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AMBS Library Resource Access Policy

Responsibility for Selection

  • The AMBS Library Committee oversees the selection of library resources. It is composed of a representative from each of the three departments (Bible; History, Theology, and Ethics; and Church and Ministry), the academic dean, a student representative, and the two librarians. The committee determines overall policy for the library including how the materials budget is allocated among the three departments. 
  • Teaching faculty are responsible for selecting materials in their own areas of expertise and teaching. They send requests to the library by email (libraryorder@ambs.edu) or marking publisher catalogs. Adjunct faculty may recommend purchases to their departmental representative.
  • AMBS librarians pass recommendations to faculty and circulate publisher catalogs and announcements. They monitor e-resource offerings from library vendors to identify titles of value for the AMBS community. They also establish profiles for demand driven and evidence-based acquisitions plans. The library director represents AMBS in PALNI collaborative collection development discussions with the goal of building on existing strengths of the AMBS collection.

Managing the Materials Budget

  • The materials budget is divided according to a formula determined by the Library Committee. In 2015-16 the allocation was Bible 34%; History, Theology and Ethics 30%; Church and Ministry 22%; General 2%; Digital Resources 12%. Each department determines how the allocation will be spent for print books, e-books, media, and periodical subscriptions. Library staff manage the General allocation and Digital Resources (databases). Digitizing and open access initiatives are paid from the Online Projects line. 
  • Throughout the year, the librarians report expenditure totals to the Library Committee. In the final months of the fiscal year, the library staff adjusts ordering to assure that the budget is spent responsibly.

Library Procedures

Library acquisitions, preservation, and withdrawal procedures are guided by the Philosophy of Resource Access.


Books, Print and Online

  • AMBS purchases print books that directly support AMBS teaching, study, and research.
  • Titles in supporting disciplines (collection breadth) and narrowly-focused works on topics of interest are purchased if not already available in another PALNI library. This practice expands PALNI’s shared collections while avoiding unnecessary duplication.
  • Course readings for online and hybrid classes are purchased in e-book format (multiple user when possible) to benefit students and to provide online access to recommended texts.
  • Bible commentaries and other books of enduring significance are made available through the library catalog as e-books to strengthen the library’s online collections. Some e-books are purchased when specific usage criteria are met. 
  • Books are repaired or rebound to preserve them for continued use. Books too fragile for shelving in the circulating collection are moved to Special Collections or closed storage.
  • An AMBS print book that is held in other PALNI and Indiana partner libraries is withdrawn when lack of recent circulation indicates that access through interlibrary loan is sufficient for future AMBS use.  

Periodicals, Print and Online

  • The library supplies periodical articles through purchase of annual subscriptions, through full text databases, through document delivery from other libraries, and by individual article purchases. 
  • Print periodicals are maintained in collaboration with other PALNI libraries to assure availability for in-library use, scanning articles for requests, and preservation.
  • Print periodicals that are not indexed in online databases are normally acquired only for specific course-related use.
  • The library acquires selected Mennonite periodicals for the convenience of local users. The Mennonite Historical Library preserves all Anabaptist-related periodicals.
  • The library receives some print periodicals as gifts. The library does not seek out missing issues of gift periodicals.
  • The library does not maintain print journal subscriptions for the purpose of current awareness. The library supports faculty efforts to stay current in their disciplines by circulating journal tables of contents and promoting journal title alerts in the library’s databases.
  • New periodical subscriptions are recommended to the Library Committee by one of the academic departments. Recommendations include price, subject coverage, support for the curriculum and research, a comparison to other available publications, indexing and full text in library databases, and availability in other libraries. Purchase of individual articles at point of need is an alternative to annual subscriptions for titles with narrow appeal. 

Databases and Other E-Resources

The library provides access to electronic resources that support the AMBS curriculum.  The process for reviewing electronic resources has three steps. Librarians consider the results of all three steps in determining whether to purchase or subscribe to the product.

  • In a technical review, AMBS librarians assess compliance with access criteria.
    • Compatibility with existing access systems, such as remote access proxy, knowledge base/link resolver, and catalog/discovery system.(required)
    • Terms permit sharing with library partners and AMBS community at a level comparable to physical resources. (required)
    • Full accessibility for persons with disabilities. (required)
    • Desired user features, such as mobile web design, bookmarking, ease of download, notification of new content. (highly desired)
  • In a content review, librarians and faculty look in detail at titles and subject areas represented in the electronic resource.
    • Content matches course offerings or supporting disciplines.
    • Content does not significantly duplicate resources already available.
  • In a trial period, the library promotes the product to students and faculty and gathers feedback to assess value.

Where possibility of future usage is unclear, electronic books are selected through demand-driven or evidence-based acquisition plans.

Electronic resource usage is routinely assessed by librarians. Subscriptions may be cancelled following an analysis of cost, usage, and benefits that does not show clear value.

Gifts, Multiple Copies and Replacements.

  • Gifts to the library are evaluated with the same criteria as purchases. Gifts may be added to expand the collection in areas of interest when availability through partner libraries is limited. The library does not accept gift books with restrictions on their use. The librarian does not provide appraisals of gift collections. Appraisal costs are the responsibility of the donor.
  • The decision to purchase or retain multiple copies, to replace lost books, or to bind or replace worn volumes is made by the librarians based on the observed use of the book and the availability of the book in partner libraries. The professor responsible for that subject area may be consulted.