The lost art of Scripture and other books on beliefs

Popular author Karen Armstrong’s latest reflection on ways of reading world Scriptures combines with a mixed bag of topics such as angels, cults, a biography on St Patrick, and a new angle on Selfies.

When one religion isn’t enough : the lives of spiritually fluid people, by Duane Bidwell.
“Contrary to popular assumptions, many people regularly cross religious boundaries. Complicated legacies of colonialism may be part of their family story, and they may consider themselves both Christian and Hindu, or Buddhist, or Yoruban, or one of the many other religions native to colonized lands. Bidwell explores how people people can engage radically opposed truth claims, and what this growing population tells us about change within our communities.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Zealot : a book about cults, by Jo Thornely, Jo
Whatever the reason people join cults, once people are in, it’s usually very difficult for them to leave. Cults have ways of making their followers prove their loyalty, and in return they get a chance to feel secure within the cult’s embrace, with an added bonus of being utterly terrified of the outside world. From the tragic Jonestown to the Waco Branch Davidians, this book is a wide-sweeping look at cults around the world.” (Catalogue)

The lost art of Scripture : rescuing the sacred texts, by Karen Armstrong.
“Today we see the Quran being used by some to justify war and terrorism, the Torah to deny Palestinians the right to live in the Land of Israel, and the Bible to condemn homosexuality and contraception. For hundreds of years these texts were instead viewed as spiritual tools- scripture was a means for the individual to connect with the divine, and to experience a higher level of consciousness. Holy texts were seen as fluid and adaptable, rather than a set of binding archaic rules or a ‘truth’ that has to be ‘believed’. (Adapted from Catalogue)

Sacred misinterpretation : reaching across the Christian-Muslim divide, by Martin Accad.
“Theological issues are crucial to how Christians and Muslims understand and perceive each other. In Sacred Misinterpretation Martin Accad guides readers through key theological questions that fuel conflict and misunderstanding between Muslims and Christians. A sure-footed guide, he weaves personal stories together with deep discussion of theological beliefs. Accad identifies trends, recognizes historical realities, and brings to light significant points of contention that often lead to break-down in Christian-Muslim dialogue. He also outlines positive and creative trends that could lead to a more hopeful future. “(Catalogue)

Selfies : searching for the image of God in a digital age, Craig Detweiler.
“How can we seek God and care for each other in digital spaces? Craig Detweiler, a nationally known writer and speaker and an avid social media user, examines the selfie phenomenon, placing selfies within the long history of self-portraits in art, literature, and photography. He shows how self-portraits change our perspective of ourselves and each other in family dynamics, education, and discipleship. Challenging us to push past unhealthy obsessions with beauty, wealth, and fame, Detweiler helps us to develop a thoughtful, biblical perspective on selfies and social media and to put ourselves in proper relation to God and each other.” (Catalogue)

The House of Islam : a global history, by Ed Husain.
“Today, Islam is to many in the West an alien force, with Muslims held in suspicion. … The House of Islam thoughtfully explores the events and issues that have come from and contributed to the broadening gulf between Islam and the West, from the United States’ overthrow of Iran’s first democratically elected leader to the emergence of ISIS, from the declaration of a fatwa on Salman Rushdie to the attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo. Husain leads us clearly and carefully through the nuances of Islam and its people, taking us back to basics to contend that the Muslim world need not be a stranger to the West, nor our enemy, but our peaceable allies.” (Catalogue)

Angels : a visible and invisible history, by Peter Stanford.
“What exactly are angels, and why have so many in different times and contexts around the globe believed in them? This is a thought-provoking and entertaining twenty-first century look at what was once referred to as ‘angelology’, which searches out the origins of angels in religious thought, history, psychology and wider culture, and asks why, in an age of disbelief, they remain more compelling and comforting for many than God. (Catalogue)

Confronting Christianity : 12 hard questions for the world’s largest religion, by Rebecca McLaughlin, Rebecca
“This book explores 12 hard questions that seem to undermine the Christian faith: the existence of suffering, the reality of judgment, the authority of Scripture, the success of science, and more. Drawing on state-of-the-art academic research, personal stories, and deep scriptural excavation, this book argues that–when looked at more closely–what first seemed like roadblocks to faith actually become signposts.” (Catalogue)

