Last month I was helping the librarian on a majjor project and now she is moving out-of-state.  Suddenly I am the new librarian.  I have many years experience in a school, public, and academic libraries, but none in  a church.

  My question-- are your church libraries staffed full or part-time?  At present ours is a voluntary position and I am wondering how to handle checkouts.

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The majority of church librarians are volunteers.  I fall into that category because my children moved on into the Youth and I was done teaching Sunday School.  This was a nice transition as I love children and books.  Many librarians are retired library science majors and this is helpful in dealing with Dewey Decimal system.  The original librarian at our church was a professional librarian, but she was wise enough to set up our library using categories/subject headings.  When a library is small, I personally prefer this system vs. cataloging each book to the most detailed DD number.  If you are small and want a listing of some of my categories I would be happy to share them.  I've been the librarian for 30 years and it keeps me young!  I do receive a gift from the church at the end of the year.  I am a volunteer because I believe God as called me to serve in the Library and I have been rewarded over and over again through smiling faces leaving the library with a stack of books under they arm - that's my payment.   Could you define your comment about handling the checkouts?  Peace to you.


  I would love a list of the categories.  

  Our checkout is on the honor system.  The patron writes his/her name and date on the book card and leaves it in a box on my desk. Since our circulation numbers are small, I can leaf through the cards and send a reminder to anyone who has had a itm out for an extended time.


Congratulations on being the "Suddenly New Librarian". The good news is that there are many "helps" right here on the Church Librarian's Ning! I believe Bev said it well in regard to how our CL ministries are staffed. How exactly can we help with how to handle checkouts. Are you asking about coverage or automation vs. manual checkouts? 

Joyfully DeAnn

 Although our catalog is on a computer, checkout will probably still be done manually on the honor system. Currently,people just sign the book card and leave the card in a box in the library.  Unless I can come up with another system, I guess I'll just have t hand enter the checkouts into the computer each week.

Margaret, please send me your mailing address or e-mail address and I can send a copy of the categories as an attachment.  I use the spreadsheet, Windows Excel as it gives me all the information that I need to process the books, inventory, etc.  I do not use bar coding.  I use the card and pocket method and have the patron sign the card and put it in a basket.  The library is staffed, but check out is manual.  I file the cards by author in 3 categories of Children, Adult, and DVD's.  Just let me know your needs and I'll send the items to you.  Bev

My email address is

My library operates on self-checkout also.  You didn't say how long you allow patrons to keep material out.  My period is one month.  It would be wise to keep a calendar near where your checkout tray is because people don't always know today's date.  Some patrons will not know or remember how long your checkout period is. It's a good idea to post your circulation policies in a highly visible place, but some folks will still not see it.  So I put an extra card in the pocket behind the borrower's card. At the top of it is stamped in red, "ALL ITEMS DUE IN ONE MONTH.  TODAY'S DATE IS:"  Below this, patrons write today's date and keep the card in the pocket.  So when they pick up the book, they'll always see when it is due back.  I also ask them to write their email addresses below their names on the borrower's card.  This is because I send overdue notices by email.



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