April 30, 2010

Spending the Day in Chicagoland

On April 17 I had the privilege of spending the day at the Chicagoland NCLA Chapter meeting at the First Presbyterian Church in La Grange, Illinois. Becky Berg and Sandy Matalis planned a very inspiring workshop program.

The day opened with a presentation about some thought provoking ideas from Parker Palmer’s book “The Courage to Teach.” Although this book is about teaching, the concepts are applicable to many fields, including libraries and librarians. One idea that Palmer writes about is three concepts – the “big” idea (libraries and resources); the group trying to “reach” the big idea (library patrons); and the group in the middle (the librarians and policies/procedures). The people in the middle need to be facilitators (not the blockers) to help people connect with library. Information about Parker Palmer and this book can be found at http://www.miracosta.edu/home/gfloren/palmer.htm

Tammy Faxel from Oasis Audio shared some of the titles from her company’s audio books. There is an increase in the use of audio books and libraries are finding this is a good media to meet the needs of many of their patrons. Oasis Audio has a large selection of titles appropriate for a church library. http://oasisaudio.com/

The Family Christian Store from Naperville, IL had a large display of books and gave book talks about many of the new titles. These and many other books were available for purchase. http://www.familychristian.com/

In the afternoon a panel of three men talked about their use of the church libraries in their various churches. All three had different purposes for using the libraries. One enjoyed reading books about theology, another enjoyed reading various fiction titles, and shared that some of the more female titles/authors have something to say to men, also; and the third gentleman enjoyed reading materials that provided different points of view on a variety of topics.

The panel shared how important it was for someone (a librarian) to be available to guide them toward “good books.” Also keeping the books in the library current was fundamental to make the collection relevant.

Some of the other points that were discussed included that they like books in a series; it’s nice to have periodicals available; book discussion groups increase the use of the library; and displaying new or highlighted books brings people into the library.

I enjoyed the day meeting and networking with other church librarians. We may be from different denominations and different geographical areas, but it’s clear that we are all working toward the same goal – “furthering the gospel through church libraries!”

Chuck Mann
NCLA President