One of our new members, Deborah Gray, suggested we have a group for those who serve with children's libraries. Or perhaps those who are considering one. Or those who have mobile libraries they take to the children's area on a scheduled basis. Our purpose here is to share our stories, ideas, and discuss concerns.
A simple, but two-fold question: How do you handle board books? 1. Do you process your board books for loaning? Right now, I just am gathering a little basket of board books for "Taking" with option of returning. I don't enter or list board books as part of the whole collection. I think of it as gifting the books to others. My thought in addition is that these books would be accessible for gatherings to entertain little ones. 2. COVID concerns: I saw on the other thread the question of how to…Read more…
I wonder . . . Do you still use pocket cards, or is everything online or on a computer system? It seems as if you're a much larger operation than what I'm involved in, but our whole library is setup with a self-service system. In essence, it's on an honor system with tracking. We don't hold certain library hours - our library is open for self-browsing whenever people are in our church building.
Example: For our Children's/Junior books (Preschool through about age 12), which sit in 2 Sunday School rooms, we provide a 2-prong approach for the process of borrowing. It may seem a bit much or confusing for some, and yet what has been working for our library is to offer a choice of either cards or to scan the barcode at self-checkout. So in each book I place the pockets with the card and then I also place the barcode to be scanned on each item. If someone uses a card to borrow a book, I personally process the loan into our online system. Some parents choose to self-scan the barcode, which in this case I don't do anything with the card except to make sure it's still there upon return.
I have a little checkout system in each Sunday School room, but the scanning system is in the main library room.
I think it would be quite awesome if you could find the right nook near the children's area for the children's items, whether it's separate from the Sunday School rooms or whether the books sit within the Sunday School rooms. Maybe your "yet again" situation can end up being a wonderful blessing. I'm praying for you and your church's library ministry as I respond here.
If you use the honor system, I'd guess you should prepare to lose a lot of books. I mean, it happens anyway, but in this situation, you'd have no idea who has books. If I were in your shoes I'd try one of several other things first: 1. Can you get the kids' teachers to commit to spending a bit of time each Sunday helping kids check out books? Or 2. can a library volunteer go into each classroom and do it? Or if you don't have a committee, as we do, can you find some folks who would be willing to do this, say, one Sunday a month? In any of these scenarios, at least you'd know where the books are, and the kids would be learning library etiquette. You could then also send an email (In my church this would be done through the office) to the parents in the congregation, and explain how kids are checking out books, with a reminder of how long your loan period is.
Background: When our church moved from our smaller to now bigger building, this allowed for more development of our media collection. During the first two years from 2013-2015 I went through each book in the media from our youngest up to high school age. Weeding and relabeling and also replacing while making sure we have complete series took oodles of time. The collection for our young attenders divide now into three sections: Children’s Collection, Junior Collection, and Youth Collection. Also, with lots of prayer & consultation I worked to develop an organizational plan for the Children’s Collection, which I hope to soon refine better.
Location & Operation Note: Most of our collection sits in the main library room. The Children’s Collection and the Junior Collection each sit in their own Sunday School rooms. All audiovisuals are in the main library room. We operate as a self-serve system and have an online catalogue. Our “official” library team is small, but there are a number of interested people who like to have input with our library including the Children’s Collection & Youth Collection.
Activity: COVID-19 changes the dynamics of our library, as I’m sure it has with all of us. I’m excited to see what creative ideas flow from this group. Being a small church, the age ranges do scatter a bit. One of my sayings that I’d hear my preacher Dad quote quite often about being a minister applies to our library ministry. That is, “to be prepared in and out of season”.
I look forward to seeing verbal exchange particularly related to library media for all of our young ones!
Blessings to all,
Note: I deleted the previous content and replaced it with this hopefully better version. :)
Usually, Children's Ministry does all the children's activities. Last year, our assistant librarian headed up a Summer reading program in which we bought new books for the participants. I believe each church works out what is best for them in walking alongside each other in reaching out to others as together we enhance the church's mission.