|Librarians can be some of the most powerful censors in the school and community. We make the selections, purge the collections, read the reviews, and hold the purse strings for the reading materials that children and adults read in many different environments. We have preferences, very strong likes and dislikes, and a lens with which we examine the myriad of materials available for purchase. Yet, we are charged with acquiring materials for all of our patrons, not just those that mirror our own preferences. We must procure sound items that will please and delight the reader, yet continually cause the reader to think. We must leave our own comfort zones to select the best materials for people who do not share our beliefs and present opposing viewpoints. The American Library Association’s Bill of Rights states these principles in six clear statements. As a school librarian, I commit myself to broadening my perspective, knowing that each reader comes to a book with different passions, different perspectives, different backgrounds, and different abilities.
I come to the Heart of Christianity with that background, knowing that I myself am more conservative, and a bit hesitant; yet I am willing, even excited, to explore and broaden my outlook.
Our spiritual family at St. Simon’s goes well out of its way to welcome people from all different backgrounds and perspectives. As a newcomer to this church, the warmth I feel from so many people is very comforting. With Pastor Elizabeth’s insight and care, I feel very physically and emotionally safe to share my feelings and needs. I have not encountered any experiences where I shrank back with feelings of dismissal, failure, or insecurity. I like that. I am comforted. I truly feel that I am accepted and loved just the way I am.
That is why, I am eager to stretch my thinking with this book. I look forward to reflecting deeply on my origins, my religious philosophy, my heritage, and my place in this world. As with the book discussion groups that I lead at school, I trust that my feelings will be respected, heard, and reflected upon, when I chose to reveal them. I trust that I will learn many things from the book and others on my spiritual journey. I will not be pressured to impress or present an image that is not “me.”
Additionally, I will get to know very interesting people along the way. I might make a really good friend. As the leaves change, my feelings about life and people and God will grow and change. I urge you to consider joining in our “One Book, One Parish” program. Know that it will be a “psychologically safe” yet intriguing journey. You will be exposed to topics that are new, different, and challenging, yet your thoughts and feelings will always be respected and appreciated. Come join us!