Fall Workshops 2018

The TCACLA board has begun making plans for the Fall meeting workshops. They would love to get your suggestions for workshop topics. There is a place on the meeting registration form for you to provide them. Not able to come to the Spring meeting? Send your workshop suggestions to

Workshop Highlights Fall 2017

Workshop Information for the
TCACLA Fall 2017 Workshop

Devotions given by Natalia Terfa, the Associate Pastor from Prince of Peace Lutheran church. (printed with permission)

Natalia 1

Natalia 2

Natalia 3


This pdf was a presentation by Chris Magnusson
“Social Networking in Church Libraries”.
Social Networking in Church Libraries


The following information was provided at our TCACLA Fall Workshop.  We would like to acknowledge that it came from the Pacific Northwest Association of Church Libraries which provides an amazing amount of information to assist church librarians.  The following is a sample of information provided on their website.



The ________________ church library is open to all members of the congregation. In support of the mission statement of the church, the library committee seeks to provide materials that enrich our members spiritually, intellectually, socially, and artistically. To this end we will select materials that deepen our relationship with Jesus Christ, strengthen the educational work of the church, increase our knowledge of our own faith and others, enrich our worship life, provide information to support the programs within the church, and foster an appreciation of good books



THE ___________________church library accepts gifts of materials, but reserves the right to evaluate and dispose of them in accordance with the criteria applied to purchased materials (see selection policy). Gifts not in accordance with the library’s objectives and policies will be disposed of as the library committee sees fit. No gifts will be accepted with “strings attached.” We welcome cash donations for the purchase of materials.


1) A policy approved by the church board and staff is important to give credibility to the library
program as well as to provide protection for the library staff.
2) Haphazard acquisition results in waste-overlapping content-and an unbalanced collection.
1) What is your mission? The philosophy statement should stem from the mission statement of
the church. How will the library help fulfill the church goals?
2) An example:
The church library will seek to provide print and non-print materials which will:
Deepen our congregation’s relationship with Jesus Christ
Strengthen the educational program of the church
Increase knowledge of our own beliefs and those of our denomination
Enrich our devotional life
Provide Christian viewpoints on social/economic issues
Foster an appreciation of good literature

1. Objectives (What do you want to accomplish?)
a. Meet the needs of all age groups
b. Supplement teaching/learning activities of the church
c. Provide materials in diverse interest areas (fiction, non-fiction, biography, foreign
languages, etc.
d. In the non-fiction area cover contemporary issues such as abortion, creation, divorce, family
life, as well as theology, Bible, church history etc.
2. Responsibility for selection
Who will decide what materials are added to a collection? (A committee, the head librarian,
church staff or a combination of these?)
3. Things to consider:
a. Format
i. Hard or soft covers (Use soft for duplicates)
ii. DVD’s, CD’s, Audio-tapes (Book on tape), Periodicals, Large print, Board books,
b. Space available
c. Budget
d. Make-up of church community
e. Proximity of a public library
f. Library users: community, home school families, on-site pre-school, church sponsored
school etc.
g. Secular materials that reflect and aid in accomplishing the goals of the library.
4. Procedures
a. Examine material whenever possible
b. Establish what review sources you will generally use.
c. Compare prices among distributors

1) Does the material meet a particular need in the library?
2) Is the material true to Biblical teachings and the doctrinal position of the church?
3) Is the subject matter treated accurately clearly, fairly and interestingly?
4) Is the material appropriate for the age or interest group for which it is intended?
5) Is the author qualified to write on this subject?
6) Does the publisher have a good reputation in this field?
7) Are the materials’ physical makeup, binding, paper quality, print size, margins etc. satisfactory?
8) Are the illustrations well done and appropriate to the text and age level?
9) Are the vocabulary and writing style effective for the intended user?
10) Are the contents up-to-date?
11) Does the material have lasting value?
12) Does it contribute to an overall balance of subject matters?
13) Has the material had good reviews?
14) Is the material included on recommended lists in periodicals and professional journals, been
recommended by staff or read by the library personnel?
15) Does the cost allow its purchase without eliminating something needed even more?
16) Is the material the best choice we can make in the field?
17) Will the patrons use this new material?


There is so much information on the internet.  We were also provided with more information from the Texas State Library and Archives Commission at  The following information was presented at our TCACLA FALL Workshop 2017.  However if you go to this website you will find 108 pages of information on weeding alone!

1.  Continuous Review, Evaluation and Weeding
2.  selection & acquisition
3.  Cataloging & Processing
4.  Circulation & Review



1.      Save space —  best practice keep shelves no more than 85% full.
2.      Save time   — easier to look through, not looking for outdated material or things in poor condition.  Easier to shelve books or shift books.
3.      Keep things attractive with less crowding, newer material.
4.      Keep up with collection needs—checking for mending, discarding shabby outdated or unused items and noting needs for replacement or newer materials.

