a driver’s license

You must register in person. Provide a photo ID (such as a driver's license) and a working email address. Pay by cash or check; we do not accept cards.

Children under 18 are not permitted to register themselves or to use parental accounts.

Books by Mail

If you are not in the DFW area and wish to obtain books by mail, see this page instead.

Holds on Unavailable Items

Visitors, including courtesy-card users, may not place holds on items.

Course Reserve Collection

Visitors, including courtesy-card users, may not borrow course reserve materials.

Archives and Special Collections

These resources are available at the discretion of the Archivist. Details available on the archives page.

Media Center and Computer Lab Services

Visitors, including courtesy-card users, may not use the computer lab or media production facilities. They may use scanning and photocopy equipment.

TexShare and Interlibrary Loan

We honor TexShare cards from other institutions. We issue TexShare cards only to current DTS faculty, students and staff; we do not issue TexShare cards to visitors or courtesy-card users. We loan materials to other libraries via ILL. We borrow materials via ILL only for current DTS faculty, students and staff; we do not borrow via ILL for visitors or courtesy-card users.

Proctoring of Tests

Sometimes distance education/online/extension students of other institutions (not DTS) ask us to proctor a test. We do not proctor tests. We do not provide rooms for testing.


See special services pages or ask library staff.