A library of World Christianity. Promoting study and exploration of the great diversity of global Christianity in the 21st century, and its history. For ministry, mission, academic, and personal engagement.
The Cambridge Centre for Christianity Worldwide is a study, research and teaching Centre, serving primarily the communities of Cambridge University and the Cambridge Theological Federation (CTF), visiting scholars and researchers. Its growing library is one of the most significant collections of World Christianity print materials in the UK, and there are plans to extend the collection with electronic materials.
Please note: the library will be closed from 1pm on Friday 15 December 2023 and reopen on Tuesday 2 January 2024 at 9am. May you know the joy of the Lord this Christmas! We look forward to seeing you in the New Year!
Ruth MacLean, Librarian
Our normal opening hours are:
Mondays to Thursdays 9am-1pm; 1:30pm-4pm (closed for lunch)
Friday mornings 9am-1pm
The collection is open to the public and overseen by the Librarian, Ruth MacLean, who normally works Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday mornings. She is happy to advise if you have any questions about the library holdings relating to your research and study needs. Click on the flyer below for further information about opening hours, etc.
Library print materials
The World Christianity collection comprises approximately 10,000 books, 100+ journal runs, pamphlets and theses. Key strengths are global Christianity in the 21st century, including contemporary theologies and responses to contextual needs and issues such as local practices and beliefs, politics, socio-economic needs, war and conflict, and the environment. Also Church history and the history of mission in a diversity of world contexts. Also the history of the evangelical mission movement, the Anglican Church and other denominations and mission, mission society histories, the history of the ecumenical movement, and theologies of mission. The St Augustine Library mission studies collection is also housed here.
The library is complemented by corresponding archive collections of missionary personal papers. These are particularly strong for East Africa, including those of Joe Church and includes substantial copied material of archives elsewhere, minor publications, sound recordings for oral history and photographs. More information about the archive is available in a separate section of this website.
A further ten libraries in the Cambridge Theological Federation complement the collection. An overview of each library’s holdings and special collections can be seen by downloading the CTF Libraries Guide.
Using the Collection
Our holdings are searchable on the iDiscover catalogue of Cambridge University Libraries. Use keywords from title and author or key subject areas and refine your search by selecting from the drop-down menu on the search box on the main iDiscover page, or on the right hand side of the results display.
View our full journals listing here to see all our journal holdings, many of which are published in non-western countries. We currently receive journal issues for over thirty titles, and have holdings of more than a hundred further titles.
Our Classification Guide will help you to identify classmarks for books on our shelves that may be relevant to your research. Our Subject Headings Guide will enable you to search for material by subject on iDiscover.
Loans may be renewed online through your library account on iDiscover or by emailing the Librarian, using the buttons below.
The library is actively expanding in all its speciality areas. Book recommendations are welcome and will be reviewed by the Librarian.
The library is open to all members of the public during our regular opening hours. The library is a welcoming place to browse and read, and there are study carrels for those who wish to work in the library. Members of Cambridge University and the Cambridge Theological Federation are permitted to borrow up to ten books after a simple registration process. Registration is free. Bring along your University Library card.
External researchers and members of the public may also now join the library for free. An ID is required for external registration. Bring along a University Library card, if you have one. If not, the registration will take a bit longer and you will be given a CCCW library card for CCCW use only.
With regard to registration and data protection compliance, do take a look at our Data Protection Policies page.
For a further fee, the CCCW provides a research base in Cambridge, out-of-hours access to the library, and a connection to the Cambridge Theological Federation for external researchers from other institutions.
About the Librarian
Ruth MacLean was born to missionary parents who devoted their lives to serving the people of Turkey. She gained a BA(Ed) (Hons) degree from Durham University (1995) and a PGCert ILS (Information and Library Studies) from Aberystwyth University (2021). Her library career has centred around academic libraries, from medical education, to archaeology and anthropology, to social and political sciences, before fulfilling her dream to work with theological materials in the CCCW library in 2014.
She is married to Donald John MacLean, an elder in the Cambridge Presbyterian Church (Evangelical Presbyterian Church of England and Wales), a trustee of the Banner of Truth and Tyndale House, adjunct professor of Westminster Presbyterian Theological Seminary (Newcastle), and editor of the Foundations journal (Affinity). They have two children, Hannah and Jonathan. She loves theology, hill walking, and the Scottish highlands and islands.
She recently completed a chapter on CCCW’s history for the BETH Festscrift:
MacLean, Ruth. “World Mission to World Christianity: The Changing Identity of a Mission Library through a Century of Historical Change in Church and Society”. Chapter 3, pages 78-104 in Theological Libraries and Library Associations in Europe: A Festschrift on the Occasion of the 50th Anniversary of BETH Edited by Leo Kenis, Penelope R. Hall, and Marek Rostkowski. Leiden: Brill, 2022. Open Access.
Please note that during August the Library will be open from 9.00am – 1.00pm only. In September, our regular operating…