National Cathedral Might Sell Rare Books Including A Book Donated by Emperor Haile Selassie

WASHINGTON (AP) — The National Cathedral, which has cut its budget and staff by more than half, may now sell off part of its rare books collection.

The collection includes books donated by Queen Elizabeth II and the Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie, as well as the first Bible written in modern language. Some date to the 1600s.

Cathedral officials say the potential sale is separate from its budget difficulties. But they acknowledge they no longer have the staff to care for the collection, which is probably worth millions of dollars.

Over the past two years, the Episcopal cathedral has cut its budget to $13 million from $27 million. Three rounds of layoffs cut the staff to 70 from 170.

The Washington Post reported that cathedral officials were in discussions with the Folger Shakespeare Library, which is also in Washington, about a potential sale or donation of the books.

The cathedral’s chief operating officer, Kathleen Cox, told The Post that a possible sale, and measures like eliminating financial support of a global poverty program, are efforts to focus on the cathedral’s core mission as a “church for the nation” and a tourist attraction.

Source: New york times

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