Sunday, June 22, 2008

Church Librarians Are Your Friend--And Vice-Versa

I've just returned from speaking to a regional meeting of church librarians. Once again, I was reminded that we Baptists are a hospitable people, and that includes feeding guests well. The folks of Harmony Hills Baptist Church in Lufkin, Texas, did a magnificent job of hosting the event.

I discovered that the women and men who maintain the libraries of our churches take their responsibilities seriously. This is a labor of love for them, and they expend lots of time and effort--often unrecognized by those who use the library--in keeping the resources up-to-date and accessible. This wasn't just a social get-together. There were classes on the Dewey Decimal System (doesn't that take you back to high school?) and classification. Workshops helped provide and upgrade computer proficiency for librarians. And attendees learned new ways to promote the church library. I experienced this firsthand when I saw the posters over every...shall we say, every bit of porcelain in the men's room, all urging the user to visit the church library.

In my closing remarks, I tried to emphasize that the church library is for the entire family (the theme of this year's conference), but that those books are there because someone cared enough to write them. Someone sweated and cried to get the words right, struggled to find an agent and editor who would accept them, corrected the galleys and helped choose cover art, and continued to get the word out about them even after publication. When the book appears in the church library, the librarians become partners with those authors, helping put the right books in the hands of the readers. Only when a book is read does it begin to satisfy the reason for which it was written.

If you're a published author, I hope you've made liberal donations of your work to your church library and others around you. If you're not yet published but have learned something about the inner workings of publishing on your journey, offer to share these with the staff of your church library over coffee sometime. They were fascinated (and sometimes shocked) to hear the things I presented during my class.

The church library is an important resource. The people who staff it provide a valuable service to the congregation. I salute them.

1 comment:

michael"DEE"house said...
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