- Jennifer Ulrich, Eastern Mennonite University
- Karl Stutzman, Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary
- Kevin Enns-Rempel, Fresno Pacific University
- Vic Froese, Canadian Mennonite University
Discussion of each school’s highlights
Round Robin Reports
Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary, Elkhart, IN, USA - AMBS Library said farewell to Information Services Librarian Brandon Board in May 2022. In August 2022, we hired Kajsa Herrstrom as Resource Access Librarian, and rearranged job duties somewhat. Kajsa is a recent AMBS graduate. AMBS continues to have increasing international connections in the campus and online student bodies. We are starting a new Korean distance program and a Spanish certificate program. Our library student staff are all international students. We are exploring collaboration with Mennonite Historical Library at Goshen College and Meserete Kristos Church & Seminary in Ethiopia on Amharic language Anabaptist collections. More on that (including participation possibilities for other Anabaptist/Mennonite libraries) may be forthcoming after this summer. Kajsa is working with retired AMBS library director Eileen Saner on the reorganization and collection management of our special collections room. We are also working to put some of late professor Alan Kreider’s work online (a pre-pandemic project that became a post-pandemic project).
Eastern Mennonite University, Harrisonburg, VA, USA - Several librarians have been on sabbatical in the past year. Our Special Collections Librarian and Archivist, Simone Horst (sabbatical Summer 2022), spent her sabbatical reviewing the European Collection of the Menno Simons Historical Library. Volumes were evaluated for binding features and marginalia. She used this information to connect the rare materials in the collection to courses offered by EMU.
Marci Frederick, Director of Libraries (sabbatical Summer 2023), is researching churches in the Brethren tradition and their communion practices. They have developed an unusual unleavened bread for communion (flour, butter, salt, milk/cream, and sometimes sugar). She is looking at how this came to be, who still uses this recipe, and what its making and use can reveal about women’s spirituality and church ritual practice in a non-sacramental tradition.
Eastern Mennonite Seminary has started a graduate certificate program in Faith-based peacebuilding.
Fresno Pacific University, Fresno, CA, USA - Our main focus in the Mennonite Library & Archives recently has been digitization of collections. Our initial focus was photograph collections, but has expanded to include university publications (student newspapers, student yearbooks, university magazines), audio recordings, and video recordings. Most of these resources have been uploaded to https://digitalfpu.fresno.edu, where they are available to the public.
Our cataloger, Vern Carter, retired in June 2023. We will not be replacing him in the immediate future due to university budget cuts, so cataloging tasks will be picked up by other librarians.
Canadian Mennonite University, Winnipeg, MB, Canada - Like many universities in North America, CMU is facing challenges on several fronts. We are working to bring enrollment up to pre-COVID levels. Declines have largely been the result of a lower number of international students, but even domestic students are in shorter supply. With tuition income declining, the university has encouraged early retirement for senior faculty, which some have chosen to take that step. It has also introduced a Social Work program, for which courses will be offered in the Fall of this year. Early signs of interest are encouraging, raising hopes that the program can eventually offset enrollment drops elsewhere, if not raise our overall enrollment to a higher level. For the library, of course, this new program means finding affordable ways to provide our students with resources we do not currently have.
Another new development is a donation by renowned Mennonite author Rudy Wiebe of a substantial part of his personal library. The donation includes first editions of all the books he’s written and all international language versions. Many of the historical works Wiebe consulted along the way are part of this collection. We anticipate that this addition to the library will be an important resource to our students and perhaps bring a few Canadian literature scholars to our campus.