Virginia Church Library Association Celebrating 65 years Established November 12, 1958 Serving Together to Promote Church Library Ministry in the Commonwealth of Virginia and Beyond!
Virginia Church Library Association Celebrating 65 years Established November 12, 1958 Serving Together to Promote Church Library Ministry in the Commonwealth of Virginia and Beyond!

Starting A Church Library Ministry

Regardless of the age or size of your congregation, or the size or condition of your space, you can begin a church library ministry. Here are some suggestions to help you get started.

Get the support of your minister and congregation. Have the church vote to have a church library ministry.

Gather a willing, dedicated staff, usually consisting of at least a director and associate director. Have the nominating committee present these names for election.

Select a definite place in the church building for the library, ideally in a high-traffic area.

Write a mission statement to define the purpose of the ministry. It should include who does what for whom and why. (See Sample Mission Statement).

Write a selection policy that establishes guidelines for choosing and accepting media resources. Have it approved by the church. (See Sample Selection Policy).

Adopt a system for preparing and arranging media. The Dewey Decimal Classification

System and Sears List of Subject Headings are generally used in public school and church libraries.

A library software program is recommended. Affordable software is available, a computer and printer can sometimes be obtained from a church member who is updating their equipment.

Establish procedures for circulating media, such as the days and times the library will be open, and the length of circulation time.

Design your library space and furnishings. An attractive, inviting atmosphere facilitates the use of the library. (See Space and Furnishings).

Determine your funding needs and submit a budget to the appropriate church committee. (See Church Library Budget Planning and Basic Library Supplies).

Begin training the staff immediately through individual study or conferences offered by VCLA, (See the News & Events Tab), your local association, or state office. is a great resource for online training as well as a listing of training events.

Secure media for the library, via purchase, donation, or usable media found in the library.

Prepare media for circulation. This will be an ongoing task so don't hesitate to open the library with only a portion of the media processed.

Promote and open the library with fan-fare, decorations, refreshments, give-away bookmarks, and a dedication service so that the congregation knows that something special is happening in the life of the church.

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