The collection contains 70,000 volumes of books of Catholic interest
Durham University has taken over the care of the Catholic National Library (CNL) after an agreement was reached between the the university and the trustees of the CNL.
Following the move, which was completed last month, the secretary of the CNL trustees, Antony Tyler, said that one of the main reason’s Durham University was chosen was because of its “existing commitment to the study of the important contribution made by Catholicism".
“This has clearly been shown by the decision to establish its Centre for Catholic Studies in 2007 and by its work with the important collections at Ushaw College," he added.
“We have also noted the university library’s recent acquisition of important complementary collections of other Christian denominations. These and the CNL collection will further enhance Durham University’s status as one of the leading universities in the world for the study of religion."
The CNL, which was founded in 1912, has 70,000 volumes of books and more than 150 runs of various periodicals covering religious history, biography, theology, spirituality and devotion.
The library was previously housed at St Michael’s Abbey, Farnborough, but closed in 2014 due to a shortage of volunteer staff.
As part of the agreement with Durham University, volumes in the collection which are duplicates of those already in the Durham University Library collection are being offered to Stonyhurst College and the new School of the Annunciation at Buckfast Abbey.
Professor Paul Murray, dean-director of the Centre for Catholic Studies, Durham University, said he was “delighted" that the Catholic National Library has been given a new permanent home at Durham University.
“The CNL collections will be a major asset for researchers working on Catholic theology, history, and culture within the University’s Centre for Catholic Studies. We welcome this further significant collaboration with the Catholic community in service of creating a unique space for the study of Catholicism and Catholic tradition," he said.
Professor Eamon Duffy, professor emeritus of the history of Christianity, Cambridge University, said: “The holdings of the Catholic National Library are genuinely unique, and of national importance. They reach well beyond academic theology and history, to include a rich collection of Catholic fiction, devotion, and popular theology, of a kind rarely found in other collections."