The one hundred thousand square foot A. Webb Roberts Library building contains more than six hundred thousand volumes and seating for more than six hundred students on the three floors with a number of semi-private study carrels.
The Reference Department staff in Roberts Library offer instruction and other assistance in the use of the library and its resources, including the library catalog and electronic databases. Each year they loan almost three thousand items to other libraries and receive an equal number for Southwestern students and faculty. Students may take both credit and non-credit courses in library research and academic writing.
The Serials Department currently subscribes to two thousand periodical titles supporting the seminary's curriculum along with a few general interest magazines and newspapers. Total periodical title holdings exceed 8,000, including many Baptist publications, both past and present. This includes Baptist state convention annuals, Baptist state newspapers, and the national SBC annuals. Kept here also are the library's extensive microform collections of primary source materials, including early British Baptist publications, older materials from Yale Divinity School's Day Mission collection, and microprint copies of extant books published in the United States through 1800. Copy cards for use in the four copy machines in the libraries (three in Roberts and one in Bowld) may be purchased from the VendaCoder machine in this department. Fees for overdue books are also paid in this department
More collections and services are found on the second level of the library.
The J. T. and Zelma Luther Archives has the original copies of all theses and dissertations completed for advanced degrees, photos depicting the history of the campus, and the papers of several former faculty members and others important in the history of Southwestern. In addition to the archives, the Special Collections include Rare Book Collection, historical artifacts, missionary artifacts, the Geoffrey and Beryl Breed Collection of British Baptist History, the William R. Estep Collection of Reformation History, and the Lonnie Quillen Collection of Missions in Afrcia. The room also has study space for researchers and a scanner/copier for researchers’ use.
The Audio-Visual Learning Center now provides a number of services, in addition to an extensive collection of sound and video recordings and the equipment necessary to hear or watch them. The space has been repurposed to support research-based writing. The Library Writing Center employs a number of mentors trained to help students become better writers. The John and Cynthia Thomas Computer Learning Center provides students with computers and software to facilitate research and writing at no charge other than modest cost for printing and sending/receiving faxes. The John and Vida Cooper Faculty-Doctoral Study Area includes 140 study carrels assigned to doctoral students and 22 study cubicles for faculty use. The restricted nature of the area provides privacy and security for those involved in in-depth research. The area is adjacent to the library’s large collection of Bible texts, commentaries, and other books devoted to the study of Scripture.
The third level of A. Webb Roberts Library contains 9 miles of shelving with future expansion space for more than a quarter of a million new volumes, including the pre-1982 Fleming Library Collection.