The Crowther library holds some 29,000 books and journals, forming one of the most significant mission studies libraries in the UK.
The Crowther library is the successor to Partnership House Mission Studies Library which was founded in 1987 by bringing together the post-1945 collections of the former CMS and USPG libraries. Now taken over by CMS, and incorporating books from CMS's former training college at Crowther Hall, the library has a wide-ranging collection of about 29,000 books and takes about 250 current journals. It also has back copies of missionary journals, including complete runs of CMS periodicals and overseas diocesan reports.
Thanks to integration with the South American Mission Society (SAMS) in 2010, the Crowther Centre is now also home to the SAMS library, with some 1,200 volumes focusing on South America (see below).
The library's books and journals cover the work of the Church worldwide, particularly areas of CMS, USPG and SAMS involvement. This includes church history, biographies, social and economic concerns, history and theology of mission, prayer, spirituality and other religions. There is a wide-ranging reference collection.
All interested in the history and theology of Christian mission are welcome to use the library.
CMS Max Warren Collection
CMS's pre-1945 collection is called the Max Warren Collection in honour of the former CMS General Secretary. The collection includes much 19th and early 20th century material and is a rich resource of information on the founding and development of the modern missionary movement. All CMS's publications and occasional volumes of specific interest to CMS are added to it. The collection is for reference use only.
Material published before 1900 may be photocopied at the librarian's discretion.
South American collection
CMS and the South American Mission Society merged in 2010, so the Crowther library now includes a large number of 19th-century works including general descriptions of the countries, travellers' accounts and missionaries' diaries from the areas in which SAMS was active: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay.
There is a small collection of works in Amerindian languages, mostly translations of parts of the Bible or New Testament, and dictionaries in these languages, mainly compiled by missionaries.
Most of the works concern mission and mission activities, with some material on liberation theology, but subjects covered include anthropology and social welfare, and there are some contemporary background works on the countries.
Using the library
Members of the public are free to come and browse the collection and use the library and computers. Membership is £30 a year waged and £15 a year unwaged, for which you may borrow up to eight books for up to eight weeks at a time. You can also view the library catalogue online.
Monday to Friday 9.30am – 5pm
Closed: Saturday, Sunday and public holidays.
For more details email the Crowther library or call 01865 787552.