October is the month to celebrate church libraries or media centers as some are now known. Have you visited your own church library/media center lately? They are truly untapped resources for so much information.
Most church media centers are run by a dedicated team of volunteers who spend time behind the scenes cataloging books, shelving books, checking out books, organizing, and basically running the facility in a manner similar to a public library. Books are logged in using the Dewey Decimal System, bound if needed, and entered into their internal tracking system so that the volunteer staff knows how many books they have, where the duplicates are, and which books are currently checked out. In many cases, books are donated, dedicated, or given in honor of a church or family member, so it’s a continual process.
While this is a mostly volunteer endeavor, there are training options available on a fairly regular basis, as well as reference materials if a question arises. If you’ve thought about working in a library or have a love of books, this type of volunteer work might be right for you.
What can you find in a media center? Reference materials (church histories, Biblical reference materials, and references on most subject matter), biographies and autobiographies, Christian fiction, non-fiction, devotions, self-help, usually a children’s section, as well as selections of DVDs, or CDs.
The reference materials are a storehouse of information. In many cases, the first step in coming to terms with an event is reading about how to deal with an issue such as grief/loss, family dilemmas, financial issues, teenage concerns, or just daily obstacles. It’s likely that you’ll find a good reference source in your church media center. Maybe from that resource, you decide that talking to someone or seeking professional guidance is the next step.
What child or teenager hasn’t waited until Saturday night or Sunday to mention that a project is due the first of the week (i.e., Monday) that requires references? You remember; we’ve all done that. Since many times, the public libraries are closed, your go-to is the church media center. That’s where the untapped resources come into play. Need a biography or a citation source for a paper? Look for it there. Need a new approach for a project? Check some of the ideas on those media center shelves. Maybe a call to someone working in the media center is a good idea so you can get the tool(s) needed for that last minute project.
For lovers of Christian fiction, it’s hard not to clear a shelf when you see multiple books by your favorite writer. Pace yourself; they’ll be there ready when you finish the stack you’ve already got in your hands.
And, the children’s corner. So many Bible stories, Veggie Tales, and more to pick from. What better way to start a child on the love of reading than those?
Media centers have ideas for family times as well. Most centers have a selection of family-friends DVDs, game ideas, or music to select for a special evening at home.
With the high costs of family entertainment and books in general, why not take advantage of your own church media center. Save money on the family budget, spend time together, and just have fun. With the cool evenings coming up, a bowl of popcorn, hot chocolate, and a movie sounds like just the ticket!