Saint Patrick retold : the legend and history of Ireland’s patron saint, by Roy Flechner.
” Saint Patrick was, by his own admission, a controversial figure. Convicted in a trial by his elders in Britain and hounded by rumors that he settled in Ireland for financial gain, the man who was to become Ireland’s patron saint battled against great odds before succeeding as a missionary. Saint Patrick Retold draws on recent research to offer a fresh assessment of Patrick’s travails and achievements. This is the first biography in nearly fifty years to explore Patrick’s career against the background of historical events in late antique Britain and Ireland.” (Catalogue)

Keep in touch with correct contact details

chalk board question what's your number?Please help us stay in touch by ensuring your telephone, email and address details are up to date and correct. Either complete your details online, or call 04 801-4089 (between 9am-5pm Mon-Fri) to check your details, or talk with a library staff member the next time you are in the library. Remember to check all the library cards in your family.

Occasionally we have important news to share with all customers and we want to make sure you get these messages. For example, early in 2019 we will be changing the way that customers access your library card (to renew or reserve), and login to online services (such as eLibrary resources such as PressReader, or Lynda.com) to be in step with other modern libraries.

Catalogue changes coming soon

Our Classic Catalogue, which has been our mainstay since 2002, will shortly be retired. It was no longer being developed. Our new Catalogue, introduced in mid December is produced by the same company The Library Corporation and offers more features.

New catalogue home screen
It’s smartphone-friendly and presents a lot more information to help you choose what you want to borrow. It still has all the main searches – by title, author, or subject, but it’s easier to see if the book (or DVD etc) is available in the library. Once you’re logged in, you can save your favourite searches, share results on Facebook, or even opt in to save your borrowing history.

Similarly, Kids’ Cat has been replaced with a new version, and the previous version will also be shortly retired.

Please speak with a library staff member if you would like to find out more about the new catalogues and how they work.

In search of wisdom: Recent beliefs books

Whispers and Vanities book cover

Two important books lead the selections for November – gathering diverse reflections and essays on peace-making in Aotearoa, and Samoan indigenous spirituality. They are joined by two books on ancient mythologies, a vision of an inclusive Christianity through the prism of transgender issues, and tools drawn from Buddhist mindfulness teaching to overcome negative self-talk.

Syndetics book coverWhispers and vanities : Samoan indigenous knowledge and religion, edited by Tamasailau M. Suaalii-Sauni, Maualaivao Albert Wendt, Vitolia Mo’a, Naomi Fuamatu, Upolu Luma Va’ai, Reina Whaitiri, Stephen L. Filipo.
“The essays and poetry form a careful assessment of aspects of Samoa’s religious and cultural values, from within and outside Samoa, and respond to an address on Samoan religious culture given by Samoa’s Head of State, His Highness Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Ta’isi Tupuola Tufuga Efi, to the 2009 Parliament of the World’s Religions. The address challenges some fundamental aspects of and assumptions in modern Samoan indigenous religious culture.” (Drawn from the publisher’s summary).

Syndetics book coverPursuing peace in Godzone : Christianity and the peace tradition, edited by Geoffrey Troughton and Philip Fountain.
“This follow-up to Saints and Stirrers brings the history of the Christian-inspired peace movement up to the present. Quaker pacifism, nuclear testing in the Pacific, Maori land alienation and cultural dispossession, apartheid in South Africa, protests at Waihopai and changing attitudes to Anzac Day are some of the topics that are of intense contemporary interest.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverIn search of wisdom : a monk, a philosopher, and a psychiatrist on what matters most, by Matthieu Ricard, Christophe André, Alexandre Jollien ; translated by Sherab Chödzin Kohn.
“Join these three luminaries as they share their views on how we uncover our deepest aspirations in life, the nature of the ego, living with the full range of human emotion, the art of listening, the temple of the body, the origin of suffering, the joy of altruism, true freedom, and much more.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTransforming : the Bible and the lives of transgender Christians, by Austen Hartke.
“This provides access into an underrepresented and misunderstood community and will change the way readers think about transgender people, faith, and the future of Christianity. By introducing transgender issues and language and providing stories of both biblical characters and real-life narratives from transgender Christians living today, Hartke helps readers visualize a more inclusive Christianity, equipping them with the confidence and tools to change both the church and the world.” (Drawn from the publisher’s summary)

