Books and information are most useful when shared but it is not often that an individual will donate a whole collection on one topic. Such a collection is costly and time consuming to assemble. A fine example of this is Columbia County Public Library's collection of books on cults, which was given to the library by Judy Safransky.
In 1983, Safranksy came face to face with the problem of a family member in crisis and in her effort to deal with it began assembling this unique set of books. Once the crisis was resolved, she decided to donate the books to the library "so that others may read, consider, compare, and make informed decisions."
"I know that it was the written printed word that opened that first little crack of doubt that made my family member begin to ask questions," Safransky said.
The books now in the Columbia County Public Library are not sensational but rather contain in-depth information from case studies, personal accounts, and historical descriptions of diverse ritualistic and cult activities. Some titles address the issues of abuse of children and adolescents in these activities; other titles are centered on the psychological aspects of the cult phenomenon. They offer guidelines for facilitating recovery and successful separation of the victims from masters of mind-control.
One title, Recovery from Cults: Help for Victims of Psychological and Spiritual Abuse edited by Michael D. Langone is especially noteworthy. It provides a comprehensive treatment of all aspects of the experience of belonging to what Ms. Safransky refers to as "high demand groups," those groups which exceed the limits of good sense in their zeal to recruit and retain members.
If you are interested in reading any of the titles in this interesting collection, please ask at the reference desk in the library.
Audrey Frank is the reference librarian for the Columbia County Public Library.