History of St Bede library

Librarian extraordinarius: St Bede the Venerable

Librarian extraordinarius: St Bede the Venerable

Our patron is St Bede, bibliothecarius extraordinarius.

As a boy James Leachman started the collection fifty years ago with his natural history books while he was a member of Lincolnshire Naturalists Trust. Later as a student in Durham he added volumes of biology, introduction to theology and spirituality.

As a seminarian in Oxford he added theological works, then took his books with him while a curate in Battersea and Eltham. They remained packed up in Lincoln while he was a monk of Nashdom Abbey.

At Ealing Abbey, while studying at Heythrop College more theology books were added – and liturgical volumes when he studied at Sant’ Anselmo in Roma.

1985-89: At Ealing Abbey whilst studying at Heythrop College he added more theology books. Abbot Francis Rositter and Dom Dustan Watkins suggested establishing an adult education centre and four monks were sent to complete studies. Br James added liturgical volumes when he studied at Sant Anselmo, Roma.

1992: On return to Ealing in 1992 Abbot Laurence Soper established the Benedictine Study & Arts Centre along with a small library, based on this small collection, in James’ downstairs office. Under the care of Margaret Shea and Josette Willmott the first two librarians and several volunteer staff who labelled, supervised and catalogued the collection grew and was moved upstairs.

2011: With the establishment of the Institutum Liturgicum London the Liturgy library and BSAC library were combined to form St Bede Library, now occupying 5 rooms.

2015 – November and after: We continue work on our full library catalogue for on-line search capacity.

Much of the graduate liturgy collection is already available here.I have invited Sr Rebecca to return in July-August 2016 to continue her generous work. We are very grateful to her Prioress for granting this permission. Melody Mazuk continues to assist cataloguing.

I can let you into a secret that Fr Abbot this morning permitted me to reveal to you:
Fr Abbot has a dream project of a new monastic library. If brought into being, the new library will house the St Bede Library and the Monastery library.

Librarians of St Bede library

First Librarian – 1992-2000 – Margaret Shea
Second Librarian – 2000-2005 – Josette Willmott
Acting librarian from 2005 – James Leachman OSB

Sr Rebecca Abel OSB (Abbey of the Immaculate Conception, Ferdinand, IN) was librarian at the Pontifical North American College in Rome for 17 years, and now represents St Bede library on ABTAPL.

Volunteer Library staff

currently in 2016, Sarah Stark, Anne O’Brien,
Hamish?, Pamela Taor (till 2005), Eugene Duffy (till 2008), Anthony Philips (till 2015) & currently Sarah Stark, Anne O’Brien.

Volunteer Library assistants

currently in 2016, Terence Lopez (Monday afternoons)
William Mooney and Kevin (till Christmas 2015), both supervised by Ann-Marie Ryan.

Librarian sought:

We have been looking for a part-time volunteer assistant librarian.

We are seeking volunteer assistant librarians with IT skills able to manage the library’s good functioning and the good service offered to clients.

It is not necessary that the volunteer assistant librarians hold a Library Management qualification. We do, however, expect an ability to collaborate well with other volunteer associate staff and with library users

We are always open to offers of books, archives and periodicals, especially on Liturgy, but also on philosophy, theology, Latin, Greek, Syriac, evangelisation, monastic studies, spirituality, psychology, anthropology, sociology, interfaith, music and crafts.

entry for St Bede Library with Association of British Theological and Philosophical Libraries


© Ealing Abbey, updated JL 19 April 2016