Syndetics book coverLiving with the gods : on beliefs and peoples, by Neil MacGregor.
“Acclaimed art historian McGregor explores the relationship between faith and society. It examines mankind’s beliefs not from the perspective of institutional religions but according to how shared narratives have shaped societies–and what happens when different narratives run up against each other.” (drawn from the Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSacred Britannia : the gods and rituals of Roman Britain, by Miranda Aldhouse-Green.
“Two thousand years ago, the Romans sought to absorb into their empire what they regarded as a remote, almost mythical island on the very edge of the known world — Britain. What homegrown deities, cults, and cosmologies did the Romans encounter in Britain, and how did the British react to the changes? Aldhouse-Green examines the two-way traffic of cultural exchange and the interplay between imported and indigenous factions to reveal how this period on the cusp between prehistory and history knew many of the same tensions, ideologies, and issues of identity is still relevant today.” (drawn from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe triumph of Christianity : how a forbidden religion swept the world, by Bart D. Ehrman.
“From the bestselling author on early Christianity, this is the story of how Christianity grew from a religion of twenty or so peasants in rural Galilee to the dominant religion in the West in less than four hundred years. Christianity didn’t have to become so dominant, it easily could have remained a sect of Judaism. An immensely readable narrative, which upends the way we think about one of the most important cultural transformations our world has ever seen–one that revolutionized art, music, literature, philosophy, ethics, economics, and law.”(Drawn from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTalk to yourself like a Buddhist : five mindful practices to silence negative self-talk, by Cynthia Kane.
“If you talk to your friends in a negative manner, you will end up without friends. And if you talk to yourself in the same way, you will end up an emotional train wreck. Kane defines negative self-talk as the vehicle by which we pass judgments on ourselves for mistakes and circumstances, even for something as trivial as wearing the wrong shoes with the wrong belt. … Rooted in Buddhist teaching and incorporating contemporary mindfulness teachings, this book encourages readers to overcome both with internalized thoughts and spoken words. ” (drawn from the Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverInside the atheist mind : unmasking the religion of those who say there is no God, by Anthony DeStefano.
“Aims to debunk the theories of Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, and others, through revealing their inconsistencies. He argues that atheism is a “religion” of its own, complete with a creed, a set of commandments and sacraments, and a rigid moral code with rewards and punishments and a “superstition” of the worst kind.” (Syndetics summary)

Our new catalogue has landed!

catalogue home pageWe’re delighted to introduce you to our catalogue, please give it a try.

Supplied by the same company as our Classic Catalogue, it’s smartphone-friendly and presents a lot more information to help you choose what you want to borrow. It still has all the main searches – by title, author, or subject, but it’s easier to see if the book (or DVD etc) is available in the library.

Once you’re logged in, you can save your favourite searches, make lists (for your summer holiday reading), or even opt in to save your borrowing history.

Shortly it will be available from our home page, but in the meantime, you can find the link on our main catalogue search page or you can bookmark http://catalogue.wcl.govt.nz.

MyLibrary and New Booklists

Person writing in notebook by laptopAs part of our ongoing programme to upgrade our online services, please note that MyLibrary will no longer be available after 31 October 2018.

We have decided to make this step because we now have other ways of providing new book lists, and the MyLibrary service which served us faithfully for many years was becoming dated and difficult to support.

You may like to consider bookmarking our What’s new at the library? webpage. Many of the booklists and subject picks are updated monthly and the quicksearches are dynamic. This means that every time a new item is added within that category, it will appear in the search results. If you had added some additional links to your MyLibrary page, we suggest you copy and paste them into another document (e.g. Word) so this information won’t be lost.

