Best Practice Guidelines for Theological Libraries Serving Doctoral Programs
and Michael A. Ortiz
This is an important guide. It is well-structured and guided by a clear presentation of sixteen principles that are important for serving doctoral students. Based on my experiences as head librarian and research coordinator, as well as president of numerous associations and consultative bodies, I believe that the principles deserve an even stronger wording! I would especially like to stress two of the principles that are in the book:
Principle #1: A doctoral program that is designed without regard to what the library and library personnel can offer is doomed to failure.
Principle #4: Networking, networking, networking! When even Harvard is not able to buy all materials needed for their researchers, then a Majority World theological library will never make it without the help of colleagues at home and abroad.
Taking these principles into account will save a program a lot of money and frustration.
President, Bibliothèques Européennes de Théologie,
Head Librarian and Research Coordinator, Kampen University, Netherlands
As a person who has been involved in the Doctoral Initiative Steering Committee from the outset, I can confirm that Best Practice Guidelines for Theological Libraries Serving Doctoral Programs is a most unique and useful contribution to theological schools. This book considers various persons related to PhD programs, whether they are at the beginning of their journey or already established to a certain degree. We agree that a library is a key to the success of PhD programs, but equipping libraries requires significant time and effort, not to mention financial resources and staff expertise. This book projects and is prepared to deal with two seemingly asynchronous goals – good and affordable libraries for theological schools in the Majority World. This book is full of practical and adaptable examples and suggestions by specialist professionals, and it also provides step-by-step guidelines that any school can easily follow to create or upgrade its library in order to efficiently respond to the needs of its PhD program.
Vice Chairperson, Asia Theological Association
Professor of Church History and former President,
Torch Trinity Graduate University, Seoul, Korea
The challenges of providing quality, doctoral-level, theological education in the Majority World are well known. A doctorate is by definition a research degree. Research requires both professionally managed collections and professional research assistance. The costs of meeting these requirements in developing nations can seem prohibitive.
This timely and important work acknowledges the professional, economic, and administrative challenges facing theological educators in nations under pressure but chooses to focus on solutions rather than problems. This creative, insightful volume provides sophisticated, nuanced, and realistic guidance for administrators, librarians, and other advocates who are trying to address the information needs of graduate students and scholars in the Majority World. This volume, written by thoughtful and reflective professionals, provides indispensable direction for those who will educate the next generation of pastors, scholars, and theologians.
Thomas E. Phillips
Director, Digital Theological Library,
Open Access Digital Theological Library and Global Digital Theological Library
This comprehensive book on principles for theological libraries fills the need for guidelines in the evaluation, planning, and implementation of effective practices so theological libraries can better support good quality doctoral programs and their students, especially in the majority world. It points to the organic and fundamental interaction between library and curriculum in doctoral programs and emphasizes important administrative aspects that must not be overlooked so the library can serve the research needs of students and faculty. The case studies of libraries in Africa, Asia, and Europe illustrate the importance of the principles shared in the book. This is a must-read for librarians, administrators, and accreditation officers in theological schools of the Majority World.
Seminario Bíblico de Colombia, Medellín, Columbia
Theological research, especially at the doctoral level, is never self-sufficient. In any theological project, we enter into a conversation that began long before us by representatives of different epochs, traditions of faith, theological schools, and denominations. As doctoral students cross the library threshold, and before claiming to say something significant, they need to engage endless books, dissertations and articles, humbly listen to what others have said earlier, and with some guidance from supervisor and librarian, find their place at the academic discussion banquet. My heartfelt thanks to the authors of the book for reminding us of this so skillfully, multifacetedly, and generously.
Director, Eastern European Institute of Theology (in partnership with EAAA)
Consultant to the Board of the Euro-Asian Accrediting Association
Best Practice Guidelines for Theological Libraries Serving Doctoral Students is a key contribution for any school in the Majority World. Its significance lies in the premise on which the whole book stands – that the library plays an indispensable role in any program, but especially in doctoral programs. Best Practice Guidelines demystify the notion of the library’s task as “book storage” by creating a holistic vision of a library system that functions as the cornerstone of the doctoral program and the institution. What I find extremely intriguing in the book is that it portrays the library as part of the institution’s research culture, especially when having a doctoral program in place. The library, according to Best Practice Guidelines, is the main pillar on which the whole academic matrix rests safely.
Academic Dean and Head Librarian,
Arab Baptist Theological Seminary, Beirut, Lebanon
Member, Middle East and North Africa Association for Theological Education (MENATE)
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