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A monthly blog, written by Holy Trinity's Library team. Holy Trinity has hundreds of books on various Christian education subjects, such as Faith Formation, Bible Study, Biography, Prayer, and World Religions. All books are free for members and attenders to check out for two-three weeks.
Our 2017 Library Team leaders are Dorothy Kasik and Judy Evans.
Visit our online church library catalog!
Let’s say you’re a book, and let’s say that you’ve been sitting on a shelf in the BGLibrary—untouched—for quite a long time. You’re aging (twenty-five, thirty years from publication), and although you were once a best seller, no one has checked you out from the Library for at least five years.
Summer is about to begin. One day you hear a group of people from the Library Team talking about the semi-annual “weeding.” You sit there on your shelf, holding your breath and silently pleading, “Choose me! Choose me!” It’s been so long since you’ve been read that you’ve almost forgotten what it feels like. You’re tingling with anticipation: to have your pages turned, to feel a human finger trailing down a page, and---Oh!—if you’re lucky, to have your spine broken!
It is indeed your lucky day. You’re lifted from the shelf and your card is ripped out. For the first time ever, you rejoice you haven’t become a classic (those guys never get picked for the Weeds). But you! Yes!! You’re a Weed!
The very next Sunday you’re put on display in the Gathering Area. Wow. This place is huge, maybe ten times bigger than the Library. You’d almost forgotten how big the world is. Now you’re neatly perched directly below the sign telling folks that proceeds from your sale will buy books for the Isimani Children’s Library, and you couldn’t be prouder. People mill around. You hold your breath. A couple of your shelf-mates have already been plucked from the table, and you remind yourself that in your prime you sold better than they, so surely someone will want you. You get jostled a couple of times, someone stacks a book atop you, and you begin to prep yourself for rejection. (Horrors; you heard once that Weed rejects get thrown in a giant book repository in the mall parking lot. What if that happens to you and you end up slammed between a cheesy mystery and a romance novel? You’re better than that!)
Just as you’re ready to give up, the magic happens. A real live human being picks you up, thumbs through you—delicious sensation!—slams you shut, and tucks you under his arm…next to an Alexander McCall Smith! The guy has taste. Out of the corner of your title page, you watch him slip a ten in the donation jar and turn for home. You’ve hit the jackpot, you’re home free, livin’ in literary cream!
Now, Dear Reader, won’t you consider making some little book as happy as this little volume feels?
Summer’s here! Going on vacation? Take a good book along…or a few. Summer is a good time to read through an entire series. (Series are located on the sanctuary wall of our Library.) It’s also a good time to keep up with what Pastor Tim is reading. (His current book interests are listed on a poster in the Gathering Area.) And when you’ve finished a good read, the Library would love to hear your thoughts. (Post a review on the bulletin board or write an article for the Tidings.)
Our Library has been dubbed the “most used church library in the NESynod, no doubt due to our location. While most church libraries find themselves relegated to a back Sunday school room, we’re right out front where we can’t be missed. Through the week as I sort and file check-out cards I notice this: on Monday morning the cards bear the names of HT members; on Tuesday through Sunday the names switch mostly no non-church members. Folks from every group that meets at our facility—choruses, the bridge group, AA, etc.—check out the books as well. It pleases me. It means the Library is a ministry to the greater community. When the Library Team first started noticing this, we were worried that books and DVDs would get “lost,” spirited away never to be returned. After talking about it, the Team’s decision was that a certain amount of loss was part of the price it would be willing to pay in exchange for a book helping someone. Guess what—almost nothing disappears.
A few quick items:
Three great opportunities await us this month. The first two are from Pastor Tim. He challenges himself to read two important books a month, inviting the congregation to join him. This month’s are Barking to the Choir by Father Gregory Boyles and When to Jump by Mike Lewis.
Barking begins: “So I’m in my office at Homeboy Industries talking with Ramon, a gang member who works in our bakery….He’s late for work, sometimes missing it entirely, and his supervisor says he’s in need of an ‘attitude-ectomy.’ I’m running it down to him…schooling him. He waves me off and says, ‘Don’t sweat it, baldhead. You’re barking to the choir.’ Note to self: title of my next book.”
When to Jump is about a community dedicated to exploring the fundamental questions we all think about: when the job you have isn’t the life you want. When is the right time to go do what you really want to be doing?
Both books are on display in the Library. Check them out! Look for news of discussion groups in the near future.
