Library

Mission Statement

The Memphis Theological Seminary Library (MTS) supports the Seminary’s mission “to educate and sustain men and women for ordained and lay Christian ministry in the church and the world through shaping and inspiring lives devoted to scholarship, piety, and justice.”   More specifically, the MTS Library provides a variety of resources, services, and instruction for degree seeking students in theological and practical ministry.

The MTS Library is a place to collaborate, study, learn, and gain access to a wealth of information while connecting to the world of academia and scholarly materials at large.  The MTS Library is your research and learning center.

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Learn more about MTS’ Library services, instruction, and resources. 
Visit the MTS Library webpage
General Library Hours**

8:30 am to 8:00 pm – Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday
8:30 am to 6:00 pm – Wednesday
8:30 am to 3:00 pm – Friday
CLOSED – Saturday/Sunday

Summer Library Hours**

8:30 am to 5:00 pm – Monday through Thursday
8:30 am to 3:00 pm – Friday
CLOSED – Saturday/Sunday

Library Hours WHEN NO CLASSES ARE IN SESSION

8:30 am to 5:00 pm – Monday through Thursday
8:30 am to 3:00 pm – Friday
CLOSED – Saturday/Sunday

**Subject to change as needed.

Library Fines and Fees
  • $0.20 cents per day for regular circulating materials.
  • $1.00 per day for overnight reserve materials, DVDs, and audio and video tapes.
  • $2.00 per day for recalled materials.

Library fines typically do not accrue on weekends or holidays.  Unpaid fines are added to the student’s account or could result in transcripts being held until fees are paid.  Unreturned or lost materials will be invoiced for the price of the book plus a $20.00 replacement processing fee.

Photocopying and Printing

A photocopy machine is available for $0.10 cents per copy. Change for bills larger than $5.00 is available at the Business Office. Computer printing is available at $0.10 cents per page through PaperCuts, the MTS Library’s networked computer printers.  To use this service library clients must establish an individual printing account and pre-pay for printing at  the MTS Library public service desk prior to use.

Children must be attended by an adult when in the library. Children under 12 should NOT be left unattended in the library while parents are in class.

Borrowing Privileges

Two renewals are allowed if there is no recall, fees assessed, or hold requests on the borrowed items.

The Memphis Theological Library (MTS) is open to the public. Borrowing privileges are extended to Memphis Theological Seminary students, faculty and staff, alumni, and to students and faculty from other area colleges with mutual usage agreements.

Clergy and religious professionals and others may apply for special borrowing privileges. Privileges may be granted upon application, $25.00 annual fee, and approval from the Director of Library Service.

Memphis Theological Seminary Library does NOT extend borrowing privileges to students from schools without reciprocal usage agreements.  All users must present a valid MTS library card to check out materials.

  • Four (4) weeks – 20 items  [Registered MTS students, staff and alumni]  with two renewals]
  • Six (6) months – 25 items [MTS faculty]
  • Three (3) months – 20 items [DMin students]
  • Two (2) weeks  4 items [Non-MTS students, faculty, staff, e.g, general public, area clergy, and reciprocal borrowers]
  • One (1) week [Audio tapes, DVD and videos] – MTS Community ONLY

Memphis Theological Seminary DMin. projects and theses, microfilm, and microfiche are for in-house use and DO NOT circulate. Rare books and reference books DO NOT circulate. Materials from the Martin Luther King, Jr. Manuscript collection are for IN-HOUSE uses and DO NOT circulate and CANNOT be photocopied.

RESERVE MATERIALS must be requested at the circulation desk and circulate for periods of time designated by the instructor. Most items placed on reserve are available for in-house use ONLY.

Purpose
The Memphis Theological Seminary Library (MTS) supports the Seminary’s mission “to educate and sustain men and women for ordained and lay Christian ministry in the church and the world through shaping and inspiring lives devoted to scholarship, piety, and justice.”   More specifically, the MTS Library engages in the provision and skillful use of library resources, services, and instruction in theological and practical ministry.

