FAITH MATTERS: Share the love of learning

Valentine’s Day is one that so often divides opinion.  Some see it as a cliched day that crassly commercialises ‘romantic love’, while others take the opportunity to outwardly acknowledge and celebrate their feelings with flowers, cards, extravagant gifts, and special dinners.

To many, it may seem even more cliched to make a marriage proposal on Valentine’s Day. However, globally, Google searches for “how to propose” surge in February, almost doubling the monthly average!

In 2006, the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) hitched their wagon to the Valentine’s Day train with the inaugural Library Lovers’ Day.  Their explicit aim being to celebrate libraries and the amazing, possibly life-changing, resources they hold within them.  Library Lovers’ Day is now a worldwide event with a new theme each year - the 2022 theme being Show the Love. This theme is core to the mission of all libraries; a responsibility to support and supplement education in their community, in a variety of formal and informal as well as cultural contexts. In simple terms libraries should promote and support a love of continued learning for all.

So why do ALIA and librarians have life-long learning as a core value?  In thinking about this I started to do some research and found a very pertinent quote by Lyndon Baines Johnson. Doing the right thing is not the problem. Knowing what the right thing is, that’s the challenge” he said. More commonly known as LBJ, the 36th President of the United States of America from 1963 to 1969 hit the target for me.  Life-long learning, continued learning, wide learning that take us outside our own interests and viewpoints is the one thing that makes one realise the “right thing” is something different for everyone; that the “right thing” is usually constantly evolving; that the “right thing” for me might very well be the wrong thing for you.  Life-long learning makes it abundantly clear that you can never know it all. 

As a young man, LBJ taught high school.  An early experience teaching Mexican-American children at a segregated school later informed his presidency, “I shall never forget the faces of the boys and the girls in that little school, and I remember even yet the pain of realizing and knowing then that college was closed to practically every one of those children because they were too poor. And I think it was then that I made up my mind that this nation could never rest while the door to knowledge remained closed to any American.”  In an era of great racial inequality, legalised social divide, and painful cultural upheaval he saw education and knowledge as central to enabling the changes that were necessary, just and right to take place.

The apostle Peter wrote, “. . . make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge.”  Biblical scholars often discuss “knowledge” in this context as meaning the knowledge of Christ’s goodness and love should guide Christians in fulfilling God’s purpose on Earth.  In addition to this knowledge of Christ, we in contemporary society also have a wealth of easily accessible resources to grow and inform our faith knowledge and beliefs through wide reading, research, and continued educational experiences.  

In this internet age Libraries serve society as an essential educational resource, offering a gateway to free and reliable resources, many of which are not available online. Not everyone lives in a household that provides limitless Wi-Fi or the right environment to conduct research, write papers or read in peace.  During times like these libraries play an essential role in sharing the love . . .of learning.



Have you accessed the DOMN library online?

You can access more than books at the DOMN Library. The Diocese has subscriptions to a number of online publications including, La Croix, The Tablet and the Religion & Philosophy Collection database. While the DoMN Library catalogue can be searched anonymously, registration is necessary for access to member privileges such as: borrowing books, audio visual resources and kits, for access to the eBook collection, periodicals and magazines and for access to the databases. Registration is an extremely simple process via the registration link on the library homepage. All physical resources will be made available for collection at the library desk in the Diocesan Offices reception area at 841 Hunter Street, Newcastle West, or by arrangement.  All resources should be returned to the Diocesan Offices as well.  

Link to DoMN Library: 

For all enquires or help please email or phone 0409 033 449. 

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