The library is one of three especially holy places in any monastery. In the church we meet Christ in the Eucharist and in the Word and our souls are nourished. In the dining room we meet Christ in our guests and in each other and our bodies are nourished. In the library we meet God in the written word, in tapes and videos and our minds and spirits are nourished. More than 8,000 books are catalogued.
The monastery library began in the winter of 1974 with a living room bookshelf where members of the community shared their books. When Trinity was completed the library was moved there, where it expanded to fill three rooms. In the current location, next to the museum, the library has more than quadrupled its space.
The mission of the library is to provide books, other materials and service first of all to: monastic members, the satellite community, and oblates, then to retreatants, guests, RVers and the San Pedro Valley Center for the Arts, as well as to diocesan and parish staffs, U of A religious studies and chaplain's programs, local Cochise College and high school students, and supporting service to the local area in cooperation with Cochise County, Benson and Tombstone libraries.
Nearly 90 percent of our books have been donated. Books have been purchased from various used book sales, a college library that was disposing of duplicates, a wonderful used bookseller in Minnesota and various distributors of new books. Works on monasticism and scripture have highest priority when we purchase. Other sections that are quite strong are prayer, spiritual life, mysticism, lives of the saints, and world religions. Philosophy, psychology, history and allied topics, sociology, art and literature are all well represented.
The Southwest/Native American collection is a favorite. We also collect in the fields of gardening, nature and holistic health. There is an audio tape collection featuring scripture, religious education, charismatic renewal, prayer and monasticism. The vertical file features Benedictine topics and newsletters, other religious subjects, health, travel, and miscellaneous subjects. A new home is being sought for a phonograph record collection. Sale of the records will be used to buy wood for shelving. Duplicates and discards are shared with various church libraries, the charismatic renewal center, a catechist in Nigeria and others in need of various kinds of books.
Books are being cataloged on the computer. One of our permanent RVers who has volunteered faithfully and patiently at the library for a number of years, designed our cataloging program. Nearly 6400 volumes have been entered by a progression of dedicated volunteers who work under the capable direction of Sr. Jeanne Hill. There are probably 44,000 more volumes to be done. However, that remains to be seen as there are still books in boxes and there is no way to know just how many there are. There is a need for more shelving to enable us to get all of our books on shelves.
The library is open to the general public on a self service basis. A large collection of books on theology, scriptures, as well as research papers were donated by the estate of a bishop.
Volunteers to continue the cataloging, shelving, and general managing of the library are needed.