Library and Archives

The American Bible Society Library and Archives is a unique “collection of collections” dedicated to the history of printed Scripture throughout the world. The Library documents hundreds of years of translation and printing and continues as a depository for new Scripture publications from around the globe. At present, there are more than 2,400 languages represented in the collection, which includes numerous early printed Bibles and a small collection of manuscripts. Most extensive and unique, however, is the Library's collection of translations into the indigenous languages of the world.

Scripture Collection


The Scripture collection serves as an archival record of the Society’s publication history, as well as an inspiring witness to the remarkable phenomenon of Bible translation and distribution. ABS staff use the collection to chart trends in Bible publication, compare ABS publications with similar items produced by other Scripture publication agencies, study contemporary efforts in biblical illustration and cover design, and explore the way ABS has created customized publications to serve a wide array of churches and ministries.

Since 2010, the Museum of Biblical Art has been serving as the steward and curator of the library’s Rare Book Collection. Today the collection contains Scriptures printed in more than 2,000 languages spanning six centuries, including 15 manuscripts and 42 incunabula (early printed books). This collection is one of the largest and finest of its kind in the United States. Now known as the Rare Bible Collection @ MOBIA, it will be the focus of a series of exhibitions that explore the lasting role the Bible has played in Judeo-Christian art and culture. More information can be found on MOBIA's website, or by contacting Dr. Liana Lupas at llupas@americanbible.org.

Reference Collection


The Library maintains a collection of standard reference books, including dictionaries, Bible commentaries, concordances, atlases, almanacs, encyclopedias, denominational directories, statistical volumes, and literature concerning contemporary trends in Christianity and American religion. These are augmented by religious marketing studies, new works by religious scholars, comprehensive bibliographies, denominational histories, and standard texts concerning non-profit organizations.

Periodicals

The Library subscribes to 180 periodicals and journals. Standard informational sheets, denominational periodicals, scholarly journals in the area of biblical studies, and more general titles relating to publishing and current religious trends are available to ABS staff.