Friday, June 25, 2010

National Cathedral on the Economic Rocks

A few years back Union Theological Seminary in New York City nearly went under.  Through the leadership of Joe Hough, it saved itself, but at a great cost.  For one thing, it had to rework its library operations at its Burke Theological Library completely.  "Union's Turnaround 1999-2008," Union News (Summer 2008--Special Issue): 6 (, describes that arrangement this way: "A cooperative library management agreement...transferred ownership of the Burke Collections to Columbia University.  Columbia assumed all costs of operating Burke Library, except for one half the acquisitions budget and the maintenance of the building--with the understanding that the collections in Burke Library remain in the building except when moves are necessary for preservation or to enlarge capacity for new acquisitions.  This agreement has removed more than a million dollars of operating costs from Union's annual operating budget."

A few years back the LCMS International Center ceased operation of its library and its wonderful, targeted collection was dispersed, for the most part, to Concordia Seminary, Concordia Historical Institute, and Concordia Theological Seminary.  

Now the National Cathedral is in trouble and how is it thinking of making ends meet?  Sell the books! 

"The cathedral's rare book library...can no longer be considered a 'core function' in the current economic climate,' said Kathleen Cox, the cathedral's chief operating officer. 'In tough times, you start having to pull away so you can make sure that worship continues,' she said. 'So once that happens, you have to make sure that you are doing the best by those assets.'"

You can find the complete article here:

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