How to keep this short and still get my concerns across? And be respectful of church leadership. I'm hoping this page isn't available to outside eyes, but I really need advice.
Four years ago, I became the librarian (volunteer). Our church was planning a major remodel, with plans to move us out of our 2,500 SF space of 11K books and items, although many were against even keeping a library. My then boss ("K", the Associate Pastor) was very on board with the idea of a Resource Center with books, information hub, and materials for our Disciple U classes, and helped our lead pastor see this need. We worked closely together, measuring out space needs, book needs, etc., and requested a 500 - 550 SF space for 3K+ books.
The last 4 years have been an up and down roller coaster of remodel changes, lack of space, no space, temporary space, budget changes, etc., but during that time, no one has wavered from the 500+ SF and a minimum 3K books, or the Resource Center central focus. "K" left, and the interim pastor was also on board. Then "B" arrived and seemed to be on board, although we have had great difficulty communicating. When the remodel plans were finalized, we were blessed with a 562 SF space in an ideal location; a location I had been praying for since the beginning, but that was initially intended to be demolished. What could possibly go wrong?
Several months ago, my now boss, "B", requested a meeting because he felt we weren't on the same page. Come to find out, we weren't even on the same planet! It became apparent to me that "B" struggled with visualizing the floor plans, which many people do, so I understand that. He repeatedly addressed his concerns of the size of the space, but I kept assuring him that it was the size "K" and I had requested and was perfect. During the meeting, he asked for my plans for the Resource Center (which have remained in line with original leadership for 4 years) then stated he had a different idea, "Have you ever heard of an Apple Store"?
He wants to move most of the books upstairs to the 3rd floor, only have a few bookshelves in the Resource Center, and change out the focus monthly (nothing like an Apple Store). I was so stunned I had zero response. It was apparent he had already made up his mind before the meeting. When people request books, we can go upstairs and get them, or they can browse upstairs (older people and families aren't going to wander the building). "B" wants a minimalist look. He loved my idea of opening one Wednesday morning a month, and wants to open every Wednesday morning. But why open then if there are no books to browse in the Resource Center?
I'm not opposed to compomise. I re-did the floor plan sketch to hopefully address his concerns. Removed 6 or our 23 bookcases to remove the 'wall to wall' book appearance (reducing size of book collection and removing many books from the 'wish list'). Agreed to no longer carry most fiction (except for the Christian classics), which was VERY hard to agree with, but our lead pastor also requested this. Revised the floor plan for 3 distinct areas - Information Station; Disciple U connect space; Book Nook. All of our Resource Center furniture is lovely, commerical library quality bookcases, tables, and check-out desk paid for by an anonymous donor for $30K to $40K. I'm doing my best to honor this donation by keeping key pieces (many bookcases are now in use throughout our buildings). I don't mind replacing the somewhat dated padded library chairs with something more modern to brighten the space. I've agreed to minimal window displays. I set aside a bookcase for monthly 'spotlight' on various topics. Our check-out desk is 4 pieces, and I've revised to remove one section to minimize the appearance, but we still need space for a computer, printer, etc. We lost our spacious workroom, but we can make it work. However, "B" is looking for a 3rd floor office space to process books, etc., and just have a minimal desk downstairs (upstairs and downstairs computers?)
I went out on a limb and met with our lead pastor, "J", about 6 weeks ago. This was difficult for me, but I didn't see any other options. I 'think' he is somewhat in agreement with me, however, "B" keeps moving along with his plan. He mentioned to me last week that he is still scouting out space for books and an office. I stated that our 13 primary bookcases will fit nicely in the back area (for a minimal appearance), but he doesn't want them in the space. I tried to press further, be he said he needed to be somewhere. He will not communicate with me - never has. We are having our church grand opening on January 1st. I submitted a plan for how the Resource Center can be operational, but "B" says there is no rush and we can wait until later in the year.
If we don't have books in the Resource Center, what is the purpose? What will even be located in the Resource Center? Our goal, from the beginning, has been to provide our church members with quality resources for spiritual growth.
Morlee graciously spoke with me a couple months back and gave me reassurance that my thoughts are on track. I'm also asking others what they might see as major concerns with this 'Apple store' concept of keeping most of our books 'out of sight, out of mind', so that I can present specific concerns with our lead pastor.