Creating and Maintaining a Parish Library


by Judy Terry
St. John Church + Memphis, TN

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INTRODUCTION

You have found this link because you have volunteered or been asked to organize your church’s library. Get ready for a fun job! I say fun, because you get to wear many hats: storyteller, public relations specialist, creative director, detective, CEO, and data-entry clerk!

The bad news is that the job is time-consuming on the front end and the pay is low, or probably non-existent. But the good news is that you are bringing the life of the Church and the lives of holy men and women to adults and children seeking the Kingdom of God. And there’s even more good news! You don’t have to do this alone, and you are probably the only person who will know if you make a mistake.

This article will take you step-by-step through setting up your library. Some of you are starting from scratch with a box full of books in the parish hall. Some of you have a room with a bunch of old books that have been gathering dust for ten years. Some have inherited a functioning library from someone who has moved out of town. Managing a library can be very intimidating. Most of you are volunteers, perhaps former or active school teachers or just folks who like to read. Notice, I did not say you need to be a professional librarian!

Scroll through the article and you will find information on choosing a suitable and attractive location, selecting resources, organizing the books and media, shopping for supplies, getting your titles ready to check out, promoting your library, and finding other sources for advice and ideas. Take a look at the Table of Contents on the next page so you can jump into whichever section/s you need.

And remember, if you really get stuck or want to throw in the towel, there are some professional librarians in parishes who are a mouse click or phone call away and are happy to listen to you and answer your questions.

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