St. Martin’s Library: A Fresh Start
January 2, 2020
As you all may be perfectly aware, there is an information explosion happening in our time! New knowledge is everywhere, and most of us are not keeping up with all the things we can learn. It so happens that the same is true regarding information about religion. The range and amount of books published about religion continues to be strong, even while social media increases. Eight of the top-selling books in 2019 were about religion. Authors and researchers from the last 60 years have substantially changed the ways we think about church history, liturgy and worship, ethics, Bible, and theology.
The last sixteen months have been a busy time for St. Martin’s library. We will celebrate the transformation and renewal of this space at our forum on Sunday, January 26th.
Hal Taussig, our new lead librarian will lead an Adult Forum exploring combinations of new and older parts of the library. There are 600 new books out of a total of 1,775! Over 400 outdated books have been culled and given away, while many jewels of older literature are now on new and demonstrable display.
This renewed library has also been re-categorized with 32 new signs which are being mounted thanks to the handiwork of John Basinksi, carpenter extraordinaire. Hal worked with the clergy to create a more diverse and understandable set of categories for the collection. The primary categories are: Study of Religion, Church and Church History, Ministry, Theology, Bible, Hebrew Bible, New Testament, Ethics, Liturgy and Worship, Prayer and Contemplation, and Episcopalian and Anglican Studies, with 19 additional sub-categories like World Religions, Church and Art, Women and Gender, Earth and Cosmic, and Arts and Spirituality. So there’s lots to explore!
Some examples of fascinating new or old things to read include:
St. Martin's Library - a selection of texts
St. Martin's newly restored library offers a variety of texts for your spiritual, theological, and social curiosity.
Our renewed library also has a much deeper set of hands-on biblical handbooks with a wide-range of studies for lay and scholarly people, including the fourteen-volume Hermeneia Commentary, the thirteen-volume Semeia Studies, the twelve-volume Interpreters Bible Commentary, the nine-volume, Anchor Bible Commentary, the eight-volume Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, the six-volume Anchor Bible Dictionary, the six-volume Berit Olam Studies in Hebrew Narrative and Poetry, the two-volume Searching the Scriptures Feminist Commentary, the Jerome Biblical Commentary, the Women’s Bible, the Women’s Bible Commentary, and the Queer Bible Commentary, as well as some 250 scholarly books on New Testament historical backgrounds, queer and feminist readings of the Bible, literary studies from the biblical periods, and exegetical studies for daily and weekly studies.
Similarly, there is a broad new category of books on Native American life and religion from the collection of Barbara and Jack Dundon. This collection probably ranks substantially higher than most libraries in the Philadelphia area. Not quite as broad are substantial new selections from the libraries of Helen White and Mary Hopkins.
Although this next version of the library dramatically improves our learning, the scope of the collection, and the organization of the books; the work from the last 16 months has also allowed a clearer assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of this new version and the previous one. The best areas of study in the renewed library (in order of strength) are basic biblical resources, New Testament, prayer and contemplation, and pre-2000 ministry studies. Areas that have potential to grow are the theologies of the past 20 years: queer and LGBTQ studies in spirituality, ethics, and scripture; Earth Ethics; African American studies; race relations; Episcopalian and Anglican studies; and the Hebrew Bible. If you have any interest in helping us to improve specifically these areas, please contact Hal Taussig. We are not accepting any other book donations at this time.
Everyone is encouraged to visit and use the library beginning January 26. A new electronic way of tracking all books makes taking books home and returning them much easier. Come dive in, your library awaits you.
Introducing Our Renewed Church LibrarySunday, January 26th, 2020, 9:15 AM
The Rev. Hal Taussig
Hal Taussig is a retired professor and United Methodist pastor. The most recent of his 14 published books is Re-Reading the Gospel of Mark Amidst Loss and Trauma. His mediography includes The New York Times, Time Magazine, The Daily Show, People Magazine, Newsweek Magazine, National Public Radio, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC, the Bob Edwards Show on Sirius Radio, The History Channel, and the Washington Post.
Tags: Adult Faith Formation