Our third opportunity this month is film night’s Arranged. It’s the story of two New York teachers, one Muslim, one Orthodox Jew, who face arranged marriages. I’m particularly interested because I have a close friend, Ferdos,a former graduate student. Bejan, her husband, was forced upon her by the Iranian government as partial payment for her education. The government chose their jobs, chose where they could live, and regulated all their day-to-day activities. One by one, they planned their escape. Going through Saudia Arabia, first Ferdos, then Bejan, and finally Ferdos’s mother moved to Canada via Australia, where they now reside with their two small children.
Film night is March 15, 7:00 PM, with discussion following viewing. Bring a snack to share!
The theme for this month 's article is thanks. Thank you to all who kept the BGlibrary going during my two-plus month absence.
The first individual thank you goes to Barbara Galle who sorted, shelved, filed, and created Christmas displays for our "spinner." Other folks from the Team quietly filed check-out cards and shelved returns. Thanks to the whole Team.
Did you see our new bulletin board? Special thanks goes to Dave Mercer for that. I told Dave the space where I wanted it, and he insisted on installing something of quality and good looks. Did I know that the cheap cork boards I'd proposed wouldn't even have worked on that wall? Nope. In addition, he's improved the lighting for us, making book selection so much easier.
More thank you’s to Pam Shaw, Linda Edwards, and Judy Evans for giving the Library a planning meeting over morning coffee at the White Heron. A great deal of work goes on behind the scenes in order to keep things running: computer filing and record keeping, sorting "weeds," putting the collection on the HT website, and brainstorming. They do it all.
Finally, thank you to each of the invisible people who magically make it happen, unfailingly, week after week. This group of elves likes to maintain privacy, but I know they're around because I see the results of their work. They file cards, shelve returns, and tidy things up. Like elves everywhere, they were especially active during the holiday season. If you happen to catch one out on a Sunday morning, thank them for me.
This month's news is a trio of invitations. The BGLibrary belongs to you--YOU--which means that you're free to check out books and DVDs as often as you like with no limitation on the number of items you take or how long you keep them. It's recommended that most materials be returned within two weeks, but no one will be running you down if you keep things longer. No late fees, no extra charges, no membership fees, not even a fine for an occasional lost book. It's YOUR library. You own it.
So that brings us to the first invitation: If we don't have the book you're looking for, ask us to order it. Write it down, hand it to a Team member, or simply leave the request on the table in the library. There's still money in our 2017 account for honoring requests.
Second invitation: if there's a DVD you think we need, ask us to order it. Write it down...
Third (and this one's more complicated), after you read an interesting book or view a good DVD, write up a quick review that we can post. It doesn't have to be long or complicated, just a sentence or two telling what you enjoyed, what you learned, or why you found it helpful. Listen in on conversations around the Gathering Area on a Sunday morning and you'll hear people talking about what they're reading: "The best book I ever read." "So exciting that I literally couldn't put it down." "You should read it; I really think it relates to the problems we talked about last week." If you felt that way about a book, posting a quick recommendation will keep the conversation alive and spread it to a larger audience. Ditto for DVDs. (Movie Night suggestion?)
It's YOUR library.
Kurt and I just returned from a tour across Scandinavia with the Seacoast Community Chorus. We visited and sang at some of the most beautiful Lutheran cathedrals in the world—three each in Sweden and Denmark—then visited additional cathedrals in both Norway and Iceland. The oldest was several hundred years, the newest finished in the 1970s. Each had sanctuaries with soaring ceilings, elevated pulpits, ornate chancels and altars, breathtaking art work, and magnificent pipe organs. Each had capacious rooms for meetings and social gatherings. There were well-equipped institutional kitchens. There were covered transits, carefully manicured grounds, separate chapels, and rehearsal rooms. Some had attached gift stores and cafes.
None had a library. So as a church member, you could attend services, listen to a concert, attend synodical meetings, and order a piece of almond cake with coffee—but you couldn’t check out a book. Which means that Holy Trinity parishioners—and soon Isimanians—have something special!
Our BG Library is well used. Our Council has been more than generous in supplying library funds, and that means the Team has the ability to keep us all reading. You make a book or DVD suggestion, and the Team honors it with a quick Amazon order.
Isimani doesn’t have Amazon, so it’ll work a little differently. Books will come from a Christian book store in Dar es Salamm. Because you’ve been so generous in purchasing “weeds” over the past year, Sappi Lugalla and the book store are putting together a collection for a new library. Then next week Kurt and I and Pastor George travel to Tanzania, and picking up the collection is our first order of official business. The books are at the Lugalla’s home. Day one, we’ll load them onto our bus and drive them to Isimani.
