Launching Canterbury Theological Library, Los Altos, CA
- July 16, 2023
- Steve Macias
Western Seminary has gifted us the library from their former San Jose campus. I’m very excited to have acquired over 3,000 books plus book carts and double-sided shelving.
Setting up our small theological library will be an exciting project.
Here are some steps that come to my mind as I am working through the process to make the books available for our community:
- Assessing the collection:
We have a general inventory of the 3,000+ books in an excel spreadsheet. I will need help categorizing them based on topics, such as biblical studies, theology, church history, practical ministry, counseling, and so on. This will give us a sense of the breadth and depth of the collection and help plan the library organization.
- Determine the library’s focus and purpose:
Clarify the purpose of our theological library. I am aiming to support personal study, academic research, training in ministry, and Sermon preparation. Identifying our library’s focus will also guide our future acquisitions and collection development. Associate the operation of the library as a ministry of Canterbury School and Saint Paul’s Anglican Church.
- Plan library layout and shelving:
Assess the available space and design a layout for the theological library. Determine the best arrangement for shelves, considering factors like accessibility, natural lighting, and adequate spacing between shelves. Group books logically, such as by subject or author’s last name, to facilitate ease of use.
- Organize and catalog books:
Develop a systematic cataloging system to keep track of the books. This could be done manually using index cards or spreadsheets, but I would like to use library software or online cataloging tools. We currently use Libib for our student library in the Canterbury School. I would assign each book a unique identifier and include essential information such as title, author, publication date, and subject. Barcode-based system seems best.
- Consider additional library resources:
Beyond books, consider including other resources such as website with materials catalogue, St. Paul’s presently has a significant collected of multimedia resources like DVDs or CDs especially from Ligonier and Chalcedon. Allocate appropriate space and determine how these resources will be organized and accessible within the library.
- Develop a borrowing system:
A theological library can be an “marketing” asset for our church and school to introduce likeminded people to our campus through these resources. I plan to allow others to borrow books from the library by establishing a borrowing system. This may involve creating borrower cards, tracking due dates, and implementing policies for loan periods and renewals.
- Expand the collection:
Continuously add new books and resources to enrich the library’s collection. Stay updated on new theological publications, attend book fairs, or consider online resources for acquiring both new and used books. Solicit recommendations and donations from scholars, pastors, organizations, or fellow enthusiasts to diversify the collection.
- Create a comfortable reading area:
Designate a comfortable space within the campus for reading and study. Include seating, good lighting, and perhaps a desk or table for note-taking or research. Would be open to the donation of an espresso machine.
- Promote and share the library:
If appropriate, let others know about the theological library and its availability. Organizing study groups, hosting workshops and seminars, or inviting others to utilize the resources we have curated.
- Maintain and preserve your collection:
Regularly clean and dust the books and shelves. Implement measures to protect your collection from pests, humidity, or direct sunlight. Consider investing in book covers, protective sleeves, or climate control devices if needed.
- Hiring part-time librarian for Canterbury School and Theological Library
By the start of 2024, I’d like to raise the funds to hire a qualified part-time librarian to manage administrative tasks and maintain the small library efficiently. I envision someone who can function one to two days a week for as the ” Canterbury School librarian” that helps administer school library as well as promote borrowing, on-campus book sales, literacy challenges, and partners with the local Mountain View and Los Altos Public Library system for field trips and borrowing. The librarian will be also responsible for organizing and cataloging the school and theological collection, implementing a user-friendly cataloging system, assisting patrons with research inquiries, and ensuring the library’s resources are readily accessible. Additionally, the librarian will oversee library administration, including record-keeping, managing borrowing procedures, and coordinating library events or workshops. The goal is to have the librarian in place in 2024, allowing for a smooth transition of responsibilities and enhancing the overall functionality and user experience of the small library.
- Developing Technology infrastructure: Determine the technology requirements for the library, including computer systems, wifi and internet access, security systems. Set up a reliable and user-friendly system to manage library operations effectively.
- Determine library hours: Decide on the regular operating hours of the library, taking into account the needs of your target audience, community preferences, and available resources. Consider factors such as Canterbury School schedules, volunteer base, and peak usage times to determine the optimal hours.