Reflections On Creating a Church Library

By: Rachel Lyle, February 17th, 2017

Over this past summer I had the privilege of creating a library for my church. At the time my pastor knew that I wanted to be a Children’s Librarian and he also had a collection of christian/religious books that he wanted to turn into a library for the members of the church. He also knew that I needed experience in my career field in order to graduate, so he came to me and asked if I would create a library using the books he had. This past summer being after my first year of literature courses, I was able to use the literary analysis skills I had developed in order to figure out how to categorize the specific subject of each book.

During this process I had to create a certain number of goals and learning objectives to reach throughout the process of which I set three for myself. I managed to reach all of them but at this point I realize it was hard to do and it was also hard to finish the project.

Through the learning objectives and goals that I set for myself at the beginning of the summer, I have learned many new things and developed many new professional skills towards them and I was able to use the things I learned and the skills I developed to reach these objectives and goals in a satisfying way that shows I grew and developed as a person.

My first learning objective was to learn to create a system for a circulating library. I believe I did this through the research that I did of the kinds of systems in use for circulating libraries in existence today. I was able to modify some systems to fit the amount of books that I had and create a system that would be easily understandable by myself my pastor and those utilizing the library. I can now circulate books with what could be called a “Check-Out Card” and a due date card. The “Check-Out Card” can help me to communicate with others by phone to remind them when the book is due back or if it is late I can remind them that it needs to come back soon and I can see if they want to renew it in order to finish it if they aren’t done with it yet. I can use the communication skills in this way. I also already used my communication skills to find out from the pastor which books to be included and not included in the library and was okay to do with the books and what was not okay to do with books and what needed to be done and had already been

done in order for the system to be finished and work not just in theory but in practicality and in real use as well. In the process or reaching this learning objective I was able to use and develop my research and communication skills as well as put to use my creativity in the way I was able to create a system that worked for the amount and type of books available to me as well as for those who would be utilizing the books in the library and the library itself in the future.

My second learning objective was to learn how to keep track of circulating books listed in a catalog. I can clearly see that I did this by looking at the system I created in the process of creating a library. I was able to once again put my research skills to good use this way and develop them more through this learning objective. I clearly learn how to keep track of the books in the library because of the way I came up with the use of a card catalog and “Check-Out Cards”. Through the use of the filled out “Check-Out Cards” I have in the system I will know which books have been checked out of the library and need to make sure come back on time and through the use of a card catalog I can see which other books are in the system and are not currently checked-out. I can also make use of my communication skills through the use of phone numbers to find out which books are coming back too and which ones need to be renewed, are due back soon, or are late. I now understand many ways of keeping track of books in a circulating library system through the research that I have done this summer.

My third learning objective was to learn how to organize and catalog books in a logical way. Through research in existing cataloging systems I was able to figure out how to modify the Dewey Decimal System with my creativity skills in way that is easily understood and organized. I can now catalog books in an organized manner and know which books go in which Dewey Decimal System category and when I finally got to shelve the books in the building we moved into as a church I was able do it in order of the Dewey Decimal System and organized them in a way that the books that are wanted or need can easily be found and accessed by all who utilize the library including myself and the pastor. I have now a better understanding of the Dewey Decimal System and know how to make it more easily understood by everyone and therefore can categorize, catalog, and organize the books in a logical way that is understood by everyone utilizing the library in the future.

My fourth learning objective was to learn how a library system works for those who utilize it. I was able to do this by putting myself in the position of the other members of the church who would be using the library. I was able to do this by asking, “If I was one of the other members of the church what parts of the library would I want to understand, and how would I be able to understand them?” I realized that they would need to understand what kind of books go in wha category and where to find each book as well as know which books are available to them and which ones are not as well as how to check-out the books available to them in the library. By doing this I was able to understand more of the position of the other members of the church utilizing the library and I was and able to better reach this learning objective. This was also a hard since almost all of the books were on a topic having to do with either religion or Christianity in some way or another so I had to work mostly inside of a section of the Dewey Decimal System consisting of only one hundred categorizing numbers, whereas the Dewey Decimal System consists of about one thousand categorizing numbers.


The skills that I talked about above were shown to my supervisor by my interactions with him and how those interactions went. I showed my communication skills by telling him what I was doing in every step of the process in a way that he understood and in a way that he could questions, help me to better understand what he wanted as well as to help him better understand what I was doing and how everything was going and what was still left to be done to finish the process. My use of my research skills showed my supervisor that I had understanding of the process I needed to go through to finish the library and an understanding of what I needed to know and do to keep the process going till the end. I also showed my supervisor my ability to step into someone else’s shoes, and see things from another persons perspective by the way I communicated with him. I explained things to him in a way that he, being a pastor who has almost no knowledge of how a library works, would understand and showed hime what i was doing each and every step of the way so that he would understand my system and it didn’t seem too complicated for him to understand and know exactly what I was doing. Because he could see these skills being used my supervisor was able to see these skills grow and develop in me throughout this process.


This process of creating a library for my church has given me a better understanding of how libraries work in both the way it works for those who utilize it as well as for those who catalog and organize, and keep track of the books in the system and update the system and keep it going as needed. I feel I have much more experience in a library system and how it works because of this process of creating a library for my church. Because of this experience I am now much closer to my goal of being a Children’s Librarian and will hopefully also help me in the rest of my undergrad courses and help me to get into a master’s program and to better understand what I will be learning in the courses in my graduate program for a master’s degree.

These skills and many other can help me on the path to my career as a Children’s Librarian especially in job interviews because it will show that I am a good fit for the position because I have some experience and a good size understanding of what goes into the position and the job of a Children’s Librarian. It will also help me in my personal branding especially in my 30-second spot because I can explain that I have experience in the area of Children’s Librarian and can do it in a clear concise way that people will understand and notice and it will help me to stand out from the other candidates in running for he job positions I apply for and help me to be more likely to get a position as a Children’s Librarian. It will also be able to help me in these positions because I will also be able to better help those utilizing whatever library I work in because I better understand what they need and can help them to find and get it.


Through the process of creating a library for my church I was able to develop better skills in the areas of communication, organization, and research and I developed an ability to see things from another’s point of view. This will help me in my career path because it allowed me to gain experience in my career field and gives me an advantage over other in my career field who didn’t get this experience.

As I look back on this experience now I realize that the process was hard but I had a lot of fun doing it and  through this new experience I learned a lot of new things and developed a lot of new skills that will be helpful to me in many different areas later in life.

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