LETTER:Theological library finds a welcome home at Lambeth Palace

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The Independent Online
From Mr Richard Palmer

Sir: Marianne Macdonald's report on Sion College ("Library break-up provokes ungodly row", 9 June) reflects concerns which we at Lambeth Palace Library fully share. Sion College Library houses historic collections of the first importance. They must be saved for current research needs and for posterity.

The Court and Fellows of Sion College have reluctantly concluded that the Library cannot continue in its present form, and that its buildings and site must be sold. The urgent task now is to secure the best alternative future for the collections.

Lambeth Palace Library is therefore working with the College to save Sion's historic collections (including archives, manuscripts, and all books earlier than 1850), by transferring them to Lambeth where they will be freely available for study. The scheme also envisages the continuation, elsewhere in London, of a lending library for modern theology and biblical studies.

Founded in 1610 and 1630, Lambeth and Sion are sister libraries, with similar overlapping collections. Their combined strengths would produce the finest library that the Church of England has ever possessed, and an unparalled heritage resource for the nation.

The task of turning this vision into reality is immense and a successful outcome will depend on public support on a large scale. In the meantime, there is no time to be lost in rows, whether godly or ungodly.

Yours faithfully,


Librarian and Archivist

Lambeth Palace Library

London, SE1

12 June