If you would like a more personalised list of catalogue searches or books (or DVDs etc), please note that our new catalogue has this option also. Please ask staff if you would like help to set this up.

Celebrating 125 years of Women’s Suffrage

Political cartoon of suffragette looking at politicians
“The New Zealand Graphic and Ladies Journal, 28 October 1893”; Cartoon by Ashley Hunter.

In September we will join in the celebrations of the 125 Anniversary of Women’s Suffrage in New Zealand. Some branches will display books to highlight this.

On the 19th September, at the Central Library
a) have fun experiencing the times with our photo booth from 10am – 2pm
b) try your hand at making a celebration camellia or badge from 10am – 2pm
c) write some messages about what being able to vote means to you.
d) watch a historical film on the First floor, screenings begin from 10am-2pm
e) chat to Electoral Commission staff who can help you register for the roll or answer your questions 12-2pm

During the two months between the Suffrage Bill passing and 1893 general election, women relished the potential power their vote would give them in deciding the next government. In this cartoon a woman, depicted as a fortune teller, invites leading Liberal politicians (humorously depicted as scared schoolboys), into her tent to have their political futures revealed. The central figure is Richard Seddon, clutching his arm is William Pember Reeves, crouching on the left is Joseph Ward and standing above him with a long beard is Robert Stout. Keep a watch out for the Urban Art footpath billboards around the CBD featuring more political cartoons like this from The New Zealand Graphic and Ladies Journal.

We are proud to be a part of the Suffrage 125 national event programme.

 

My Discoveries Saved Lists and Tags

Person writing in notebook by laptopAs part of our ongoing programme to upgrade our catalogues, this is advance notice that My Discoveries will no longer be available after 23 December 2018. My Discoveries forms a part of the library’s Easyfind catalogue to allow you to create lists or tags and save links to items.

Many people have taken advantage of this service to create and save lists, and therefore we wanted to give notice of this change to provide time to note and transfer titles. Regretfully we have not been able to establish an ‘export’ option to extract saved lists, tags or reviews easily. However, links and text can be copied and pasted to save in another document.

We have decided to make this step because My Discoveries was not continuing to be developed by the supplier (so over time it would not display on newer browsers and screens and cannot be transferred to a new mobile friendly catalogue search). In addition, our new Catalogue (which is continuing to be actively developed and improved) includes many of the features of My Discoveries.

We also strongly recommend that if you have compiled links within your lists to individual items in the EasyFind catalogue, that you take the opportunity to change those links to point to our new Catalogue. If you’re not sure how to create lists or save searches in the new Catalogue, please note this option or ask a library staff member.

Customer Survey Results 2018

small thank you heartThank you very much to all customers who provided feedback and filled out our annual customer survey. This was sent to a group randomly selected from our adult registered members who had given us their email contact addresses. Just over 4000 responses were received back. We always are keen to learn from you what your priorities are for improving what we do. Here are the full survey results. [1.4 MB, PDF]

Some results we’ve noted
– Overall satisfaction ratings of our services and staff are consistent with last year.
– Satisfaction with eBooks increased from 80% in 2017 to 86% this year. We continue to add new titles, both fiction and non-fiction, as publishers make them available for us to purchase.
– Overall you are satisfied with the range and variety of the physical collections (86%). Each year, we add close to 100,000 new items to the collection, and this remains one of our top priorities. Satisfaction is highest for the children’s collections, at 95%.
– Satisfaction with wifi increased from 84% in 2017 to 87% this year after a big programme to increase it across branch libraries.
– Nearly half of the respondents (47%) would like more space devoted to casual seating.
– 70% of customers prefer printed fiction (over eBook), and it was similar for non-fiction, with 71% preferring the printed format. We weren’t sure if the type of material made a difference, so this information will be used to plan our collections.
– Our monthly newsletter was the most favoured option to hear about library news or activities. If you haven’t already, subscribe to this free enewsletter called Your Library, or read the latest edition here.

We really value the time and consideration you give to us when making this feedback. Thank you for helping us keep in step with your expectations. We continue to use the customer survey throughout the year as we review services and plan team work.