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Preview: The In Season Christian Librarian

The In Season Christian Librarian

To provide information about resources and news by and for Christian Librarians, primarily those in Christian academic institutions. Other areas of Christian librarianship will be addressed on occasion.

Updated: 2018-04-10T08:03:22.530-04:00


All Seasons End


In T.S. Eliot's poem , The Journey of the Magi he notes that the coming of Christ marked the end of an era in the world.  While this end is not at that level, I am formally closing the ISCTL blog for good. I will be retiring from MPOW this month. The link to the poem read by the poet is here.

I plan to start a new blog soon related to other issues, but have to do some thinking about it.  . As soon as I do I will announce it and try for a larger audience.
 If you are surprised at another post from me, I am aware that the ISTCL has been slowly fading, partly deliberately and partly because I wanted to explore other social media.

  I tried to keep to the original spirit of blogging:  short notes with links and published as often as the writer wished.  It was distressing to see the format evolve to lengthier, more formal writing.  While I enjoyed reading them, I neither had the inclination nor the time to compose such posts.  That will be changing.

The world of blogging has opened up indirect acquaintances with dozens of others who write about books, writing, crafts, culture, history, politics and much more.  For that I thank you each and every one.  This has been a good journey. The road is continuing.

Trailers for Christian Books


About two years ago, I posted about book trailers
 and thought it was time to revisit this topic.   Christian Book Videos popped up in my search.  Do you use trailers to help in your selection of any reading material?

Seasons of Preparation


As Christians always seem to be preparing for some event.  We just finished Advent and Christmas and and here comes Lent (unless you aren't in a Christian tradition which adheres to the church calendar and if you are in church choirs you know what preparation is even without the traditional liturgies.)
How do you prepare for Joy, i.e. Easter?

I have a book for you not about Lent so don't wonder about the connection.  It was written by a former colleague of mine at MPOW.  When the Pastor is Your Husband: The Joy and Pain of Ministry Wives.  In the Protestant traditions, we all experience the pastor's wife.  We may not understand her unique position just as we may not understand and appreciate wives of men in the armed forces, police or fire.  Although this book is designed for the pastor's wife, anyone interested in her role will find it useful. 



There is no season for voting but just as we are to be ready to give an answer about our Christian beliefs, we should be ready to vote.

Advice Please


I have recently begun to assist at my church's library once a month and I'm enjoying the change of pace from academic books.  As probably with most church libraries,  the vast majority of literature wanted is  Christian light fiction but not the Walker Percy kind. 

So how does an academic library fit here?
We own several biblioaphies, among them GenreFlecting from Libraries Unlimited which has a good section on Christian Fiction which I plan to share with those in charge.  However, it is not exhaustive by any means.  For instance, the Guidepost mystery series is a group found in some public libraries but really collected in church libraries.  Now I became addicted if that's the word for it to this series as a Christmas read while waiting on others to wake up.  I'm also wondering if current Christian fiction for Young Adults has any place in this particular library and if it would be read.  That's not something specifically addressed in this bibliography I don't know if teens really think of this library as a resource for them.
  Also, the bibliography is dated  (2006) and doesn't cover audio or ebooks in Christian Fiction.  I plan to see if there is a need for these and help pursue ways to access them as they might draw in more users. I may only be at the library once a month, but I'm already seeing connections to our academic holdings which I may be able to use for readers here as well as there.

Hurricanes and Tempests in Teapots


First, I hope everyone within Sandy's reach has prepared and stays safe.  (Somehow images of horror films where everyone should be safe but circumstances dictate otherwise come to mind. )

Next, last Friday a student worker stopped at my desk at MPOW and asked if I could help them at the circulation desk with a problem person who was demanding to see the manager, but said manager was involved in a very important meeting.

I agreed, as I am the Experienced One and should be able to move a Situation to a Satisfactory Conclusion.  Hurricane Sandy move aside.  The person was a non student user who had unfortunately been given wrong information and was insisting we could check out materials on a card from another library.  Now here's where it gets glitchy-- a little.  Yes this person could have the special permission to check out materials--but only if the form is filled out at the library where the card came from.  I was tempted to just fill out a form and send it over to that library.  However, I didn't.  Meanwhile the person is growing more irate as we were not acceding to an increased barrage of demands and finally we did have to call down the manager.  Our solution was to give away another borrowing card, but in the meantime it was discovered that the material desired was not at our library and there was an even greater error in communication.  The remains of this tempest was that the student left with nothing but a new card which was not desired and probably going to vent rage on the primary library for the misinformation.  We were left to pick up the debris of worried feelings and a little finger pointing but not much.  The Experienced One is still picking at things today.