1.      Misleading – outdated or no longer accurate information.
2.      Ugly  — worn out, shabby, broken bindings, torn pages, yellowed paper.
3.      Superseded – new editions or newer books on the subject.
4.      Trivial –ephemeral interest, older pop culture, no literary, scientific or historical significance.
5.      Irrelevant– does not meet the needs of interests of your patrons.
6.      Elsewhere – material can be found elsewhere easily such as on line,  or in public or school libraries.


Texas librarians have come up with general guidelines for most Dewey sections that combine the copyright date with the date of last circulation.  General rule of thumb is 5/3 for most current items.  BUT…

For example: in philosophy consider for discard something 15 years or older and not used for 5 years.  For most religion books the MUSTIE factor is 10 years old and not used in 3 years.  History is also 10/3 but you need to keep all of your own church history longer.  Then there are books by congregational members and gifts.  Another story.  There is an extensive list of recommendations by Dewey numbers in the CREW manual.

1.      May keep multiples of some titles as opposed to adults where 1 copy is usually enough.
2.      Keep award books in good condition.
3.      Look at illustrations – are they appealing or old fashioned looking.
4.      Series – be aware of series.
5.      Young adult  — keep classics but also keep current.


1.      Is your congregation liberal, conservative?
2.      Pastors come and go.  What is the current emphasis  e.g. one was social justice.  He left and the next pastor wanted to have things on contemplative prayer.
3.      What programs do you support?  Particular missions—prison ministries, AA, community gardens, immigrant support etc.?

*CREW: A Weeding manual for Modern Libraries.  Texas State Library & Archives,
Copyright  2008, revised and updated by Jeanette Larson, 2012


Presentation by Laura Dirks, TCACLA member and editor of the Off The Shelf Newsletter


Now that you have a new book to add to your library collection, what next?

My goal here today is not to talk at you about cataloging and classification but to facilitate a conversation.  I’ve found that one of the biggest benefits of my TCACLA membership is getting ideas from the rest of you.

First and foremost, we all have the same goal – how to we get the book to the most people.

The first way is through the classification system you use.  By classification, I mean a logical arrangement in which the materials are placed on the shelves.  It can be by subject, such as prayer; by form, such as poetry or fiction; by time period, such as Old Testament; or even by age, such as children vs adults.  Sometimes different methods are used in the same library.

One of the most common classification methods in small church libraries is by subject.  Several years ago, Erwin John, the founder of the Lutheran Church Library Association created what is known as the “John” system for church libraries.  Do any of you use this system or another subject system?  What are the pro’s and con’s?  Issues when a book is one more than one subject. 

Another method is the Dewey Decimal System, which is the system used in my church’s library in the adult’s section.  Do any of you use this system?  What are the pro’s and con’s?  In my case, more than one number after the decimal point is a challenge for users.  Books on more than one subject are a challenge here too.  Anyone use the Library of Congress system?  Others?

As we’ve seen, regardless of the method you use, it’s not perfect.  Because of this, most of us also have a catalog of some sort, typically a paper card catalog or an electronic one, to facilitate finding books by title, author, and multiple subjects.

While the title and author are generally straight forward, determining the subjects can be challenging.  Many of you may be familiar with the Library of Congress cataloging information that’s found inside many books these days, especially the paperback versions.  You can access their catalog on their website as well.  I personally start with them, but find that their subjects are often stilted or convoluted.  For example, if you were looking for material on the book of Acts, would you really look under Bible – New Testament – Acts like they suggest?

Possible sources of subject information:

  1. Title / subtitle
  2. Blurb on back cover, table of contents, preface, etc.
  3. Reviews
  4. Other libraries – I use Hennepin County
  5. Your online catalog, LibraryThing shows subjects that other libraries have used.


  • Some of our members have done a total conversion from paper to electronic and/or from one classification system to another. In my case, Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church:  I’ve used LibraryThing since 2009 on, have not gone back to older books, would like to change the classification system used in the children’s section (by Sunday School classes) but too big of a job.
  • Deanna at Golden Valley Lutheran Church – Library Thing. Did a total conversion by taking stacks of books home with her until it was done.
  • Grace & Judy at St. Philip’s Lutheran Church – Closed the library for a month to convert to electronic system, changed classification too, entire team was involved.

Conclusion: No right way – each congregation is unique.  Whatever systems you use, what’s most important is to be:

  1. Consistent
  2. Informative
  3. Easy to use


To connect with any of the above mentioned members please contact Laura Dirks at