The MTS Library is a place where individuals preparing for ministry collaborate, study, learn, and gain access to a wealth of information while connecting to the world of academia and scholarly materials at large.  The MTS Library is your research and learning center.

Collection Development
The Director of Library Services oversees all print, non-print, and electronic selection. The Director of Library Services holds faculty status and participates in faculty meetings, the Curriculum, and Technology Committee.  The Director of Library Services is in an unique position in the library staff to anticipate resource needs for upcoming courses and faculty research, and to solicit resource selections from faculty. The Director of Library Services will also monitor the amount of purchase selections from each faculty member, so that s/he can select more resources in areas where the faculty are selecting less. This way, the collection will target areas of teaching and research interest to faculty members who select resources, but will not cease to collect in areas where the library receives fewer recommendations. Materials selections by faculty members other than the Director of Library Services will always take precedence in budget allocation.

Purchase requests for the collection are welcomed.

Collection Specifications
Because Memphis Theological Seminary is a teaching institution that primarily supports professional theological degrees, the library’s collection attempts to provide a wide and substantial sampling of current scholarship across the theological curriculum. In addition, the library aims to provide classic texts in each discipline. No attempt is made to collect comprehensively in any one theological discipline. However, the library pursues a higher level of collection in its areas of special collection, which are Cumberland Presbyterian history, doctrine, and polity; materials related to C. S. Lewis and the Inklings; and materials related to the civil rights movement in Memphis and the Mississippi Delta. In addition, because Memphis Theological Seminary supports special programs in the areas of faith and health, theology and the arts, and theology and rhetoric, the library will collect more heavily in these areas.

Because Memphis Theological Seminary serves a student body that is diverse in ethnic background, denominational affiliation, theological perspective, and gender, the library’s collection should reflect this diversity as much as possible. Because past library materials selection and the publishing industry in general have neglected many diverse perspectives, the Library Director should be intentional about seeking out materials from perspectives that are underrepresented in the collection. This may include limited travel to bookstores of denominational publishing houses that do not distribute materials widely beyond their own circles.

Because the primary language spoken in Memphis Theological Seminary classrooms is English, the library will collect primarily English language resources. However, in recognition of the growing influence of Spanish in American culture, the library may collect some Spanish materials. Furthermore, in recognition of the importance of the Biblical languages, Hebrew and Greek, in theological studies the library may collect those materials to support the curriculum in Biblical studies.

Furthermore, in recognition that occasional works in other languages are necessary for faculty research and for diversity of perspectives, the library may collect some materials that are necessary for such purposes.
The library should also provide some materials in areas that are outside of the traditional theological curriculum. This includes materials from non-Christian religions, mythology, the social sciences, history, philosophy, rhetoric, and literature. These areas will represent a relatively small portion of the library’s acquisitions, and should represent a wide sampling of these areas. However, some seminary courses will necessitate more thorough collection in particular areas.

Because many of the faculty members at Memphis Theological Seminary are particularly interested in the intersection of Christianity and popular culture, the library will collect some items from popular culture. However, these acquisitions should be tied to particular curricular offerings or faculty research needs.

The reference collection often spans a wider range of academic disciplines and general studies. Generally, the collection should provide an expansive collection of current reference tools in each theological discipline and a wide collection of current reference sources such as general encyclopedias, dictionaries, almanacs, and atlases. It should additionally provide some discipline-specific reference tools in disciplines related to theological studies, such as philosophy, history, and the social sciences.

The periodicals collection should maintain a steady core of journals and magazines related theological studies and other areas of interest to the seminary. Any new journal or magazine added to the collection should have direct curricular significance, and must be indexed in a database to which the library subscribes through either the ATLA FirstSearch Consortium or the Tennessee Electronic Library. Generally, the periodicals will be indexed in either ATLA Religion Index (FirstSearch), Arts and Humanities Search (FirstSearch), or Philosophy and Religion Database (Tennessee Electronic Library). Periodicals subscriptions may be canceled only in consultation with the full faculty.

