Helpful Advice

Hello my new friends! 

I have just newly taken over our church library (roughly 3,000 items in our collection).The library has been run the same way since 1987.  Everything is done on paper, EVERYTHING.. I have been typing accessions on a typewriter (I'm 24 years old, I had to teach myself how to use said typewriter :) ). SInce I took over I have been trying to "modernize" our library. Is there any way to easily make a transition from paper accession/inventory to a more digital friendly method. I started using a spreadsheet for my accessions. What is the best way to orgaize it, by date the accession was added or by the authors last name?  Also, since the library has been run that way for a long time, a lot of my congregation has lost interest in it, and new memebers don't even know about it. But before I try to promote it, I feel like I need to be able to run it effectively first. Any advice you can give me with transitioning and managing my library more efffectively would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks Friends, 



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        • When I started at my church library 11 years ago, there was program in place but the database had been created by non-librarians after a church fire 7 years before. There was cataloging module and no budget to add one to the system. These lovely ladies had little to no computer skills and were still using cards to do check outs! Without a budget, I found a site called The Library Thing. From this I was able to get cataloging and better call numbers.  And so I started totally revamping. They were handwriting spine labels! I had a very supportive pastor who helped me get funds into the budget after a year. Then I added a cataloging module to the library software, bought a scanner and went to work. I  could not justify the price of an  online lookup module from the software company the church wad already invested for patrons do their own searches, I subscribed to a module from onevof the supporters of this site. All of this to spreadsheets are labor intensivr even for a small collection. The Library Thing was only $25 when I was using it. It is a starting point. You need to make plans to automate ASAP. It can be done for less than $600/yr. for the size library you have. One of the sponsors of CLN is able to help you. If you have little or no budget, maybe a fundraiser could help. There are ways out there that will make running the library a little less frustrating than using spreadsheets. And I am a huge fan and user of spreadsheets. In fact, the software I am using now does not print barcodes and spine labels in size or orientation to match what we have had for 10 years...a very  neat and uniform presentation. So using downloaded files from my library software, I can use spreadsheets and Mail Merge to create labels and machine readable barcodes that blend almost flawlessly with our established collection. I could not have done that without my spreadsheets! Think outside the box. Find some techie in your congregation to help. Good luck.

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