"Take and read", St Augustine's Confessions, in the entrance to the Library
The Library and Archives building was opened on 12 September 2010 by Rowan Williams, then the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury and an ecumenical confrater of the monastery. The building was blessed on the same occasion by Bishop John Arnold, then an Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster.
The building is a further stage in a larger design for additions to the monastery by architect David Richmond. Earlier stages included our monastic and guest refectories and new guest facilities, completed in 2006. Still to be built is a new sacristy.
The Library houses over 100,000 books, and includes a number of specialist collections, mediæval manuscripts, early printed books, and works by recusant Catholics. The Archive has artefacts and documents dating back to the 17th century. The building houses not only Douai’s own archives but the archives of several monasteries and religious orders, such as the Dominicans and Passionists, who have decided to make use of our purpose-built archival facilities. These facilities allow us to keep books and archives in optimal conditions both for access and long-term preservation. We have begun the painstaking task of electronically cataloguing the library and archives thanks to donations from generous benefactors. Students and scholars will find it a congenial and functional space for work.
‡ The Catalogue of the Library of St Edmund's in Paris, as catalogued by Dom Benet Weldon (†1713), has been given an electronic form by Professor Frans Korsten, Dr. Jos Blom and Dr. Frans Blom of the University of Nijmegen, and made available online by Drs. Pauline Berens. It is now available for public access from the Douai Abbey website.