LETTER:Theological library finds a welcome home at Lambeth Palace

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From The Rev Canon A. E. Harvey

Sir: It should not be inferred from your report on Sion College Library (9 June) that readers who at present have to struggle with the inadequacies of the library necessarily agree with the views of the librarian and oppose the policy being pursued by the Court of Governors. I have, myself, used and supported the library for over 30 years and greatly value the resources it offers, but I recognize that the arguments against seeking to preserve it in its present form are decisive.

The building itself is barely suited to housing an important library; neither the conservation of valuable books nor the needs of present-day readers can be adequately provided for, and these drawbacks have been compounded by the fact that the only partner that could be found to share the use and the expenses of the building has been a City luncheon club for whose members it would have been unreasonable to impose a ban on smoking! Most important of all, the sheer size of the collection has long outstripped the capacity of shelving, arrangement and cataloguing to provide a working library that is anything but daunting to all but the most persevering of students.

The proposal, therefore, to secure a better environment for the historic collection at Lambeth Palace and to find a new and permanent home for the modern books where they can be made available as an up-to-date and easily accessible theological library is warmly to be welcomed.

Yours faithfully,

ANTHONY HARVEY

Canon of Westminster

and Librarian

Westminster Abbey

London, SW1

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