Beth Cordoba

From ConfIDent

Palacio Episcopal, Córdoba, Andalucía, Spain

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All kinds of ecclesiastical institutions today are under pressure. Membership numbers are falling. Seminaries are facing fewer and fewer student numbers and are sometimes even forced to close, and monasteries are struggling with fewer and fewer vocations and are sometimes dissolved or merged with another monastery of the same order.

This has major consequences for the libraries attached to these institutions. In recent decades, dozens of ecclesiastical libraries scattered across Europe have closed down, the collections are either gathering dust, or have been sold, dispersed, and sometimes even ended up in the waste paper container.

At the upcoming BETH conference in Córdoba, however, we do not want to mourn what is lost, but want to reflect together on how we as librarians should act when the survival of a library is at risk.

What steps can be taken by librarians of ecclesiastical libraries to preserve their libraries and/or collections? What are examples of successfully dealing with the challenges faced by ecclesiastical libraries? What role can be played by other actors (libraries and library associations, church and academic institutions, local governments, etc.) in ensuring that valuable theological and religious collections in ecclesiastical libraries are preserved and disclosed for future generations?

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