Their 5th reason is A General Lack of Available Books.They admit that “there are more books in the world than any person could possibly read in ten lifetimes.” But they point out the lack of library services in many places in the United States during the 1930s.
We have all heard the phrase that we are living in a post-Roe day. Since the 1930s just about all Americans now have access to public libraries and bookstores. But are we not gradually seeing the bookstores close? Have you checked your public library to see if they carry acceptable books for Christian children and adults? Perhaps the day is coming when we will be living in post-Christian-book-availability as the Post-Christian society sweeps across our country.
What if our church libraries fill the gaps emerging in our culture? Is your pastor and church staff aware of this implication of the Post-Christian society? How many churches in your community, city, town, or region have libraries today? That might be worth finding out because the impact of a possible lack of Christian books in the public libraries in the future will raise the question: Where will people in churches that do not have libraries find acceptable reading material?
Yes, they/we can always buy books from Amazon, Christianbook.com, and other online Christian retailers,but is that an option for all Americans? Just last week I had a young mother drop by the Enrichment Center. She is not a member of our church but she comes to our women's Bible studies on Wednesday mornings. She told me she and her two preschoolers have had a weekly routine to go to their public library one day a week. During their visit last Tuesday she discovered there are no longer any books that she finds acceptable for her preschoolers there. She was thrilled to know that she could start bringing her children to our library.
What would happen if our churches embraced their libraries as strategic parts of their outreach and discipleship tools for a post-Christian culture? What if we thought of church libraries like we think of public libraries? A chain of libraries available to our communitiues, but we offer Bible-based fiction and non-fiction for all people.
I confess we are struggling with a lack of interest among the general body. We have several families who are intensely active in checking out and using the resources, but the vast majority never come, never even see what all we have to offer. I made an announcement in church on Sunday much to this exact effect: That our books & movies are being CURATED for us by someone with a worldview we do not know. Our movies are curated by the streaming services, based on popularity & secular demand. Our books - in both libraries & bookstores - are curated or placed by publishing contracts, sales records, and manager selection. WHat is the difference with our church library? It is curated specifically to encourage, equip, and inspire our church family.
I doubled the number of active library cards in one Sunday. How do we get people to catch this vision? I don't know, but it is surely worth the effort.
That is amazing! As our country becomes more and more "post Christian", our people will become increasingly aware of what church libraries have to offer. For many, the problem is not "unawareness" of the library. On Sundays and Wednesdays when most of our people are at church they do not have time to drop by the library to checkout a book. What can we do to have the collection open and available during times people do have time to visit the library?