Hello, my fellow-church-librarians!  

I had surgery a few days ago and have been taking advantage of this bed-ridden time to find some library-related sites on-line, and came across this one.  I'm delighted!!

My friend and I took over the library at our church (well, technically, SHE took it over and I'm her assistance but I have more time, plus some training in library science.  We make an excellent team!) about fifteen months ago. It has been quite the ride, figuring out the system that was in place and tweaking it to our liking, and we have a long way to go yet.  But we've learned a lot and are enjoying it very much.  I can already see that this site will be a great place to see what others are doing, and, perhaps, share some things that we've learned along the way.

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Welcome! There's a lot that I learned from here as well, especially that I've no training in library science. I'm so glad of the Welcome Mat that's put out here for all levels of library experience. I'm sure youd have great tips to share.      

 

I'm curious, how are you setting up your library - if you don't mind sharing? What have you changed or kept the same? I love to hear/see how different church libraries are setup.  

I'm an experienced librarian in the sense that I've been our librarian for 30+ years.  I too do not have a library science degree, but with God's help and some experience, I've tackled many aspects of the library.  Our library originated in the 1960's by a qualified librarian.  She used categories for the various portions of the library, never dreaming all these years later that we would have 3,000 books.  I have kept true to the Categories concept and have been pleased with the decision.  I've tweaked the categories to expand on portions that fit our library (i.e. authors of St. Matthew's and Breast Cancer Awareness).  It makes for a VERY friendly, open library for all to use.  I would be happy to share the full list of categories with you if you so wish.  Enjoy each day in the library.   

Thanks for sharing! I'm curious what other categories you use.

Debbie, if you send me your e-mail address.  I'll send you a copy of our categories.  BEV

Hi Linda! Thanks for the welcome.


Our church library was quite impressive when we took over, and is now, I think, even better.  At the time, I think it had , I believe, 9- 10,000 volumes, dvds and cd sets.  One of the first things we did, and have been doing ever since, was to pull duplicates and although I am not exactly sure what we have now, I'm pretty sure it's close to 7000.  

When we took the library, there was a main space with shelving, and a small office.  We took down the walls and got rid of the office.  We created a Children's Area, where we have all the picture books, easy readers, and Juvenile books (roughly gr. 2-5).  There is also a small bookcase where we display new kids' books.

Then we have sections for adult non-fiction, adult fiction, biographies, dvd's, cd sets, young adult books,  Bible Study Resources, and what we call PER - Parenting and Educational Resources.  Some of those areas are still in process of being evaluated and culled and improved.

We were able to get two comfortable armchairs and put them in a corner with a small table between them, and we purchased an L-shaped desk, with a storage cabinet above it, for the librarians' use.

We have a book-return box that sits outside the library.

We have two carts, like what you see in public libraries but smaller - one is used for items that need to be shelved, and the others to display new books.

We have done a lot with putting up magnetic signs on the shelves, indicating what is there, especially in the non-fiction area and PER.  We made some nice signs with Dewey designations, framed them, and hung them near the non-fiction books.  

We are doing a LOT of relabeling.  The previous librarian just used the "fic" designation, regardless of whether a book was adult, YA or J.  So we redid all of those.  Ditto with all the YA and J non-fiction.  The picture books were often labeled with Dewey numbers, which makes sense in that many of them were non-fiction, but is impractical and makes shelving harder than it needs to be, so we relabeled those JE (which is my public library's designation for picture books).

We have started a pre-school story time during Sunday School, for about 10 minutes - a different class each week of the month - K, 4's, 3's and 2's.  We have several women who volunteer for that and sometimes my friend and I pitch in as needed.  

We did a Battle of the Books reading program last summer for K-2 and 3-5, and will do that again this summer, plus we are adding a gr. 6-12 book club.

We started a facebook page for our church library, as a way to let people in the church know what is going on, and to share book reviews.  A fairly small percentage of the church has joined that page, and it doesn't get a ton of traffic, but we are seeing some activity there and it's a handy way for us to communicate with the hard-core library people!

Let me know if you have any questions!

WOW! You've really given your library a lot of reshaping & revitalization! Kudos to all your hard work and your connection with patrons. I'm totally impressed. I've been doing a lot of relabeling, but I don't think near the amount you've done. 

 

That's a neat way to use facebook for keeping people informed of what's happening. I consider the use of our church's website, but haven't as of yet approached our church secretary (pastor's wife) on that matter. The head librarian stepped down as of the 1st of this month, and so now I'm currently the only active librarian. Your ideas are quite inspiring and helpful.

 

Thank you for taking the time to share with us. I'd love to hear of any updates you may have in the future. 

Blessings . . .   

 

 

Thanks!  It has been a busy 16 months or so but it has been SO much fun.  We are both loving it.  My friend works full-time and I don't, so I generally have a lot more time to do the grunt-work, and I'm okay with that, because I love it.

One thing I forgot to mention is that we hated the on-line catalog system that the previous librarian was using, and after some experimentation and internet research, we have decided to use www.librarything.com.  So my current project is to enter our whole collection into it, which, as you can imagine, takes some time.  But it's going well and I love that system.  It is so easy to use.  It also tells me if books are part of a series, so we've labeled all of our adult fiction series with labels at the top of the spine - Series Name 1, Series Name 2, etc.  Our users have found this to be very helpful, and so have the committee members who do the shelving.

Re: the church website - our church is, I believe, in the process (or soon will be ) of improving and re-vamping its website, and when they do that, we are hoping to get a link to a library page on there, as well.  I don't really know how much traffic the website gets but if it is improved, it might get more!

Have you thought about getting a committee?  If you can, I highly recommend it.  For one thing, it takes some of the load off of you, especially for being there every Sunday.  We have about 10-11 people on ours, and different people are assigned to different Sundays (ie my husband and son always work the fourth Sunday of the month).  We have a couple of ladies who are always there on Wednesdays because their kids are in the Awana program.  We have one lady who is there two Sunday evenings per month.  All of this helps so that my friend and I don't have to be in there all the time...and also, we really WANT other people involved.  The previous librarian ran it all by herself, for the most part (her choice) and that made it, I think, harder for someone else to take over.  It's also very helpful to have other brains helping out with ideas, suggestions, and decision-making.  

Debbie

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