New Library Featured In Diocesan Newspaper

Monday, December 15, 2008

The new Kate O'Neill Library of Assumption Center was featured in the Worcester Diocesan newspaper, "The Catholic Free Press." Reprinted below is the article in full:

Advent: A waiting time, a time for reflection

Refresh your mind and nourish your soul with a book

By Eva Ilic

Special to the CFP

Do you want to refresh your mind and nourish your soul? Then visiting the newly opened Katherine O'Neill Library may help during this Advent season.

The library is located in the Assumption Center, a house at 16 Vineyard Street owned by the Religious of the Assumption. The library is named after the order's co-foundress, Katherine O'Neill.

About a year ago, Sister Mary Ann Azanza, Provincial of the Religious of the Assumption, thought it would be a good idea to use the first floor of the house as a library of spiritual books, according to Sister Therese Duross, who is in charge of the lending library. The house was purchased from the Diocese of Worcester to be used as a place for volunteers to stay, as well as to house the Associate Missionaries of the Assumption office, she said.

Sister Mary Ann thought that it would be a service to people in the neighborhood and the city to have a spiritual library, explained Sister Therese.

"It's not a book store," she said. The library was designed as "a welcoming place where people could browse, look at books, sit down, enjoy the quiet, enjoy the atmosphere, and then borrow whatever books they wanted," said Sister Therese. Besides the library, there is a meeting room in another part of the house where groups can have meetings, she said.

Currently the library is open two days a week: Tuesdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m.

There are about 600 books organized in categories such as: Spirituality and Prayer, Peace, Justice, and the Church, and Saints, Women's Spirituality and Spirituality of Aging. There is also a large selection of the books of Thomas Merton and a collection of books of Henri Nouwen. There are also books on theology and some on the bible. At the moment, they don't have any videos, DVDs or children's books.

The library has an Advent section that can be helpful to people at this time of year when stores are pushing them to buy goods, buy presents, buy things. Reading a book from the library can be "a way of preparing for this great mystery, this great feast of the Nativity of Our Lord renewed. And so it's a way of getting a little bit quieter, more reflective, being aware of the mystery of the Incarnation and the importance that it has," said Sister Therese.

Most of the books were donated to the library from various sources.

"We had many books in our convent that we had read, so (we thought) why not put them out for people to share them," said Sister Therese.

"We told our friends that we are starting a library and we told Msgr. (Francis J.) Scollen, (pastor of St. Peter Parish)," she said. He announced it in the church bulletin and some people from the parish brought books, as well. The Little Sisters of the Assumption donated some books and Twenty Third Publications, an Assumptionist publishing company, gave them 25 new books to get the library started, Sister Therese said. More books are expected from the Sisters of St. Joseph, she said. They also bought some new books and they have a monthly budget to buy more.

There is no limit on how many books a person can borrow. They can keep the books for two weeks and may renew them for another two weeks. Borrowers can return books during regular housrs or at any time in the book drop by the center's back door. Overdue fees are 10 cents a day; lost book fees are $15.

Sister Therese also said that "when it gets really cold, I'll put the tea kettle on and we'll have coffee available and people can just sit quietly and read or just enjoy a little piece of quiet with a good book."