Busman's Holiday


On the Sunday before Labor Day, I volunteered to help at the My Place of Worship (MPOW) church library.  I usually don't volunteer for activities I do every day, but when the call came for help, this duty was the easiest to fit into a "teach on demand" schedule.  Actually, I enjoyed spending the 90 minutes there and meeting some of the dedicated cadre of volunteers this church has developed.  How many people engage in activities related to their work on their own time?

What is it about some occupations that lend interest outside the workplace?  I'm not sure, but I did a search on religious aspects of work and finally decided the  Subject, "Quality of Work" was the closest to what I wanted.  Although I didn't find a reference work, America at Work, seemed to fit some of the issues we need to consider before we misplace our priorities. 

"According to sociologists, life is divided into three parts: work, worship and play.  Unfortunately, we worship our work, play at our worship, and work at our play."  This quote has been attributed to many people and I have not found the exact source yet.  Help would be appreciated.  

Do holidays like Labor Day encourage these off balance attitudes. Certainly these days should be times when we pause and reflect on the meaning of work and labor and probably also think about those who are still enslaved throughout the world.

One more year


One more year; one more September.  Is the glass half full or half empty.
We start every year looking at common core readings for Freshmen and for the Campus.  This year we are reading the Cellist of Sarajevo.  I tackled this last summer and could describe it as powerful and depressing at the same time.   What are you reading this year? 

Summer's End


Although the calendar doesn't state summer as being over and Labor Day isn't quite here, summer is over for those of us starting Fall semester of another year. We have been revamping our reference collection to reflect the changes to ebooks and database use.  And yet, summer is a welcome break with no meetings to attend or classes to prepare.  I've never been busier for a summer. 

I am restless for the whole new season to start and yet at the same time as a librarian I want be be more aware  that this year is not the same-old, same old but   a period of excitement of new students and faculty as Louis Schmier said
" I know when I am open, I am assured that I’ll never grow old; I may die of old age, but I’ll die young; and, my teaching will never get old. We have to open our inner tap and let that faith, belief, hope, and love flow vibrantly out from us. To succeed, we first have to believe in each student–in each student; we have to help each student–each student–believe. No teacher has the right to give up on any student. I’ll repeat that: no teacher has the right to give up on any student. Wasn’t it Buddha who said, “If we could see the miracle in single flower clearly, our whole life would change?” What if we saw such a miracle in a so-called “average student?” What if we saw an angel walking before each student, proclaiming, “Make way! Make way! Make way for someone created in the image of God?” A strong positive belief in a student will create more miracles than any “wonder” technology, publication, or grant. That understanding has to be lived, not merely spoken. St. Francis of Assisi was right, it’s no use preaching unless our walking is our preaching. After all, reputations are not built on what you say you should do or what you’re going to do. [Tip of the hat]

Academic librarians can experience that too.

And Now We Know


the real reason I'm not posting very often.

I'm in the middle of working with two online classes right now and they are sort of like wars--periods of inactivity followed by intense bursts of frenetic action --without the violence acquainted.  (Not sure where that idea originated and I'm not anxious to find out.) I'm in one of the intense bursts.

Cliches in the Clinch


So, I've been reading Proverbs, a bastion for cliches.  This doesn't mean cliches aren't true, just a little overused at times.  However, some verses in Proverbs could stand a little more use!  I'll let you decide which ones.  Ok.  Here's a picturesque one  from Proverbs 19 :7 " The poor are shunned by all their relatives--how much more do their friends avoide them! Though the poor pursue them with pleading, they are nowhere to be found."(NIV)
I use Google Alerts to find articles related to Christianity and had this pushed to my email. What do you think?  Are cliches timely shorthands or tired statements made by lazy people?  It's too hot to be too original.

Of Songs, anthems, and holidays


We're past D-day and not quite at Flag Day and this may be a good time to mention the National Anthem reference works given the recent flap about anthems.  Scarecrow Press just published the second edition  of the Encyclopedia of National Anthems
Since I am a lyric soprano, I love  showy score of the Star Spangled Banner, although I wouldn't sing it as a solo. You may not know that The Star Spangled Banner was not our national anthem until 1931.   AND apparently there are other versions for this song, including Igor Stravinsky and here, Duke Ellington, Jimi Hendrix, and St. Louis Symphony under Leonard Slatkin.  They are all legal if not traditional because the law doesn't specify. a specific score or text, according to the article.  And my favorite
 I was disappointed that the  encyclopedia's article did not touch upon the other songs mentioned for the national anthem, such as My Country 'Tis of Thee or  Hail Columbia  but that's another day.  The link to the Wikipedia article at  the date 1931 contains a better synopsis about the Anthem. 

