International Baptist Theological Seminary 'Library Expansion' on Target

The International Baptist Theological Seminary (IBTS) in Prague, which boasts one of the largest English-language theological libraries in mainland Europe, has announced its library expansion programme is on target.

The library, begun in 1949, is an "Extraordinary Member" of the European Theological Libraries Association (Bibliotheques Europeennes De Theologie - BETH) and grows currently at the rate of over 1,200 books per year.

Highly regarded by theological scholars and researchers, the library started running out of shelving space for new books and the IBTS Board of Trustees commissioned the rector and the Academic Team to develop proposals to expand the shelving and create more readers corrals in general plans approved in the spring of 2006.

The rector appointed Linas Andronovas, special projects assistant to the rector and executive secretary of the Baptist Union of Lithuania, to develop the project and oversee the practical work.

This work has continued through the autumn and winter and on Friday 26 January 2007, Katharina Penner, head librarian, was able to commence re-shelving of books on to new shelves which ensures the expansion of the library for the next 15 years.

"We celebrated this event on Friday afternoon," commented Rector Keith G Jones "and with over 40 part time master and doctoral students due to arrive for intensive study on the 28th January we are delighted our colleague, Linas, has been able to complete this project ahead of time and under budget! It is a marvellous achievement!"

Linas Andronovas commented, "This scheme provides extra study spaces for our ever-increasing number of doctoral students and enables us to carry on growing the library towards 100,000 volumes."

Part of the funding for the new shelving comes from the Lawton Shelving Fund for IBTS, managed by the Cooperative Baptist Foundation in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. Rector Jones commented, "We are grateful for this financial resource and perhaps others who love our library and want to continue to see it grow will help us meet the costs of this major project."

The library hosts scholars from all over the world who come for sabbatical and study opportunities. In March IBTS hosts the second Conference of Theological Librarians organised jointly by the Consortium of European Baptist Theological Schools and IBTS focusing on the development of quality standards in theological library development and management.