Planning a Church Library
May 1, 2023 — One of my new goals is to plan a church library for our mid-sized congregation of ECO Presbyterians here in Arkansas. A great resource that I found to help with this is the Church Librarians’ Network. This online group is coordinated by Morlee Maynard. The URL is churchLibrarians.NING.com. The mission of this NING is “…to learn from each other as we seek to connect people with books and media which glorify God and transform lives.”
Wait… What’s a NING?
NINGs have been around since 2005, but you might be unfamiliar with them. They are set up similiarly to other social media sites, like Facebook, but allow the coordinator to have more local control over the ins and outs. In this NING, Maynard facilitates conversation among those who join, sets up avenues for sharing information, provides resources such as photos, and sells resources to help those involved in church library ministry.
A Virtual File Cabinet for Church Librarians
As I’ve had time to sift through this site, I’ve been happy to find a huge assortment of resources that are helping me get off to a strong start. Everything is well-organized into red-tabbed sections such as Q&A, Articles, Resources, and so on. There are also designated places to journal your own process, find related websites, learn about library automation software, and make connections with others who are involved in a library ministry. There’s even a place to discuss what you’ve been reading… of course! That’s our favorite, right?
Training for Church Library Ministries
One particularly interesting tab reads “EQUIP.” If you are not already a librarian and feel completely stumped about how to get started, this section may be helpful to you as you begin to plan your church library. Training modules are lined out for a document called Church Library Ministry Information Service. This is a PDF download that’s available for purchase through Lifeway, a Christian bookseller. (The cost on May 1, 2023 was $14.99.) The document is marketed as 150 pages of information about “…administration, cataloging and classification, collection development, and promotion.” Since I was not able to see a copyright, I am holding off on this for now, but if I decide to purchase it, I will share my review.
But first things first… in order to use the NING, you will need to request a membership, which is free. One of the perks of joining is receiving a helpful “get started” document as well as a weekly Monday morning newsletter with links back to conversation threads concerning everything from free library supplies to VBS to recruiting volunteers. Start here — Church Librarian’s Network Link
As someone who has been a school librarian for over 25 years, I am happy to have found a specialized niche with resources for library ministry! Stay tuned for more about my journey to build a church library.