The Cowden-Smith Library

The First Presbyterian church (USA) of Sarasota, Florida has a new library.  Over the past two years planing, design and relocation of the church library from a small, overgrown, humid and poorly located facility was accomplished.  By combining and gutting two former classrooms and providing a proper environment for library materials the church now has a comfortable, working library.  There is temperature/humidity control and wireless internet access. Shelving encircles most of the room (one wall not yet completed) and comfortable chairs have been donated.  A significant section of the library serves the needs of the state certified pre-school program and the children and young adult classes.  A plan is in progress to develop an Hispanic component of the collection to serve a growing part of the church congregation.

Just as the new library was completed for use our Librarian suffered an untimely death at an early age.  With her loss we have established a Library Ministry Team to develop policies that were lost with the passing of Natalie Smith, MLS from Vanderbilt.  We are in the process of providing a set of operational manuals that we will have to utilize for a number of volunteer church members who will each be on hand to "run"the library, each person for a few hours one different day of the week.  The church treasury cannot support a full time professional librarian.

The above news is "tip of the ice berg"  in terms of what work still needs to be done.  In future I will hope to post a few photos of the library along with a progress report.  My apology for the disjointed and incomplete report above.  Time constraints only allowed me to use this as a beginning post.

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  • "A significant section of the library serves the needs of the state certified pre-school program and the children and young adult classes."


    Does your library help the pre-school meet certain state requirements?  If so, what?

    Same questions for the children and young adult classes.  

  • Hi Bruce,

    Do you have any experience with digitizing church records?  

    You can see my start here.

    Internet Archive Search: Oaks.Christian.Church.Houston
  • I can't wait to see updates! I think it's wonderful how you all are working together to bring about such outreach to your community. You called your post "disjointed", but I think otherwise. It's encouraging to read about your various emphasis to your library from physical accommodations to collection development. I would think Natalie Smith would be pleased with the thought & care that you all are putting forth in order to continue your church's library ministry. Blessings to you! Please continue to share about your ministry, even if it's little portions. Thank you.  

  • I look forward to the pictures. It sounds like a large library and you are open during the week! We are only open on Wednesday nights before prayer meeting. I am also our church secretary and have posted many times in the bulletin that the library can be opened by request during the week but have had very few takers. 

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