Online databases services such as FirstSearch and the Tennessee Electronic Library are contracted on an annual basis. However, the library will strive to maintain stability by changing its online subscriptions as little as possible. If the databases used in the selection of the periodicals subscriptions cease to be available through these services for a reasonable rate, the library may seek access to those indexes through other services.

The audio-visual collection will include primarily faculty-selected materials for use in the classroom and current documentaries relating to theological studies.
Additionally, the library will collect a limited number of feature films which have discernible theological themes. Whenever possible given a reasonable price, the library will obtain performance rights for these materials. An audio-visual item’s bibliographic record will, wherever possible, indicate if the library has purchased performance rights.

Preference in selection is for DVD rather than VHS formats, due to space constraints and an apparent trend toward obsolescence of the VHS format.

The Memphis Theological Seminary Library recognizes the emerging area of digital resources in higher education. The library subscribes to full text article services through FirstSearch and the Tennessee Electronic Library. Additionally, the library links to relevant digital collections and webliographies on the World Wide Web through its website. In the future, the library resolves to discover ways to host digital scholarship should it begin to emerge from the Memphis Theological Seminary community and from the special collections in the library. These ways may include partnering with other institutions.

Withdrawal of Library Materials
The Memphis Theological Seminary has limited space in which to store its materials. For this reason, it is important to withdraw items which do not represent current scholarship, the important past work of a theological discipline, an area of particular interest to Memphis Theological Seminary, or an underrepresented perspective in the collection. Items for withdrawal are chosen by members of the library staff. All withdrawals are subject to approval of the faculty, especially the faculty members in the academic disciplines most closely related to the work in question.
When a group of library items are selected for withdrawal, the Library Director will e-mail a list of the works to the rest of the faculty. The faculty will be given at least two weeks in which any faculty member can veto the withdrawal of any particular item. After that, the books will be offered for sale in the library or on the open market. All proceeds from this sale will be returned to the seminary. If the items do not sell in a reasonable amount of time they may be offered free of charge or recycled. Books of possibly higher value may be sold online or to book vendors.

Gift Materials 5.31.17

The MTS Library is always grateful to receive donations that enhance the collection.  However, in order to maintain shelf space, staff time, and resources in the selection of donated materials the following guidelines were established to ensure receipt of gifts/donations that support and complement the curriculum of Memphis Theological Seminary and to help develop the existing library collection.

NOTE:  If accepted, donations become the property of the MTS Library.  The MTS library reserves the right to dispose donations in whatever manner best serves the interest of the Seminary and the MTS Library. The MTS Library does not accept donations simply for the purpose of resale or other disposal.

Donations not accepted by the MTS Library include, but are not limited to:

  • Outdated material
  • Items in poor condition including donations with markings, highlights, or materials that has been underlined
  • Materials already in the collection
  • Paperback novels
  • Juvenile materials
  • Popular general interest magazines
  • Academic journals unless they fill a gap in the collection
  • Modern Bibles published after 1900 unless of unusual quality
  • Music scores
  • Foreign language materials
  • Non-print materials such as VHS, DVD, CDs, photographs, etc. unless of unusual quality or historical value
  • Vinyl records and cassette tapes
  • Materials in spiral or three-ring binders

The MTS Library does not appraise or estimate the market value of donations. The MTS library reserves the right to review donations to ensure suitability for the collection and retains the right to refuse any donations that does not meet the collection or MTS curriculum standards.    Donations should be delivered to the Seminary as the MTS library does not pick up donated items.

Donors should complete a Donation Receipt Form for any gifts/donations given to the MTS Library.  The Director of Library Services is responsible for sending thank you letters to individuals whose donations are accepted by the MTS Library.

Preferred Donation Days/Times:  Tuesdays and Wednesdays (10 am to 2 pm)

**Content under revision 7.14.17