Unfortunately one of the first things to be cut in a seminary at the time of a money squeeze or financial crisis is the budget item called ‘Books’ or ‘Library’. The cost of the books and journals is steep but the shipping prices usually put the prospect well out of the park.
It concerns me when I visit seminaries in needy parts of the world to see how small the libraries often are, how much literary junk they contain, how many of the books appear to be the cast-offs from the personal libraries of former teachers and how few the number of books that exist in the first languages of the students.
A recent visit to a country and College put this issue squarely in my focus. Normally one of the advantages of attending a seminary rather than studying by distance is the chance to learn surrounded by scores of books and magazines, to be able to surf via the Internet the libraries of the world and to learn to do research by yourself.
So when money is tight seminaries get along as well as they can and it is amazing how much many do with so few resources.
What more is being done to address this problem?
What could be done to overcome borders of finance, language and copyright?
Dr Geoff Pound
Image: Photo of the library in a College where I visited this year.