Is there a UMC library consortium? Either nationally or regional/city? I am in Dallas, have a small library (5000 or so titles), still on physical paper cards for borrowers, though keep my database in Bookcat (which is now defunct and not supported). I have no budget, but need to get everything automated so patrons can at least search items online. Right now is honor system for circulation. If I can get a decent, inexpensive system, I will propose a budget line item. I have reviewed a number of them, and ease of converting my current system is a bit daunting.
I don't know of a United Methodist consortium. I have been participating in the Baptist church groups in Tennessee and Alabama. I would like to communicate with other Methodist church librarians. I am in the process of getting our church library to be functional. I could use lots of help with knowing what to keep and what to discard. The Baptist church has a fabulous network and has been very helpful. I have been able to attend workshops on library administration, creating a policy and procedures manual, and creating attractive displays.
As far as automation, I am very pleased with Book Systems. The company was started because of requests from church librarians. They offer different levels of automation depending on your needs (catalog only, catalog and circulation, etc.). Their prices are based on the church budget. They are based in Hunstville, AL. Their information is on this website because they are one of the sponsors. They are a family-owned business that is willing to work with their customers any way they can.
I may be partial to Book Systems because I work for them part-time. The Baptist librarians that I know don't use any other automation system. In fact, out of all the librarians I know Book Systems is the only company they use. If you have not contacted them yet, I think it would be worth your while.
I hope this has been helpful.
Thanks for the weeding tips. I have been an elementary school librarian for almost 20 years. I am trying to get my church library functioning. Right now it is a holding tank for donated books.
That's interesting that your children's books are not that popular.
Back to automation - Book Systems has two products - Concourse (windows-based) and Atriuum (web-based). Concourse has the different levels of operation. You can purchase eZcat which is a product that searches numerous databases (Library of Congress being one of them). Once you find the MARC record that matches your item, with a couple of clicks the MARC record is added to Concourse.
Atriuum comes with everything. It has a Quick Cataloging feature. You can search items by ISBN, title and author, series title, or keyword. Again, once you find the right MARC record you do one click and the data is in Atriuum. The company can also help you get your data in the system.
It doesn't cost anything to have a demo of the program(s).