Forty Years And Growing

Our church library was started, I believe, about 40 years ago.  At the time it consisted of just a few shelves.  About 36 years ago, it was taken over by a dedicated lady in our church who grew the library to thousands of items and a good circulation.  When a new sanctuary was built, she was able to have a space for the library added right near one of the exits, just steps away from the sanctuary and that visibility has been such a boon for us.


Six and a half years ago, I was able to join the committee formed by my friend who took over the library, and now the two of us run it together, along with the help of about eight other invaluable committee members.  During those years, we have made many changes: weeding, re-organizing, taking down walls to create a more open space, painting walls, purchasing book-related artwork, utilizing a new cataloging system which better meets our needs, and so much more.


For a while we conducted pre-school story times during Sunday school or Church Time; we've run a summer reading program every summer since we started this venture; we've also sponsored adult reading challenges during the winter; we started producing a monthly newsletter in the fall of 2016. Our library is used by a good proportion of the congregation and there are plenty of people who come in every single week.  Circulation numbers are good and we believe we are meeting needs and encouraging our members.  We also have good support from our pastors, which we do not take for granted!


Our church bulletin states that our church's purpose is "Developing fully devoted followers of Christ".  Our library has adapted that statement for our own newsletters: as a part of our church's goal, ours is "Equipping fully devoted followers of Christ".  We try to keep that goal in mind in everything we do.

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  • Thank you for sharing! It's amazing how God works through the vision of many. It sure is helpful to have supportive leadership within the church. May God continue to bless your library ministry.
  • I hope to adapt this Idea for our library. Our pastor is not as supportive and wants us to change from a tiyical library to a "Hang-Out" gathering place with coffee, missions central, book store. I think he thinks if people sit in the library they will learn by osmosis. we are actually visiting other libraries to get ideas for what he wants. So far they have still been typical libraries. 

    • Oh I wish we had a space big enough to also be a "hang-out" - though I confess I'm not in favor of a bookstore, but if that's what it takes I guess I'd learn to live with it! We have discussed how nice it would be to have a library big enough for some tables and chairs so it could be used for personal study, groups, committees...but there really isn't any available space in our church for this. On top of that ... even if there were, I would be reluctant to give up our present location, right by one of the main doors and close to the sanctuary.
      • Interesting! Sort of like your location, our main library is off of the main foyer which leads to the sanctuary. The librarian before me was planning the room in a certain way, but without communicating with her a huge wooden table was built for committees. (This was done in memory of someone who passed away.) This librarian had a great & gracious spirit about things, but I often wonder how the room would feel differently without the huge wooden table that fills in much of the room. One needs to walk around the table to access the library media which hugs all the walls.

        The positive about the huge sturdy wooden table, is the meeting of groups in the library room. Study groups and committees meet regularly in there --- well, it's a bit different now since COVID. It's hard to say how much that increases checkout. I guess it does make it in the forefront of people's minds since we always refer to this room as the Library Room!

        As a bit of background - we built & then moved into our current building 2013 with the Library Room designated for the church's library. Due to budget & needing to pay off mortgage (which is now much less since selling our previous land/building), shelving still needs to be built. We're using thrift finds and some shelving from the previous building. Another subject!

        I wonder? The librarian before thought to have window seats made. Although there are many cushioned chairs around the wooden table, a window seat or two can "invite" one to relax & read. I hope to carry this on through. Do you have any windows in your room? Would this even be a possibility? Or maybe a cushioned chest of sorts?

        I love your location for the library --close to the main doors & the sanctuary! That's awesome! It would be so fun to take a tour of everyone's libraries.
        • Oh and also, we have a video that is a tour of our library, which we created for the ECLA fall conference! (ECLA is the Evangelical Church Library Association,
        • We do have two windows but they are both located behind the librarian's desk area, so that's not an option. I do love the idea though!
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