Hello.  I'm a member of St. John's Episcoapal Church, Charleston, WV; we have a 'library' consisting of some rather dusty, musty books which hardly anyone ever reads.  Our new pastor wants to change this.    Because I have an MLS, I've been asked to be point man on the project, but I've never actually designed a library from the ground up.  HELP!

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Comment by Sue Hardin on August 22, 2017 at 3:08pm
Check out the software LibraryThing for small libraries.
Comment by Eva Nell Hunter on February 21, 2017 at 10:48pm

Bruce, how exciting it is to have you join CLN and to see how you are already participating in the Q&A section.  Isn't it amazing to see how many librarians have the same challenges.l  At any rate, we're happy that you are now a very active member of this group.  You will find many helpful articles on the main page of CLN.  Thanks for joining and sharing your experiences.

Comment by Bruce Alan Wilson on February 20, 2017 at 6:36pm

I'd love to go around to other libraries, but that is kind of hard when you work full time.  Let's hope that some of my volunteers are retired.

Comment by Bruce Alan Wilson on February 18, 2017 at 8:07am

I'd love to go around to other libraries, but that is kind of hard when you work full time.  Let's hope that some of my volunteers are retired.

Comment by Bruce Alan Wilson on February 18, 2017 at 8:06am

Gail, that color-coding system sounds interesting.  Doing full Dewey classification seems like a pain in the a@@, but we have to have some sort of system.

Comment by Everlie Bolton on February 17, 2017 at 9:03pm
Our "Library" was exactly like yours before I revitalized it in 2013. It is a lot of work but one of the most rewarding things I've ever done! I could go on and on but I have two main pieces of advice:
1. Visit every church library in your community. You can learn a lot from the people near you who also love church libraries. They will be able to show you what works and what doesn't work. Most importantly, you will develop a network in your town. Many church libraries were extremely generous and shared some of their books and resources to help get us started.
2. Write a mission statement and stick to it. I initially thought this was silly. However, I have found it to be one of the most beneficial aspects of our library. It will be especially helpful as you weed out all of those yucky old books that you currently have on hand. Our mission statement is "We provide high-quality materials that bring people of all ages closer to God. ". That means that I can eliminate or choose not to add anything that is low-quality and also items that are not religious in nature.

Good luck!
Comment by Lacie Abell on February 17, 2017 at 3:52pm

Comment by Gail Sohns on February 17, 2017 at 2:39pm

I also have an MLS and started our church library back in 2002 by myself.   We had nothing before that as we were a brand new Catholic parish and were meeting in a school.  Knowing we were planning to build soon, I wanted to make sure there would be room in the new building for a library, so got permission to start one before we had our space built.   To start our collection, I began by asking parishioners for donations of appropriate books.   I took most anything that was donated at the beginning.   Understanding how time consuming cataloging could be, I chose to use a color-coded classification system that I devised (using color dots purchased from Demco) as well as pockets and cards.   My husband and I transported the "library"  to and from the school twice a month in 17 stacking crates that were stored at my house between times.   Once the library had a permanent home, I put together a committee to really look at the books we had accumulated.   Some were removed as not appropriate for a Catholic library.  That process taught me a tremendous amount about what to look for when we received more donations, and once I actually started purchasing resources for the library.   I still use my color-coding system, as well as pockets and cards since we have no computer to use for the library.   I have our entire collection on an Excel spreadsheet I keep on a flash drive, but haven't made it available to our parishioners as of yet. One thing that has really helped me is to be a part of a local nondenominational Church Library Association.   It's a great place to get ideas, and help with problems.  Check with other church librarians to see if such an organization exists in Charleston.   Even better would be if you can encourage other Episcopal Church librarians to get together and form a support group!   If my color-coding system is of any interest to you (or anyone else), I'd be glad to pass along more information about my categories.

Comment by Charles Campbell on February 15, 2017 at 3:52pm

I started reorganizing our church library in 2013. You can see a general description here. A more detailed discussion of the "reboot" and the materials we consulted is available here.

Comment by Martha W. Hancock on February 14, 2017 at 9:34am

You are already doing what you should- getting rid of the oldie moldies.   Over to the right hand column on this is a video on starting a library from scratch.   You will have to decide to catalog/classify or not to, cards/pockets or computer.  I for one would skip the cards/pocket.   There are references/q and a's on the different computer programs- some are much more simple to use, and could even benefit your pastor and his library.  Concourse from Book Systems/Atrium is the biggie, but there are others that are supposed to be cheaper to use.  Take a look down at the articles at the bottom of the start/home page, and you will find many helps.   Since you already have an MLS, you are way ahead of where I was without one.   One thing to remember when you classify is to put it where your patrons will be able to find it- not necessarily according to OCLC.   Classification for Church librarians is helpful as is the big book on Information for Church libraries.   They are different because usually our 200 section is the largest in the library.   If I'm telling you stuff that you already know, please forgive.  also, don't forget teens- I have several that help on the desk to check out and also to shelve.  

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