January 20, 2009

The Church Library's Role in Difficult Economic Times

Only you know what your congregation needs. Consider the support you could offer by providing Christian resources for job hunting, for example, transforming your library into a vibrant ministry that changes lives.

Is access to the Internet a service your library should offer?

Click on "comments" to share your ideas:

Maintaining Patron Privacy

With limited time and resources, how you can you ensure privacy in the church library?

One library that uses signature cards and pockets recommends keeping black sharpies handy. The previous borrower's name can easily be crossed out keeping the signature private. While this isn't a perfect solution, the librarian says, it works well and is affordable.

Bev Etzelmueller of St. Matthew's Evangelical Lutheran Church in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin shares that handling sensative books allows her be aware of hurts and concerns of members, sometimes before the pastors do. She says, "With compassion and God's love, I guide members to the needed suggestions. I always say a prayer for that person as I'm driving home from church." (Now that is true library ministry.)

How do you maintain privacy in your library? Click on "Comments" below to leave your ideas.

January 6, 2009

Church Library Outreach: Creativity is Key

1. Church Staff:
If you haven't had a chance to meet with your pastors or other church staff about your congregation's library, make the New Year a time to schedule those appointments. These meetings should occur at least once a year. Discover what books your pastors are reading, what publishers they like, and if they have any particular favorites they'd like to see in the church library. Ask about any pre-planned sermon series and plan to offer books that support upcoming topics or themes. Be sure to meet with staff in both the children and adult education ministries to learn what books or media they'd like to see added to the church library. Offer to let them know about resources you have access to that they may not be familiar with. Finally, remember that all church staff can use the NCLA Discounts included with your membership.

2. Support Groups Using Your Church:
Most churches host a variety of events and community groups as a service to the public and ministry opportunity. Consider making a "Recovery Library" available to any recovery groups meeting in your church. Appropriate books can be purchased through Hazeldon Publishing or contact The Hazeldon Foundation about its "BookAID" program. "BookAID" provides recovery resources to needy groups and individuals including churches. Also consider creating new, dedicated sections in your library on divorce recovery, healing from cancer or dealing with grief. These resources can be of particular comfort to those attending support group meetings at your church who may not be attending worship regularly but need a church home and spiritual comfort. Yes, there is always the concern about circulating these books; however, many church librarians who make these resources available feel this is an important enough ministry to warrant the risk of un-returned books.

3. Community Members and Visitors:
Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and other community groups may use your church for meetings on a regular basis. Care Notes by Abbey Press can be made available with labels that read, "Brought to You with Care by Greenwood Baptist Library. Visit us in Room 203". Be sure that your church library is sensitive to the needs of both mature and new Christians. Consider having a permanent display of books for people new to the Christian faith. It's easy to forget that while church culture is familiar to most of us, there are still people for whom it is foreign and uncomfortable.

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