More than 8,000 books given in December by the Holy Trinity Monastery and Spiritual Center in Pikesville will soon be on the shelves of the Villa Julie College's library.
The books -- including Tales from the Decameron, Tolstoy's complete works and Diary of a Madman -- are classics in history, literature and the social sciences, and were given to the college by the monastery to make room for a larger area for retreat groups at the spiritual center.
The Rev. Thomas Cerulo of the monastery said the spiritual center's main conference room is in the monastery's library, and the center's directors wanted to remove three long rows of books to create more space for conferences.
"By moving those books, we now have enough room for about 100 or more people," Cerulo said. "We'll be able to provide larger retreats and conferences."
The monastery contacted the Villa Julie library in December to see whether the school was interested in the books. The library accepted the offer, and Villa Julie staff went to the monastery, boxed up the books and moved them to a dormitory at the college's Owings Mills campus.
"We're just thrilled with the quantity and quality of the books," said Maureen Beck, Villa Julie's director of library services, who said the books would be processed into the library's computer system one box at a time.
"We needed these books; they make a wonderful addition to our library" she said. "The monastery gave us the secular books, and they kept the religious ones."
Cerulo said the remainder of the books, mostly about philosophy and theology, would be given to a monastery in India.
Holy Trinity chose Villa Julie because of its continuing relationship with the college as a neighbor.
"We consider the college a good neighbor," Cerulo said. "We've helped them, and ... they've helped us."
The library was also able to purchase the wooden shelves the books were stored on at the monastery. When the processing of the books is complete, they will be placed in the college library on the same shelves that held them for 40 years at the monastery.