17 April, 2024

With Closure Near, LCU Announces Plans for Library Collections

by | 1 March, 2024 | 2 comments

Officials with Lincoln Christian University have shared their plans for dissemination of the resources and collections in the Jessie C. Eury Library, now that the institution in Lincoln, Ill., is in the final few months of its existence. LCU announced in October that it will cease academic operations at the end of May. 

The on-campus library has long been a respected biblical and theological library in the Midwest, said Brian Lowery, special assistant to LCU’s president. The library’s staff have been diligently working with partners to ensure that all resources are properly preserved and appropriately dispersed for continued kingdom use.  

It’s been a major undertaking because the library’s collection includes more than 100,000 print books and journals, print artifacts from the school’s history, hundreds of chapel messages, several rare books, and a Stone-Campbell hymnal collection, said Leslie Starasta, director of library services.  

“Passing along the library collection simultaneously preserves our Restoration Movement heritage and provides resources to continue training kingdom leaders in new locations,” Starasta said. “It is one of many ways the Lincoln legacy will continue.” 

LCU officials have agreed to pass along Lincoln’s seminary, plus an endowment, to Ozark Christian College (in Joplin, Mo.), but OCC will not receive LCU’s entire library collection because it would result in too much duplication, Starasta said. 

Here are some of the ways the library’s kingdom legacy will live on:      

• The Enos E. Dowling Rare Book Collection, named after the former professor of church history and the founding dean of LCU’s seminary, will be relocated to Abilene Christian University’s Special Collections and Archives. The Dowling collection contains more than 1,000 rare volumes, with a special emphasis on Stone-Campbell Movement journals and books. It also includes Dr. Dowling’s private collection of rare Stone-Campbell Movement hymnals. The institution in Abilene, Texas, has assured Lincoln officials that all resources will be well-preserved and made available to scholars and researchers from around the world.   

• Archival materials specific to Lincoln Christian University—such as yearbooks, catalogs, and commencement programs—will be available at both Ozark Christian College and Abilene Christian University.  

• Theses and Doctor of Ministry projects written by Lincoln Christian Seminary graduates will be available at both Ozark Christian College and Johnson University (in Knoxville, Tenn.). These resources, often requested by libraries around the United States, will continue to be available to scholars. 

• The recorded sermons from 70 years of chapel services—along with other recorded messages from the LCU’s many conferences and seminars—have all been digitized and will be transferred to Ozark Christian College, where they will continue to be made available to all.  

• The print book collection will continue to prepare kingdom leaders for years to come at both Ozark Christian College and the Tavriski Christian Institute (TCI), located in Ukraine.  

JESSIE C. EURY

TCI was founded in 1997 with a vision to reach Muslims for Christ. It is the only state-licensed Bible college in Ukraine and is in the process of becoming its only state-licensed Christian university. After Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, the Russian army destroyed TCI’s library. LCU’s donation will be a great help to TCI as it rebuilds, while also aiding TCI in meeting Ukrainian requirements for becoming a state-licensed university. 

The soon-to-be-closed library at Lincoln Christian University was named for Jessie Catherine Eury (1906–88), a native of Lincoln who served the school as librarian from its founding in 1944 until her retirement in 1980. From an initial donation of 500 books, Eury built the library into one of the finest collections in the Restoration Movement. In May 1976, the institution’s trustees named the library in her honor. 

Updates concerning the work and legacy of Lincoln Christian University are available at LCU’s website

2 Comments

  1. Tamsen Murray

    So thankful for these updates, especially the news that Tavriski Christian Institute will benefit from the treasury that is the LCU library. There is much work to be done to get the library to Ukraine, of course, but I’m confident that God’s people will do what we can to make it happen.

  2. John Paul

    Sad to see past leadership had such an impact on the future of LCU, but shame on new leadership for admonishing a whole generation. I’m happy my Alma Mater is able to support those across the world.

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