Friday, April 07, 2006
Recommending Books through Pope St. Nicholas V  

I recently came across Maureen Wittman's blog via Mike Aquilina's blog, The Way of the Fathers. On her blog, I learned about Pope St. Nicholas V, who is a pope with whom I was not familiar. He was a tremendous patron of the arts, and during his pontificate from 1447 until 1455, he sought to make Rome a place where the arts flourished. As the Vicar of Christ, he accomplished many things, but he is best known for translating his love of the arts, and literature in particular, into beginning what would later become the Vatican Library. To begin the collection of works of literature, he contributed his own personal library. As a bibliophile, who had also read many of the books he owned, he had developed quite a collection of books through his years of service to the Church prior to assuming the chair of St. Peter. In addition, he had works collected from numerous monasteries where the precious literature would otherwise have been discarded or ruined through neglect.
In this way he accumulated five thousand volumes at a cost of more than forty thousand scudi. "It was his greatest joy to walk about his library arranging the books and glancing through their pages, admiring the handsome bindings, and taking pleasure in contemplating his own arms stamped on those that had been dedicated to him, and dwelling in thought on the gratitude that future generations of scholars would entertain towards their benefactor. Thus he is to be seen depicted in one of the halls of the Vatican library, employed in settling his books" (Voigt, quoted by Pastor, II, 213). Source
In the spirit of Pope St. Nicholas V, Maureen Wittman has established an email list through Yahoo Groups, named after the saint, which periodically provides information about a quality Catholic adult or children's book. The information is designed to be used by the email recipients in order for them to assist in enhancing the collection of their local public libraries. With an increasing number of public libraries having online access, it is much easier to determine if the library already has a certain book, and, in many cases, if the book is not held, to fill out an online request for the library to purchase the book. I thought that this idea was tremendous because it motivated people to share their appreciation for good Catholic books with a much wider audience. In addition, it gave people an opportunity to become involved in their communities through an important resource in the community that is often neglected--the public library. Libraries, like many other institutions, respond to the vox populi. When the public shows an interest in a particular genre of book or a particular book, it will respond by purchasing copies of the book.

In my own case, as I went through the archives of the group and thought of other books that I like, I performed searches on my local library's Web site. To my surprise, I found that a number of the books already existed in the collection. In addition, I found that my public library had an online request form that could not be easier to use. And thanks to the Pope St. Nicholas V group I had all of the required information available at my fingertips to enter it into the Web form. I am anticipating that I will be using this quite a bit.

For more information on the Pope St. Nicholas V group, click here.

Posted by David at 4:36 AM  |  Comments (1)  | Link


Thank you for promoting the PopeStNick5 apostolate. Keep up the great work. Blessings!

By Blogger Maureen Wittmann, at April 10, 2006 11:30 PM  

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