Catholic Evangelism Media Index
By Richard Bruce BA, MA, and PhC in Economics
Former Instructor St. John's University, New York City

Suggesting Carmelite classics to your public library

The Carmelite classics, the Autobiography of St. Therese of Avila, and Interior Castle by St. Therese of Avila, Dark Night of the Soul by St. John of the Cross, and The Story of a Soul by St. Therese of Lisieux all have sales rankings in the top 30 thousand on Frequently they are close to 10,000. If your local library or branch library has more than 50,000 volumes you can make a strong case that these classics should be included in the collection.

Many books are popular for a short time after they come out. But classics, including the Carmelite classics, will circulate regularly for many years until the book falls apart. Classics are cheap and easy way for librarians to increase circulation. Librarians are usually anxious to increase their circulation numbers, it is one of the principal ways they keep score.

There are many secular classics and a few Catholic classics which the local library would not think of being without that are not nearly as popular as the Carmelite classics. It is really an oversight that so few public libraries have them. I have found that it is an oversight which is easily corrected. I suggested the Carmelite classics to my local library and the librarians eventually added them all. I have suggested "The Story of a Soul" by St. Therese of Lisieux to a major library system near my city and they got copies for several branches, but I have not had much luck going farther than that.

Libraries act quickly when a local patron asks for something. They may even respond when someone in a nearby city who has their library card makes a suggestion. They do not react to the most reasonable of requests from distant cities. This is where you come in, you can make the request, and they will usually add these classics to the collection.

Furthermore, if the Carmelite classics are added to the collection, they will be read and will introduce people to Carmelite spirituality. One of the most active members of my parish was a woman who attributed her return to the church to reading the Carmelite classics that were added to our public library at my suggestion, and yes, she did become a Third Order Carmelite.

I also found that the average circulation of Catholic books I suggested to the public library, many of which were the Carmelite classics, was about one hundred times the circulation of books in the parish library. Six books I suggested were added to the public library and I found that for a while their circulation was as high as the six hundred books in the parish library.

I have an extensive web page on suggesting Catholic books to public libraries. You can also read the letters I wrote to my local public library and the library system of a neighboring big city that resulted in many Carmelite Classics being added to public library branches. I also have a letter suggesting spiritual classics you can copy into your word processor and modify to your liking.

If you are a librarian or know a Carmelite or devout Catholic public librarian I would like to work with them on an article for a professional library journal suggesting that many Catholic classics, particularly the Carmelite classics be included in public libraries. As I am not a librarian I would have a hard time getting it published under my own name, but if we work together it might work. Here is my contact information..

If you are running a Carmelite web site it would help if you could link to this web page,, or Links are very useful, and this is such an easy and effective way to spread the word on Carmelite spirituality.

I am also interested in publishing articles in Carmelite periodicals on this topic. If you are an editor and this interests you once again here is my contact information..

Media Evangelization Index Page last updated July 10, 2015

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