BETH are a European group of national organisations representing librarians working in theological college, seminary, Church and monastic libraries. Solo librarians or librarians working in small teams are characteristic of their membership, although there is also representation from University libraries. I attended their conference on the theme of Challenges facing ecclesiastical libraries in Cordoba, Spain on 30/9/23-4/10/23, to share a paper about partnership working between Church and University in New College Library.
What are the challenges for ecclesiastical libraries?
A number of recurring challenges were underlying themes for the conference.
- The decline in religious vocations and in church membership and attendance, which is also linked to a decline in available funding for church libraries, as funding must come from a diminishing church populace.
- The effects of war, military action and other political and social conflicts.
- Delivering professional management of historic collections under both of these circumstances with the particular needs and financial demands of historic and rare collections.
How can ecclesiastical libraries be successful in avoiding crisis and collapse? Continue reading