Equipping Church Librarians for Ministry


  • Equipping people to become librarians
  • Equipping librarians to develop library skills
  • Equipping librarians to understand and apply library ministry actions

 As a Church Library Ministry (CLM) team member, have you experienced the need to learn more about how to carry out your responsibilities? As a CLM team leader, have you ever wished you had an intentional curriculum to help you train your team members? That is what Equipping Church Librarians for Ministry is all about—a process for you to work through individually or with your team to learn basic library skills and concepts as well as refine and improve the ministry of your church’s library. 

 Why have an Equipping Process for Church Librarians?

An equipping process provides you with specific steps to guide you to learn how to carry out your responsibilities on the church library team. The steps include learning basic concepts that will enable you to become a church librarian. Based on these understandings, the next steps will enable you to develop the skills you need to carry out those responsibilities. You may learn how to do something in an easier way! Then as you start to think like a librarian and develop skills, you will be able to understand and apply sound library procedures. Consequently, the equipping process will enable you to provide your church family with a library that more and more members and guests will use in the years to come.

 What is the Equipping Church Librarians for Ministry Process?

The Equipping Church Librarians for Ministry Process is a flexible, easy to use guide for team leaders to use with their team members or for team members to use individually. The process involves the five church library ministry areas — Connecting CLM with the Church, CLM Administration, CLM Collection Development, CLM Classification & Cataloging, CLM Promotion. The process also includes a ministry area that is often carried out by church librarians through a plan for Preparing the History of Your Church and Library. A seventh plan, CLM Orientation, is designed for new church library team members to use as they determine which library responsibility matches their interests, spiritual gifts, passions, and abilities. These seven plans are designed to equip your library team for every aspect of church library ministry.

 Each ministry area plan has a minimum of 4 courses. A few ministry areas have 5-6 courses—the extra courses are considered electives. Each course has Course Requirements. The Course Requirements include a minimum of 5 actions such as reading specific pages in the Church Library Ministry Information Service and/or web site articles or participating in a related conference, interviewing a librarian or visiting another library, developing something related to the ministry area, implementing what you have developed, and evaluating what you have implemented. The course requirements when not attending a conference include a variety of experiences as he or she completes the requirements for each course.

 The Equipping Church Librarians Plans and Courses:

1.   Connecting the Church Library with the Church

       A.   Connecting with the Ministries of the Church

       B.   Connecting with the Age Groups

       C.   Connecting with Spiritual Growth of Individuals

       D.   Connecting with Biblical Literacy

2.   Church Library Ministry Administration

       A.   Church Library Ministry Design

       B.   Planning & Budgeting

       C.   Team Building

       D.   Policy Development

       E.   Space and Furnishings

3.   Church Library Ministry Collection Development

       A.    Selecting Media

       B.    Circulation

       C.    Inventory & Weeding

       D.    Book Repair

4.   Church Library Ministry Classification & Subject Cataloging

       A.   Classification

       B.   Subject Cataloging

       C.   Processing

       D.   Preparing for Automation in the Church Library

       E.   Improving Ministry Through Automation in the Church Library

5.   Church Library Promotion

      A.   Promotion Planning

      B.   Visual Promotion

      C.    Print Promotion

      D.   Promotion Activities

6.   Preparing History for Your Church and Library (To Be Added)

       A.   Collecting and Preserving the History of Your Church and Library

       B.   Writing the History of Your Church and Library

       C.   Promoting the History of Your Church and Library

       D.   Celebrating the Heritage of Your Church and Library

7.   Church Library Orientation

       A.   Church Library Ministry Administration Overview

        B.   Church Library Ministry Collection Development

        C.   Church Library Ministry Classification and Cataloging

        D.   Church Library Ministry Promotion

        E.   Preparing the History of Your Church and Library Overview (To Be Added)

 Who uses the Equipping Church Librarians for Ministry Process?  

  1. Potential or New librarians use the CLM Orientation Plan as a way to discover which specific CLM responsibility best fits their individual spiritual gifts, abilities, skill sets, passions, and interests.
  2. Team members use the equipping process with or without the team to better grasp the overall ministry of the church library and continually enhance their skills and abilities with new ideas.
  3. Team leaders use the process as a curriculum guide to train team members.

 When to use the Equipping Church Librarians for Ministry Process?

  1. Conferences are a great way to accomplish the steps in the equipping process with the expertise of a conference leader. You can complete one course by participating in a conference. Conference leaders may encourage you to develop and implement an action as a follow up to the conference that follows course requirements.
  2. Team Meetings can be excellent times for team members to work through the course requirements together. The team leader may lead this portion of a meeting or delegate it to one of the team members.
  3. Individual team members can work through the course requirements by themselves at their own pace.

 Where to use the Equipping Church Librarians for Ministry Process?

  1. Location depends on the requirement and if you are doing it as an individual or with a group. Some requirements will need to be done in the library such as implementing a classification action. Other requirements such as reading and developing something can be done at home or in a coffee shop. Obviously, visiting-a-library types of requirements will send you off campus.
  2. To find a church librarian to interview or visit, contact your associational or state convention office or go to Members or your state's group on this CLN. You will find almost 2000 church librarians to contact through the CLN.

 How to use the Equipping Church Librarians for Ministry Process? 

Team members may use the equipping process on their own without their teams.

  1. Select a plan and a course from the Equipping Church Librarians  Plans by going to ECLM on the CLN.
  2. Work through the course requirements for the selected course or participate in a 2.5 hour conference that relates to the course.
  3. When you complete the requirements for a course, record your completion on the free Book Marks (Color or Black & White).  Repeat the same procedure for each course.
  4. You may work on one plan at a time or move from plan to plan.


Team Leaders may use the process as a stepping stone to developing an equipping process for their specific teams.

  1. To avoid overwhelming your team members, you may only give team members the Equipping process Book Marks (Color or Black & White) as they go through the specific steps together.
  2. Follow the process given for individual team members as you lead your team to complete each requirement together.
  3. You may work on one plan at a time or move from plan to plan.


How do I record completed course requirements and courses?

  1. The Book Marks are an easy to use tool for team leaders to record accomplishments of individual team members and for individuals to track their own accomplishments.
  2. Course certificates can also be used as a way to record accomplishments. Feel free to create your own certificates to use with your team. LifeWay no longer provides certificates.
  3. You are welcome to develop your own record system and design your own certificates.


Resources used by the Equipping Church Librarians for Ministry Process

  1. Most courses include a reading assignment in the resource, Church Library Ministry Information Service.
  2. Courses related to classification and cataloging use the book A Classification System for Church Librarians
  3. Two free online books written by Charles Businaro are used with the appropriate courses:

            A.   Creating Promotion that Communicates

            B.   Space, Furnishings, and Interior Design

     4.  The interview and visit assignments refer to The Church Librarians

           Network's Member page or Groups as a resource for connecting with other librarians.