Morning from Sunny South Africa

We are trying to organize books into a library. I looked at Dewey but most of the congregation would not understand this as the church has predominantly people over 60 who do not even own computers or use Internet. 

I am looking for a list of easy subject heading churches use to shelve Christian books e.g. bible studies, books about Jesus, God etc according to topics. Also need advice on a filing system for the reading books. e.g. Cross and Switchblade.

Would you file Jesus, God and Holy Spirit under Trinity or separate?

Any suggestions. 

We also need newer books - how do you get donations of Christian literature? Some of ours are so old, paper is rusted and printing is so tiny I don't think our geriatrics will be able to read them.'

Blessings Gwanny D'

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We use the Dewey Decimal system in our library, but I also put labels on the shelves.  You could use Bibles, Commentaries, God, Holy Spirit, Jesus, Spiritual warfare, Heaven, Christian virtues, Devotions, Prayer, Christian Life, Men's interests, Women's interests, Suffering/Bereavement, Missions, Other faiths, Marriage, Finances, Parenting,  etc.  We shelve biographies in alphabetical order by the subject's last name, not the author's name.  Fiction is shelved in alphabetical order by the author's last name.  Donations an be tricky.  I am blessed to have people who donate regularly, but it wasn't always that way, but it seems word of mouth has brought donations  to us rather than any publicity on our part.  A lot of our seniors are looking to simplify, cull, or simply downsize.  I take any donation, but explain when I do that if it's something we can't use, I will find a home for it.  Most people simply don't care; they just want to be rid of it.  Some of them wind up going to Goodwill, the Salvation Army, or into a monthly book sale that we have.  I have a library open house in October, the anniversary of the move to our current location which always brings new people in.  If it's possible, you might trying putting something in the Sunday bulletin, inviting people to visit the library.  You could hand out a flyer of items you can use to those who come.  We also have a standard letter that we can provide to those who donate and want to claim it on their income tax return.  I hope this helps.  I wish you well.  Susan

I would do God, Jesus Holy Spirit separate as there are books that talk about them individually you might consider other headings like Family, Prayer and Christian living in the future As for fiction ABC order by author is pretty standard

You could use the BISAC Subject Headings. They are what most bookstores use. You can find the Religion headings here: There is a separate category for Bibles:

I tend to prefer Dewey because what do you do when a book comes along which doesn't fit with any of the subject headings you have in place?  That's what Dewey does for you - has a place for everything.  

Until very recently, we did not have a way for patrons to look things up; if they wanted a book about, say, the Holy Spirit, they'd ask the librarian on duty, who would look it up in our catalog and tell them where to look.

We did, however, add some small signs in the non-fiction area, to indicate some of the major topics that are housed on each bookcase, to assist in browsing.  However, most people are browsing in the fiction, not non-fiction area.

As far as fiction, we just label them FIC and the first three letters of the author's last name, and shelve them alphabetically.  If they are Young Adult, we use YA FIC, and J FIC for elementary age books.

As far as your books - if they are very old and hard to read, I'd get rid of them.  We, too, accept donations from our people but tell them up front that if we don't want them, we will put them in our sale, or give them to the Gospel Misison.  Most people are just happy to be rid of them; only once has someone asked for them to be returned to her if we didn't need them.

Not free, but you can sometimes find inexpensive Christian books at thrift stores.  Yard sales.

There is a very helpful resource written especially for church libraries titled: Church Library Ministry Information Service.  It is available from the website as a download for $14.99.  It is divided into four sections: 1. Administration, 2. Classification & Subject Cataloging for Church Libraries, 3. Collection Development, and 4. Promotion.  The Subject Cataloging is based on Sears List of Subject Headings, but also includes subject headings unique to church libraries.  It is what many church libraries have used for many years and is a GREAT resource for church libraries!

Nice shelves.

Fiction by Author, Non Fiction by subject.



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