Memorial Day 2012


"I've put flowers on the graves," my sister tells me.
 As usual I can't be home to assist in this ritual.
But I can wish you a happy memorial day to remember all who have died on the battlefields throughout our history.  I hope you find a grave to decorate in remembrance. 

Fuel for Thought


Did you hear me really thinking hard about this blog?  Well I have.  You must not be listening. (smile).

Earlier this week, an article appeared about women and prayer in Christianity Today. I do think sometimes we forget other people can't read our minds but God Can.  The article seems to stress more original  extemporaneous praying than reciting one of the beautiful prayers from the Church, which is also an acceptable way to pray.  It would be interesting to know if gender preferences occur here.  Fortunately, prayer has no season, although there may be points where you are impressed to stop praying for something because the answer is complete. 

If you need help formulating prayers, The Encyclopedia of Prayer and Praise, comp. and edited by Mark Water (Hendrickson 2004) is an excellent guide to prayers written by Saints throughout the years.  Not only prayers are entered, but  "extracts of classic Christian Teaching," stories about prayer and "effectual fervent prayers"  and  also quotations about prayer for those composing devotionals or talks.   What's interesting about this collection is the ratio of men to women with the majority of the prayer and thought by men.

The title is an allusion to a poem/prayer by Amy Carmichael

Milestones and Markers


MPOWcelebrated graduation a week ago, and I see others are currently having their celebrations this week.  May is a season of graduation.
Now, the normally bustling building hosts a few random users, remnants from the Spring and graduate students seeking to finish their research during quieter times around here. We start to contemplate our goals and next year's tasks.
In some ways it is business as usual. Students come, they graduate, life goes on. We have these milestones and markers graduation  and Mother's day to remind us life shouldn't be business as usual.  We need to pause and reflect.
Congratulations to all graduates, particularly our two circulation persons who have received their MSLS today.
 Happy Mother's Day to all who have "mothered' the next generations. We have the milestones and markers to show it.

A season of gratitude


I saw the post at Collecting my Thoughts about the song I often sang as I was growing up.  Sometimes it was part of a testimony service.  A graduate student just walked in and thanked me for all the assistance I had given her as she worked toward her degree.  That's a blessing I never weary of. She is going to various librarians and personally thanking them for their assistance.  So here's to all the teachers in the many schools I have attended.  Thank you.

I noticed an entry on "Gratitude" by Douglas J. Schuurman (pp. 342-343) in the new Dictionary of Scripture and Ethics, edited by Joel B. Green (Baker Book House, 2011).  It briefly outlines various philosophies about the concept but emphasizes that gratitude or thankfulness for the Christian is bound up in his acceptance of salvation which is a gift.  There is no tit for tat, so to speak when discussing this gift. Schuurman identifies obedience as the true response of a grateful person.

In her book, Traveling Mercies, Anne Lamott identifies the core of all our prayers to God: "Help me, help me, help me." and "Thank you, thank you, thank you."

Count your blessings, indeed.

Humor and Christian Spirituality


As noted in my last post, April is National Humor Month. I have heard statements about humor and Christianity for nearly all my adult life and the avowal that the Devil has no sense of humor. Maybe I'll look these up for sources, but for now, I'll point out a new reference work you might have, The Dictionary of Christian Spiritualty (Zondervan, 2011). Nestled between "Humility" and "Hannah Hurnard"is a short signed article on humor.  The next to last paragraph reminds us "Humor ought to be neither cheap, nor cruel, nor ignorant. Instead humor in the Christian life should signal spiritual health.  It is a sign of trust when we are able to see the mirth and delight in the world, and a sign of humility when we are able to laugh at ourselves.
Creaturly humor...has a long history in tye Christian tradition. Prophetic humor also has an important place. Prophetic humor slips behind our defenses to flash its blade of critique. This can serve several redemptive purposes: enabling a distressed group to speak truth to power, deflating self-righteousness and pomposity, and exposing follies."  Debra Rienstra. "Humor" pp. 515.

She also mentions many great Christian writiers such as C. S. Lewis, G. K. Chesterton, and Anne Lamott who have used humor in a literary context.




It's almost the middle of the month with Tax Day looming.  I've been trying to think of a post with enough meat in it of interest to my dedicated 5 followers. 

