Welcome to the SSUC Library page. Please visit the library in the main floor lounge of our building, browse the shelves, grab a cup of coffee and settle in for a read, or borrow a book and bring it back when you’re done. Would you like to browse the catalogue from home? See the Title catalogue here; the Author catalogue here; and the Reference books catalogue here. In the meantime, get introduced to a new book: read a preview of a featured book every two weeks, written by our librarians. Enjoy
Introducing the SSUC Library’s collection
“No doubt cabin fever is having its way with me,” Mark Athitakis allows, this in his account of his recent visit to a Goodwill outlet. Not to buy second-hand clothes, mind you, but simply to peruse its used-book shelves. “My local independent bookstore was shuttered, but my local Goodwill was open,” he explained, this in a story for The Washington Post, which the Edmonton Journal carried in its July 11 edition: “Shelf life: there’s no match to browsing in a bookstore”. Works by this Phoenix-based freelance writer, editor, author, and critic appear often in The Post.
“…as weeks of quarantine have dragged on, I’ve wanted a browsing experience,” he confesses. Even so, “A Goodwill isn’t my preferred browsing experience, but any shelf of books, besides my own, would be a balm,” he reasoned. Yes, it “felt chancy to do what I did, [but this was] one of the things I most missed doing during quarantine: go into a store, and browse bookshelves.” He believes that, “The COVID-19/Zoom era has made bookshelf snoops of all of us.”
Now it is that in his Goodwill he came upon “programming manuals, Mormon doctrine, math textbooks, dog-eared classics, stacks of Tom Clancy and Stephen King.” Which was just “fine” by him: as Athitakis has it, “Shuttered bookstores are a reminder of how much of our reading lives is a process of discovery. …Many of the books I love most and recommend most fervently were books I stumbled upon. …We find our favourite books in the same way we often find our closest friends—brought together by circumstances that are unexpected….”
Books found in unexpected circumstances, eh? Books stumbled upon, really? A process of discovery, no kidding? If all that can happen in bookshops, even Goodwill stores, it sure can, and does happen in libraries. Including ours. Maybe especially in ours. Certainly for seekers, the works to be found in the SSUC Library can be soul-satisfying: come on Thursday, between 10 and 1, and see for yourself.
The collection—of about 600 books, of ideas—explores religion, church, spirituality, theology, faith, doubt, values, beliefs, Jesus, God and gods, and all such things. These are writings to be pored over and pondered, weighed and wondered about. And valued.
The classics are present and accounted for, everything from The Confessions of St. Augustine to Martin Buber’s I and Thou. There are works written by such luminaries as Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Northrop Frye, Abraham Heschel, Albert Schweitzer, Paul Tillich, and Simone Weil. Others will acquaint you with such great church figures as John Wesley and Hildegard of Bingen. There are plays—The Trial of God by Elie Wiesel, and Lucas Hnath’s The Christians. Progressive Christianity pioneers like Jack Spong and Lloyd Geering penned still other of the volumes. Consider Karen Armstrong’s The Case for God, but also Richard Dawkins’ refutation in The God Delusion.
On the shelves you’ll come upon the Iona Abbey Worship Book, Bible atlases, an eco-foods guide, An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth, self-help books, including lots on loss and grieving by the likes of Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, even Nancy Steeves’ doctoral thesis. There’s fiction, too: challenge yourself and read Nikos Kazantzakis’ controversial The Last Temptation of Christ, and Putting Away Childish Things, the novel that, as one reviewer put it, “flows out of Marcus Borg’s life.” There are books about the Earth Charter, LGBTQ concerns, the Dead Sea Scrolls, fundamentalism, myths and mythology, bullying, preaching, sexism, the labyrinth, mid-life crises, evolution, Christmas, human rights and humanism, feminist theology, Buddha, Islam, justice, the parables, prayer, Christian ethics, Celtic wisdom, parenting, sin, eternal life, shamanism. Whoa, catch you breath.
Discover The Lost Gospel of Judas Iscariot; read how Jesus became Christian, and also God; see why No Man is an Island; explore The World of Anne Frank; join in The Battle for God, or play Hide and Seek with God, or go along with SSUC’s Clair Woodbury Looking for God; go In Search of Paul; learn how to love nature; spend The Last Week with Jesus; get acquainted with the Middle East; ask, Can We Trust the New Testament?; ask also The Great Questions of Life; meet The Pagan Christ; find faith, peace, the right words, your way home, and your religion. Why, You Can Teach Yourself Philosophy of Religion. And this litany of authors, titles, and topics, only scratches the surface!
Along with handfuls of DVDs and videos, all this is waiting to be browsed and borrowed; what’s not to be circulated are the slim number of reference works. The collection is housed in bookcases in SSUC’s Library & Lounge—it’s the inviting room off the foyer, on the right as you enter the church. Everything has been ordered and shelved, arranged by author, from A (Abbott, Deborah) to Z (Zuckerman, Andrew).
Book-borrowing has been made as easy as can be: you’ll find lists, both by author and title, in a binder atop the first of the bookcases; as well, these can be accessed on the Library’s webpage (ssucedmonton.com/library
), so you can pick and choose what you’ll want right from home. Simply sign out the books using the in-and-out form—it’s in the same binder; later on, please be sure to note on the form the date you return the items you’ll have borrowed, and place them in the basket atop the second bookcase. It’s pretty much grab and go!
So, please, get going!
Ellen & Ken Fredrick