The Bishop Rawlinson Library is named after the eminent theologian, and second Bishop of Derby, the Right Reverend Dr Alfred Edward John Rawlinson (1884-1960) whose collection of historical and theological texts formed the core of a library for Derby Cathedral.

This foundation collection has been substantially augmented, by gifts and by purchase, since Bishop Rawlinson’s death and his books now comprise about 20% of the Library’s holdings. Bishop Rawlinson’s own books can be identified by their inscriptions - typically in Latin – which document his theological studies in Oxford, as an undergraduate at Corpus Christi College, his training at Cuddesdon and ordination to a tutorship at Keble College, and as a lecturer in theology and a tutor and student at Christ Church, before becoming Archdeacon of Auckland and a canon of Durham Cathedral in 1929. His appointment as second bishop of the new See of Derby, which had been established in 1927, followed in 1936 and continued until Bishop Rawlinson’s retirement in 1959, a year before his death.

The Library holds copies of many of Bishop Rawlinson’s own publications, including his commentary on St Mark’s Gospel, published in 1925, and his Bampton Lectures of the following year.

The Bishop Rawlinson Library was established in St Michael’s House in the early 1960s, with funding provided by the trustees of the All Saints’ General Charities and moved in 2004 to the new Cathedral Centre.

The library has some 3000 volumes and its main holdings reflect Bishop Rawlinson’s own interests particularly in the fields of church history, patristics and New Testament studies, while ethics and spirituality are also well represented. A small reference collection (not available for loan) includes major works such as The Catholic Encyclopedia published in fifteen volumes in 1913-1914 and The Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics published in twelve volumes between 1908 and 1921.