Edie Asbury posted the following request:

I am looking for tips on engaging with and coordinating library volunteers. This will be a focus of the next BIC Church Librarians Newsletter (BIC = Brethren in Christ).

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  • I was all set to share what we do and then realized that my "partner in crime" Debbie Dehart had already told you about our wonderful team.  I think I would add to what Debbie said with, we initially ask people who love books if they would like to participate and then what exactly would they feel comfortable doing and how much. Then, we cater to what they can do, i.e. only shelve books at certain times, or can only work midweek.  Sometimes Debbie and I are brainstorming on what we can ask someone to do to keep them interested, but mostly we just give them "bite" size projects until they feel comfortable in working with the library or until they have time to do more.  Some of our patrons are willing to write reviews which is another volunteer participation and helps us with our newsletter material. Keeping the library at the forefront of the minds of our congregation helps them to view us as one of the ministries of the church.  We just finished a Cookie party outside the library to celebrate winners of the winter reading challenge, March reading month, and the first day of spring.   This fall we are doing the ECLA Conference (Evangelical Church Librarian Conference) at our church and our team is excited to participate.  I think our enthusiasm and our motto, to "equip followers of Christ," energizes many of them to stay engaged with our team.  As Debbie said, we have a lunch meeting once a year and that is a "thank you" to our team as well as instructive.  We put the food together for them so they know they are appreciated. We also recognize them not only in the newsletter when they come on the team, but we do Christmas gifts with a literary message to remind them we appreciate them as well as keep our focus on books!  Debbie and I love our team and our library. It makes such a difference to LOVE what you do. When you love it, you talk about it, and when you talk about it, you find out about others who love it too....and then you sign them up!! :-) 

    • Thanks, Denise! This is very helpful, too. I have drafted an article on "Attracting and Engaging Volunteers" from your description. I love your enthusiasm! Email me at easbury6@gmail.com if you want me to send you a copy to review before I release the newsletter.


  • We have a committee of about ten volunteers besides the two of us who run the library.  Some are scheduled to work on Sundays (generally two people for each Sunday); others come in during the week to do various jobs that need to be done.  Once a year, we have a lunch meeting on a Sunday morning after church, to go over any changes we've made, things of which they need to be reminded, explanations of upcoming events, and that kind of thing.

    When new people volunteer one of us will meet with them to train them in whatever area they will be working.  

    Do you have specific questions or issues you'd like addressed? I'm not sure what else to tell you.

    • Thanks, Debbie. This is very helpful. Can you tell me what church you attend? I want to give you credit for your thoughts in my newsletter.

      Edie Asbury


      • Berean Baptist Church in Portage, MI.  


        Is your newsletter available to people outside your church?  We publish one monthly which goes to church librarians and other interested people in addition to our own church body, and I'm always interested in seeing other church librarians' newsletters!  So if it is available, I'd love to see it!

        • I, too, would love to see your newsletter! gbc@gladebaptistchurch.com  Thanks!!

          • I added you! And will send you a few recent copies.

          • I believe Denise did this; let me know if you'd like to be added to our mailing list!

        • Debbie, send your email address to easbury6@gmail.com, and I will be glad to email you our newsletters.


          • Edie, I would also love to see your newsletter and will send you an email.

            Thank you!


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