Of course I came home from my European trip with lots of photos of beautiful cathedrals. They’re on my cell phone; ask me and I’ll gladly show them off. I’ll take photos in Isimani too but not of soaring ceilings or velvet wall hangings. I’m going to concentrate instead on kids checking out their first ever library books.
The BG Library held a very successful “Weeds” sale with over $200.00 raised for the library in Isimani. Thank you to everyone who either shopped or contributed! Pastor Msungu is excited about this new venture. A room in the church compound has been designated for the books, and a young man has volunteered to be their new librarian. What happens now is that Sappy Lugalla will coordinate with the Christian bookstore in Dar es Salaam to put together a suitable selection of books in English and Swahili for Isimani children. This is exciting!
You may be curious about what happens now to unsold books. The Library Team is in consultation with a second-hand book dealer whose profits benefit still more charities. Eventually, whatever doesn’t get sold will be placed in one of those book donation boxes you see in shopping mall parking lots, and those books are shipped via container ships…to Africa! A year ago, when I was asked to make an inventory of the University of Iringa Library, I found six boxes of similar shipments, simply waiting to be sorted and shelved. The take-away lesson: one way or another, you’re helping Tanzanian literacy!
Your Library Team completed a “weeding” of our general collection last month. As in our gardens at home, library weeding is a long and thoughtful process during which we literally get our hands dirty. We examine each book’s physical condition and then we check the library card in the back. If the book hasn’t been checked out for five years or more, it gets weeded. Exceptions are volumes in a still-active series, either when readers are still reading other volumes or authors are still producing sequels. Other exceptions are literature or Lutheran classics (we’d never weed out a Bonhoeffer title) or educational materials (someone might need that concordance one day). Weeding the flower bed gives space for blooms; weeding the library gives space for new books!
The next step is to make compost from the weeds. That’s exactly what your BGLIbrary Team will be doing June 4 and June 11. On those two Sundays, weeded books will be on display. You’ll have a chance to look through and rescue your favorites. A donation box will be available, and all money collected will be used to buy books to begin a library for our partners in Tanzania. You’ll be turning our compost into books for Isimani.
In Isimani, Pastor Msungu reports that the church council has found a secure location for the books and a librarian to manage them. In Dar es Salaam, a Christian bookstore we’ve contacted will put together a children’s collection that includes both English and Swahili. Sappi Lugalla is our liaison with the bookstore, and the Holy Trinity team travelling to Tanzania in August will take the books with them to Isimani.
Please support our Weeds to Reads sale generously. In Tanzania books are a rarity in rural places like Isimani. Few homes have books or reading materials of any kind. The result is that children learn reading skills in school but in danger of losing them when their homes or families can’t support them. Your donation will make it possible for kids to maintain what they’ve learned in school. Having a community library in a place like Ismiani reinforces the importance of literacy for everyone.
Springtime in New England! After a day of snow melt the crocus break through, and you can see a tinge of green around the trees. After months of cold, slush, and snow, New Englanders welcome the sun. We revel in growth and color and waking up in the mornings to birdsong. We throw off winter hibernation, we put away snow blowers and dig out lawnmowers, and we come out of our houses to chat in the yard with our neighbors. It’s great! It’s also the beginning of a lot of hard work: picking up what winter winds scatters—leaves, branches, the neighbor’s old newspapers—raking lawns, and weeding gardens.
Likewise, it’s springtime at the BGLibrary. A week ago, your Library Team did a significant springtime “weed.” Books that hadn’t been checked out for at least five years were culled from the collection. (These will be put on display between services and offered for sale sometime in the near future, and proceeds will be donated toward establishing a library for Isimani.)
Once our collection was weeded, everything was “replanted.” With increased shelf room, books are less crammed in, hopefully allowing for better pickings. Some individual sections were relocated and regrouped. A couple of specific changes include relocation of our entire fiction series collection to the wall against the sanctuary and moving the “Luther/Lutheranism” section to the lower portion of the long wall. Above the Luther section you’ll find a display of new acquisitions.
Like our gardens at home, it’s a work in progress. New shelf labeling and a map will be added in the near future so that library users are better able to find what they want. The DVD collection will be weeded (as with books, what we cull will be offered for sale), and spinners will be stocked with displays that follow current topics and seasons.
We invite you to explore the changes. Look around and reacquaint yourselves. If you don’t find what you want or need, let the Team know by filling out a book request. Come enjoy the garden!