With the high cost of building these days, churches are having to make difficult decisions about space needs when more people come to church on Sundays. How have those of you who have a group meeting in the library during the Bible study time accomodated this need? Doesn't matter what your church calls the groups: classes, life groups, circles, etc. Some of us need suggestions.

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  • Answer to Gretchen: A couple of suggestions, shelve a few books face out, and use signage and posters to draw attention to particular books (bookstores often have "staff picks" signs on the edge of a shelf)

    Another comment: it has been my policy for over 30 years in church library ministry to leave the library unlocked and trust that people will do self checkout. If materials walk out without proper procedures followed,perhaps it will still fulfill the ministry - hopefully they will eventually be returned. I feel my job is to provide the resource, not guard it from possible theft.

  • I think it is important to allow the library to be multi-purpose so the decision doesn't have to be made for one (classes) or the library.  Our library is used for Wednesday night classes, school during the week, and elder/deacon meetings before Sunday School.  Luckily it is open during Sunday School and after services.  It is an open, self-service library which allows it to be used this way.  


  • Our library is not used by classes, Bible studies etc   .  We don't have a large table and chairs setup and there are plenty of other locations in church. Even our book club meets in another room ( with sofas and comfy chairs ) though the library is open before and after.  It is kept locked when staff not there.  

  • Our library shares the first Sunday School hour with a ladies class. During this time the library is open 15 minutes before the class begins and 15 minutes after the class ends. During the second hour the library is open with no classes sharing our space. Members are respectful of the time the class uses the library. They make sure to come during the posted times to return, browse or checkout materials It has worked for us and provides a quiet setting for the ladies. 

  • First Presbyterian in Tacoma, WA, is refurbishing its library, which, in recent memory, has not had seating space. We plan to add

    1. Comfortable seating area where 8-10 people can gather for conversation or small-group study. 

    2. A few small high tables with chairs, where people can sit down for coffee together. 

    3. A new floor covering that won't retain dust.

    We plan to subtract

    1. Some of our volunteers' work space. Our new worktable will be about 8 SF, rather than the current 15 SF.

    2. Book space on our bottom shelves. Most books will be moved up one shelf-level, to make them more visible and accessible.

    To increase space usable for seating, all shelving will be located around the perimeter of the room, with no shelves protruding into open space.

    This library opens into the fellowship hall. The retired architect who's designing the refurbishment says people with coffee automatically gravitate to seating areas. Can anyone suggest ways to encourage people actually to take books off the shelves and sit down to look at them?

    Gretchen Erhardt

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