Professor Colin Gibson’s interest in collecting hymn books and scholarly studies of this genre grew naturally out of his writing and publishing activities, sharpened by an awareness that, apart from a few private collections, there were no major national archives of the hundreds of different hymn books used in New Zealand churches or of the significant work of New Zealand writers and composers in this field.
In 1981, the Dunedin Public Library welcomed the opportunity to match its Reed Collection of Bibles with a gathering of work frequently based on biblical texts.
This was the birth of the Hymnology Collection, which continues to grow through regular purchases and donations.
Its special strength lies in its New Zealand material, but the collection also has international and complementary features related to hymn books and studies for the use of scholars and the general public.
Numbering more than 2,200 items, this collection of hymnals, carol books, reference works, periodicals and archival material is the largest gathering of hymnology resources held by any institution in New Zealand.