More Information
ISBN: 9781839736025
Imprint: Langham Global Library
Format: Paperback
Dimensions (mm): 229 x 152 x 5
Publication Date: 14/11/2021
Pages: 98
Series: ICETE Series
Language: English

Best Practice Guidelines for Theological Libraries Serving Doctoral Programs


Libraries and librarians are indispensable to student learning and the formation of researchers at the doctoral level. This book identifies five areas and sixteen principles that need to be considered by theological schools when optimizing library operations to serve doctoral programs. As an illustration of these principles, the book provides narratives from four theological libraries – in Nairobi, Hong Kong, Bangalore, and Amsterdam – that have successfully transitioned to serve doctoral programs. The contributors present tested best practice alongside their successful experiences pioneering libraries that serve doctoral programs in challenging situations. An invaluable training resource for Majority World librarians, this book also offers insight into quality guidelines for accreditation agencies supporting theological institutions in developing robust and flourishing programs.

Author Bios

Katharina Penner
(Edited By)

KATHARINA PENNER was born in Soviet Kyrgyzstan and lives in Vienna. She holds two master’s degrees and is working towards a PhD in theological education. She has worked as a faculty member and library director at theological school s in Russia, the Czech Republic, and Austria, and is currently serving as coordinator for library development at the Eurasian Accrediting Association.


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. It 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.

Thomas E. Phillips, PhD
Director, Digital Theological Library

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.

Jung-Sook Lee, PhD
Vice Chairperson, Asia Theological Association

Best Practice Guidelines 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. The library is the main pillar on which the whole academic matrix rests safely.

Walid Zailaa
Academic Dean and Head Librarian, Arab Baptist Theological Seminary, Beirut, Lebanon

Table of Contents

  1. Foreword
  2. Introduction
  3. Part I: Principles for Best Library Practice
    1. Area 1: Integration of Library in Planning a Doctoral Program
      1. Principle #1: The library prominently participates in the preparation of the doctoral program
      2. Principle #2: The library prioritizes the unique needs of doctoral students and assigns personnel for the doctoral program
    2. Area 2: Partnerships and Collaboration
      1. Principle #3: The library collaborates with faculty in research-related areas
      2. Principle #4: The library collaborates with other libraries locally and internationally
    3. Area 3: Collection Development and Management
      1. Principle #5: The library’s collection serves the curriculum, including the doctoral program
      2. Principle #6: Collection development and management are governed by policy
      3. Principle #7: The collection development policy emphasizes acquisition for the doctoral program
      4. Principle #8: The library provides access to print and electronic resources
      5. Principle #9: The library fosters accessibility and sharing through a recognized classification system and online catalogue
    4. Area 4: The Role(s) of Library Personnel
      1. Principle #10: The institution has sufficient qualified library staff
      2. Principle #11: Library staff consistently emphasize a “service culture” and continuously improve their user-orientation
      3. Principle #12: Library staff are continuously involved in life-long learning and professional development
    5. Area 5: Information Literacy in Doctoral Program(s)
      1. Principle #13: The library develops an Information Literacy policy and curriculum
      2. Principle #14: The library provides initial and ongoing orientation for doctoral students
      3. Principle #15: Librarians collaborate with faculty in Information Literacy interventions
      4. Principle #16: The library is part of the institution’s research culture
  4. Part II: Stories of Transitioning Toward Serving Doctoral Students
    1. 1. “A Joint Collaborative Task”: The Africa International University Library (Nairobi)
    2. 2. “To Stretch the Imagination”: The China Graduate School of Theology Library (Hong Kong)
    3. 3. “Excellence Is a Journey”: The South Asia Institute of Advanced Christian Studies Library (Bangalore)
    4. 4. “A Missionary in and of Itself”: The John Smyth Library of the International Baptist Theological Study Centre (Amsterdam)
    5. 5. What Do We See?: Some Reflections on the “Transition Stories”
  5. Appendixes
    1. Appendix 1: Profile of Doctoral Candidates in the Majority World
    2. Appendix 2: Library Networks
  6. For Further Reading
  7. Contributors


Melody Mazuk

MELODY MAZUK has served as a theological librarian for many years in a variety of Christian colleges and seminaries worldwide. She describes herself both as a global Christian and a global theological librarian.

Ephraim Mudave

Yesan Sellan

Joyce Wai-Lan Sun

JOYCE WAI-LAN SUN is an assistant professor and the librarian at China Graduate School of Theology in Hong Kong. She obtained her PhD in New Testament Studies from the University of Edinburgh, UK and is a trained lawyer. She regularly writes on Christian identity and Christian social ethics and has published a number of academic articles.

Pieter van Wingerden

David Baer

Steven S. H. Chang

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