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
In an effort to ferret out funding to finance the education of students who’ve come from abroad to learn at our provincial university, our son Daniel travels overseas several times each year on behalf of U of A, and it’s the Middle East especially that has become his stomping ground. Which explains why he receives Saudi Arabian Oil Company’s slick bi-monthly magazine, AramcoWorld, purposed to “increase cross-cultural understanding by broadening knowledge of histories, cultures, and geography of the Arab and Muslim worlds.”
Occasionally, we get to peruse a copy, which is how we found—this in last year’s May/June edition—a single four-colour photograph spread across two full pages: it shows several youngsters, a man—his name is Ridwan Sururi—and his horse, which has strapped to its back a travel case that holds handfuls of books. The caption explains what’s taking place:
“In 2015, Ridwan Sururi of Serang Village, central Java, Indonesia, started the Kudapustaka (horse library), and since then, three days a week, he has visited villages and schools” in order to provide children in the hinterlands with books to read. The photographer adds, “I did this story because I was also born in a village with difficult access to books. I believe in the power of books, and I know what Mr. Sururi is doing is important.”
Now it is that libraries come in all shapes and sizes; some even come by horse! Consider the new Stanley Milner Library in downtown Edmonton, the one that looks from the street like a hulking grey Sherman tank, beached and bastion-like…and then, if you dare to compare, bring to mind Calgary’s new award-winning main library building, all bright, beautiful, beckoning.
Some libraries don’t even house books: did you know there’s one in Belgium that holds a collection of nearly 100 sourdough starters of different flavours from all over the world? Opened in 2013 in the Centre for Bread Flavour in the municipality of St. Vith, “It aims to preserve the biodiversity of, and histories behind the sourdoughs, which are,” according to Coffee News (“News to be enjoyed over coffee”), “fermented mixtures of flour and water that are added to dough to provide rise and flavour.” Who knew?
Certainly, not all libraries house something-for-everyone general-interest books. The Grolier Club in Manhattan is home to books about books; the Washington, D.C., Public Library has an entire archive about the punk scene; Swarthmore College hosts a collection dedicated to peace activism; and then there’s the “Human Sexuality Collection” at Cornell University, which documents sexual history, especially lesbian and gay history, and the history of pornography.
Your own church Library, too, has an exclusive emphasis, though its subject matter isn’t as titillating as may be the one on the campus in Ithaca, New York. Certainly for seekers, the works are of greater consequence, go deeper, and can be soul-satisfying: the collection—of about 600 books, of ideas—explores religion, church, spirituality, theology, faith, doubt, values, belief, 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