Connected Campus

Collection Development Policy




The Ora Byram Allison Memorial Library


Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary

(Revised July 2018)




  1. To provide the fundamental support required by both faculty and students for the curricular offerings.
  1. To provide the research needs for the faculty and for the doctoral programs.
  1. To provide a scale of priority in material selection:
    1. Curriculum support materials
    2. Faculty and doctoral programs research materials
    3. Technical material that will enrich the collection
    4. Secondary material which may be of interest for on of several reasons, such as:
      1. The author is an alumnus
      2. The work represents a different viewpoint
      3. The only treatment on a subject
  1. To add to the collection the most significant books in the fields of Biblical languages, Biblical studies, missions, church history and theology–both doctrinal and practical–published by leading American trade book publishing houses, denominational agencies, and university presses, and the major works in these areas published by the major European theological publishers and book dealers, including E. J. Brill, Peeters, Oxford University Press, T & T Clark, etc.
  1. To acquire out-of-print materials that are vital to the collection as they become available in reprints or electronic formats.
  1. To provide adequate resources that are readily available to faculty and students for curricular needs and for personal enrichment.
  1. To provide controlled access to rare and other archival materials for faculty and student research.




  1. The book selection process involves the faculty, doctoral students, the library staff, and the Director of Library Services.
  1. The Director of Library Services and the library staff, as well as the faculty, are involved in the collection development review process.
  1. The Director of Library Services has the responsibility for knowing the literature and evaluating new resources.
  1. In the selection of materials, the standard tools for acquisition, include journals, published notices, email and Internet and catalogs/ bibliographies, are consulted.
  1. When students recommend materials for purchase, the Director of Library Services must be responsible for purchase approval.




  1. SCOPE:
    1. In accord with the purpose of Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary, The Ora Byram Allison Memorial Library concentrates in the acquisition of materials in the field of religion and theology, including Biblical languages, Biblical studies, missions, church history, and theology. The Library also has supporting collections in education, history, philosophy, ethics, archaeology, and marriage and family life.
  1. Languages.
  1. Depth preferences shall be given to English, the Biblical languages, Latin, Germanic, and Romance Languages.
  1. Materials in ancient Near Eastern languages shall be collected on a level sufficient to meet the instructional and research needs of the faculty and students, particularly Ph.D. students and their seminars.
  1. Materials in modern Oriental land Slavic languages will not be collected.
  1. Geographical Areas.
  1. Emphasis will be placed upon those areas significant in the historical development of Judaism and all branches of Christianity.
  1. Material in areas of study only peripheral to the origin and development of Judaism and Christianity will not be collected.
  1. Chronological Periods.
  1. Emphasis will be placed on the period covered from the Old Testament beginning unto the present day.
  1. Materials related to the "pre-history" of man will be acquired only on a level sufficient to support the curricular requirements.


  1. Definition of levels
    1. Intensive: doctoral and post-doctoral research with a minimum of inter-library loan.
    2. Comprehensive: a wide range of published materials, but with little manuscript or archival materials.
    3. Research: the fundamental works of scholarship.
    4. Teaching: resources sufficient to satisfy curricular requirements but not in a large number of textbooks.
    5. Reference: the essential reference works that support teaching and research.
  1. Collection level profile (subject)
    1. Associates and Bachelor level courses
      1. Old Testament
      2. New Testament
      3. Church History
      4. Evangelism
      5. Missions
      6. Theology
      7. Practical Theology
      8. Christian Education
      9. General Education: History, Spanish, Latin, basic mathematics, music and literature
    2. Master Level Courses
      1. Old Testament and Hebrew
      2. New Testament and Greek
      3. Church History
      4. Evangelism
      5. Missions
      6. Theology
      7. Practical Theology
      8. Christian Education
      9. Church Music
    3. Doctor of Ministry Courses
      1. Colloquium and Required Proficiencies
      2. Pastoral Ministry Track
      3. Missiology Track
      4. Terminal Requirements for D Min Program
    4. Doctor of Philosophy Courses
      1. Required Proficiencies for Ph.D. Program
      2. Old Testament and Hebrew
      3. New Testament and Greek
      4. Church History
      5. Evangelism and Missions
      6. Theology
      7. Practical Theology
      8. Graduate-Level Requirements
      9. Counseling
      10. Terminal Requirements for Ph.D. Program
  1. Policies of Depth Coverage
  1. Cost of materials will be considered in the acquisition of materials. However, the cost, with few exceptions, will be secondary to the importance of material to the collection.
  2. Faculty may request up to three copies of a book if the following criteria are met: (1) the course for which the books are intended shall be taught at least once per academic year, (2) the books shall be used in the course for at least three academic years. More than three copies of a given title may be purchased if the need can be justified.
  3. The library appreciates and encourages gifts to its collection, but limitations of space and costs or processing sometimes restrict what can be received. The library maintains the right to decide whether any gift is to be added to the collection, placed on exchange, sold or discarded. The following criteria is used with respect to gift books: (1) Keep books which fit the profile library collection, (2) discard books which do not fit the profile library collection.
  4. The library accepts gifts of money for the purchase of books with the understanding that the selection of specific titles is the prerogative of the faculty or the Director of Library Services, who will consider the interests of the donor.
  1. The library will check the following items to evaluate book selection.
  1. Buy everything by certain authors, once such a determination of said authors has been established.
  2. Scholarly journals are used for book selection.
  3. A periodic check of the missing book lists (primarily from inventory lists)
  4. Check the faculty request.
  5. Review interlibrary loan requests.
  1. The following criteria are used to determine which materials will be weeded from the collection.
  1. Is it relevant to the current curriculum and projected curriculum?
  2. Is the material a classic in its field?
  3. Is it out of print?
  4. Is the material current?
  5. Are more current materials available?
  6. Physical condition of the material: does it need repair, rebinding, replacing, or discarding?
  7. How often has the material circulated?
  8. Are there unnecessary duplicates on the shelf?
  9. Does the faculty favor its removal?



  1. BOOKS
  1. Hardbound or eBook copy
    1. Select when book will receive long term usage.
    2. Select when book is only printed hardbound or in eBook copy.
    3. Select when professor indicated this as first preference.
  2. Softbound
    1. Select when price is considerably less than the hardbound copy.
    2. Select when book is only printed in softbound.
    3. Select when second copy is requested.
    4. Select when a book will only receive minimal usage
  3. Database
    1. Select pertinent databases for purchase with pertinent book titles.
    2. Select databases with entire collections, if the library does not possess such general collections otherwise.
  1. Journals
    1. Receive subscribed journals in printed form.
    2. Receive subscribed journals on-line.
    3. Receive gift subscriptions in print or on-line forms.
    4. Receive periodicals from ATLA’s ASE to complete volumes.
  2. Databases/On-Line
    1. Subscribe to any database which contains journals which cannot be purchased elsewhere.
    2. Subscribe to an on-line version of a journal if it reduces costs of a subscription, if it is the single source of availability, and if it contains retrospective issues.


    1. CDs
    2. DVDs
    3. Criteria for selection of audiovisual materials:
      1. Select CD and DVD materials requested by faculty.
      2. Select CD and DVD materials requested by students.
      3. Select materials for enrichment.


  1. On a periodic basis, the Director of Library Services shall assess the collection to identify materials to be withdrawn. Reasons for withdrawal include:
    1. Material that is discovered to be out of the scope of the library
    2. Duplicate copies of works that were used at one time but are no longer needed
    3. Material that is out of date and that has no continuing value for research.
    4. Material whose physical condition has deteriorated beyond repair. This material may be replaced depending upon its value for the collection and its availability.




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