Greetings all.

I have long been a proponent of "if you want it done right, do it yourself."  However, it just isn't cutting it anymore.  I have a few people interested in our library, but are looking for me to give them specific jobs to do.  

At this point I do not want to give up cataloging books.  I'd like as few hands in our cataloging software as possible (for consistency and accuracy).  But in reality, there is no reason why I have to do everything else by myself.

My question is, do you have volunteer job descriptions?  I'd like to get some things written so that when someone asks me what they can do "specifically" I can get them plugged in and working as soon as possible.

I'd like to recruit people to have ownership of these jobs and take responsibility for them (ideally)!!


Sharln Chapman

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  • We used to have library conferences where training was foremost. I have two volunteers who learned to catalog from Eva Nell Hunter. Sorry to say, we don't have those conferences any more in Texas that I am aware of.

    In November, we got Attrium and I am training all my volunteers to be able to check out books, etc at the front desk.

    Another does repair. She comes in once a month to see if any books are needing help. We have a Demco Repair DVD which covers all types of repair and premending of books. It is used often.

    Another two volunteers cover new books, the dust jacket and or the material from Demco. 

    Another is in charge of the window display we change every three or four weeks, to promote books.

    Another one just shelves the books as they are turned in on Sunday morning and during the week.

    Another sends a thank you for church members who have given a memorial in the form of money and we purchase a book to put in the library.

    I still so the major cataloging and computer entering of each book.

    I count it all Joy to be a part of our Church Library Ministry. I, too, am praying for more volunteers to help with other things which i do myself.

    Joy Cryer

    Tallowood Baptist Church Library

    Houston, Texas


  • Our descriptions are in bullet form that specify what they do. The attachment here is our team communication tool for who does what.

    EC Team Organization 2021

    Right now we have 10 of us on our team. We are waiting on God to provide age group Engagement Coordinators for preschool, children, and youth target audiences. I gave up on inviting people to serve. The response was always "I'm too busy" after waiting on them to pray about it for several weeks. Through a sermon I realized the best way to add to our team is to ask God to bring them. We've added four new team members since I relinquished the search to Him. 

  • We don't have job descriptions, but I do strongly support the idea of allowing others to participate in maintaining the church library. When we first came to our church, I was interested in helping in the library, but it became clear to me in no time at all that the lady who was running it didn't want any help. She had one or two people whom she very occasionally asked for help, but it was pretty much a one-woman show. This meant several things: her system was not very good for passing on when she had to step down, and who knows how many people were denied the opportunity to participate in something to which they might have contributed in significant ways.

    For the last 2 1/2 years, my friend and I have been running the library, and we have a committee of people who help out. And what Adair said is true - even if you train people, sometimes they don't do it the way you want (and for this reason I'd keep doing the cataloging myself). But we have found that in many areas, we can have others help, and some of those people have become SUCH a blessing to us, making our work load easier, being willing to do a lot of tedious desk work, etc. We are willing to put up with anomalies (and there are some doozies) to have the great help, and to allow others to use their gifts in the library.

    So..I commend you for being willing to step out and get others involved!
  • Just because you train someone how do do something doesn't mean they will do it that way if you're not there I am working on re-cataloging couple hundred books because someone who said they liked and wanted to do it took short cuts didn't do much more than name and author in many cases and misspelled some of those !

  • There are many of us who, perhaps unfortunately, have the same view point that you mentioned:  "If you want it done right, do it yourself!"  But, sometimes, we start to realize that we really can't do it all ourselves, and perhaps God wants someone else to have a part in this ministry, and "being done right" doesn't always count as much as other people being able to have a vision of the ministry of the church library.  :)

    In the administration section of the book, Church Library Ministry Information Service, (available through LifeWay, see box in right hand column) there is a chart with the different areas of ministry in the library.  Some of these tasks are absolutely necessary, some are 'when we get to that type of ministry,' and some we may never tackle in our church library.  

    Go through the list to decide what must be done, then decide procedures for those tasks.  You probably already have some of those procedures in place and just need to write them down in a logical, step by step manner.  I would suggest creating a Procedures Manual for different areas, such as processing media.  Then you will have what amounts to a training manual when you assign people those different tasks.

    It is suggested that each person who is on the library team have some training in all areas, so that they have an overall view of the work and purpose of the library.  

    Even though some of us like to do the cataloging and data entry, it is really a good idea to train at least one other person trained in that area as well, in the event that a person becomes ill or  has other personal responsibilities crop up suddenly.  

    You have pointed out something that we need to do in our church library: and that is to do better at defining the tasks that are to be done.  Thank you!  Maybe we will have some other people write some good examples of job descriptions that we can all use!

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