I was surprised that I didn't find much on biblical teaching about taxes.  Just a chapter, "Owning Up to Our Greatest Obligations: Death and Taxes," in StewardShip Services, by David Musser. (Abingdon Press, 2007).  This chapter is an application of Matthew 22:15-22 in which the Pharisees try to trap Jesus.  A seen which is very political and very adroitly handled.  However, I've been looking for more substance related to personal finance, especially as to obligations such as this and I guess I will have to keep searching.

Although this month contains National Library Week which we Acl-ers use to pray for our organization, its officers and members, April is full of other self-proclaimed topics such as Jazz.  In fact so many organizations have laid claim to the month, it's hard to decide which to emphasize.  Hence, my fear of this Friday is that I won't get much more done. (I settled on National Humor month especially in poetry books for one display.) At least my taxes are paid.



I follow several Christian bloggers of various denominations because they explore issues of interest to me....At this season, all our thoughts are moving toward Easter and one side mashup which only in a multicultural or pseudo multicultural society would occur.

As you can see, this is the second in a series of posts about fiction and the Christian faith. 

April First : Palm Sunday


My blog, Books to Borrowers pulls together the books we have on display for Easter.  If you haven't checked out this blog, it's purpose is to post the resources of  older holdings we place on display throughout the year.  It is a listing more than a bibliography of the resources, although we do attempt to update items when we get in the mood.

And that's no April Fool.  As one student said to me today: "It's hard to feel like pranks on Palm Sunday."  Not that that has stopped anyone around here.
I found two sites with pranks you may not have seen yet. has posted the 10 top viral pranks.   The final one about the spaghetti tree is wonderful!
TED provided a wild post from  the group at ImprovEverywhere

I'm looking for the one from BBC for this year and it's good to remember this is an international holiday

a quick check of our books revealed two resources.   American Folklore: An Encyclopedia which contains a small article about the cultural significance of the unofficial holiday and Tsunami: Story of an April Fools' Day Disaster  which could be considered a cautionary tale about pranking, although no prank was involved in this tragic April 1

Finally, one commonality I observed today is the lack of cards and other paraphernalia around both "days."
Solemn or impish, they are both less about commercialism than about social observances of events centuries in the past.

Thank You for Reminding Me


Tis the season for Peeps  hat tip
Additional "Peeps shows"
 and here

Since I don't find these critters very tasty (sandy cardboard), anything which justifies their existence is ok by me.

Cold enough for you?


I posted this about 5 years ago but it's so bad, I'll repeat it here.  Apologies around.
Said Celia "I'm somewhat bemused.
This weather's so awfully confused
Suppose Nature's not in her dotage
Just suffering Spring-Shortage,
And Winter is being reused!

This poem was originally written during the gas shortages in the 70's which dates it even more!

Spring is here


Seasons come and seasons go, but the season for becoming and being a Christian never ends. Two days out of the year the day/night is perfectly balanced.  I'm in the process of developing an Easter display and will have more to post later. For now, these thoughts will have to do.
Most people think of e.e.cummings giddy poem "in just"  when encountering spring again , but I also remember Hopkins "That Nature is Heraclitean Fire" a more philosophical and one which captures some of the darkness and light of spring more perfectly for me.  Heraclitus may seem obscure, but his darkness stands in sharp contrast to the Son of God who in changing everything also moved us in a new direction.
For you Downtown Abbey romantics, ponder this by Wilfred Owen or the first stanza of The Wasteland, by T.S. Eliot. 

Daylight Saving Time Thoughts 2012


A little over 4 years ago, this post on dst was published and I've updated it.

Spring Ahead
With Daylight Saving Time having come upon us, can Spring be too far behind? Of course these links only discuss time as chronos. I did a quick search on Google and found these links for you to share or meditate upon about Kairos

"A Brief Theology of Time: Resisting the Tyranny of Time" tells us "In contrast[to calendar time], the biblical treatment of time means that it should not be our master. For God has asserted His sovereignty over all time by initiating Creation and establishing patterns of years,weeks and days within the calendar. These ensure that, as made in God's image, we should rule time, rather than be subject to it." (11 para graph)
And In the Midst of Ordinary Time (kronos), extraordinary time(kairos) happens. This article mentions the song "Seasons of Love" which I have briefly posted before.

Through theology and philosophy, we discover the difference between kairos also the name of a scholarly journal [via]and chronos

The other aspect of time can be found in this inspirational video"The Dash"

Spring is near; Easter comes; time to measure your life.
And this year I would add one of the more shattering verses from the Bible--aside from John 3:16 & 17-- found in the Book of Revelations 10:6   Daylight Saving Time is puny in the scope of things to come.

Could not resist posting this


One of my favorite cartoon sites posted this today.   If you see it later go into the archives and look for March 8)