September 22, 2010

Get to Know Your NCLA Board of Directors

National Church Library Association Board of Directors 2010-2012:

Kathleen H. Bowman
Kaukauna, Wisconsin
Faith Lutheran Church, Appleton, Wisconsin

I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Library Science, and am currently employed as an administrative assistant. I have been chair of our Church Library/Resource Center Committee for more than 8 years, and am past President of the Fox Valley Chapter of the NCLA. I have also served as President of the Seminary Wives organization, and President of our church’s Women’s Guild. I have volunteered for United Way, and currently volunteer for our local art center.

I have been married to my husband, Dennis, for 40 years, and have 2 sons and daughters-in-law, Scott and Renee, and Paul and Kim. I love reading, traveling, attending area festivals, writing, baking, and searching for books at rummage and used book sales.

Before I became chair of our church library group, my knowledge of church libraries was very limited. To find an organization such as NCLA to support church library workers was truly a blessing. I have since learned how congregations look to their libraries to provide the right materials. It may involve searching the Scriptures, finding an appropriate devotion, supplying media for children, resources to deal with a need, or just a book to sit back and enjoy.

Moe Conley

Hamburg, New York

I have more than 25 years of experience in finance and administration including strategic planning, risk management, loss mitigation and sales for local divisions of international companies such as Xerox Corporation, Carborundum, Equifax Inc, Chase Mortgage and Fleet Finance Corp. I also have more than 30 years of volunteer experience for a variety of organizations including the Town of Hamburg Recreation Department, Western New York PTA, Frontier Central PTA and Wayside Presbyterian Church.

My hobbies include reading, writing and social networking. Other interests include advocacy for women and children, disability awareness and church library support.

As I look at church libraries, I see that advances in technology, networking and resource management are in increased demand, supported by a shrinking base of volunteers and church funding.

Gordon W. Duffy
Santa Rosa, California
First Presbyterian Church of Santa Rosa

My career includes serving as the Mayor of Hanford, California from 1963-1964, and as a member of the State of California Assembly from 1964-1982. I served as Secretary for Environmental affairs of the state of California from 1982-1985, and worked for Duffy & Duffy Consultants, in the area of governmental affairs, from 1985-1986. I am currently the co-librarian of the First Presbyterian Church of Santa Rosa, California, and also for the Clan Macpherson Museum Library in Newtonmore, Scotland.

I married Jean Macpherson in 1985. We have four sons, one daughter, and seven grandchildren from a previous marriage. We enjoy travel and have for the past decade spent about half the year in the highlands of Scotland where we hike the hills of the Cairngorm National Park. While in California we visit our 10 children and 18 grandchildren. In addition we are active in our church and other community groups.

The NCLA has been a great help in our work to modernize our church library. I would like to assist the Association in helping other congregations as well as promoting additional new church libraries. We should keep in mind that modern church libraries are not simply repositories of books, but rather centers for the spreading God’s word. This can best be achieved by many types of media.

Bev Etzelmueller
Germantown, Wisconsin
St. Matthew’s Evangelical Lutheran Church

My professional background focused on marketing, training, and communications. Throughout the years I have used these skills in a variety of volunteer positions. I have been the Volunteer Librarian at our church for 28 years. I have shared the skills of working closely with volunteers, continual updating of our library, converting the card catalog to a computer program in 1998, and updating all the current publications and resource materials. I also serve as founder and coordinator for our Quilt Ministry which has been in existence for the past 8 years.

My husband, Ken, and I have been married for 47 years and raised our children, Steve and Kristen, in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. We lived in Wauwatosa for 35 years and worked closely with our church through Sunday School, serving on the church council, and outreach ministries. In 1998 we made the move to Germantown, Wisconsin (20 minutes north) to a new home so we could be closer to our three grandchildren. My hobbies include reading, quilting, traveling and spending time with our children and grandchildren.

In the early 1980’s, a personal love of children’s books inspired me to begin the children’s portion of the small library that was tucked away from the traffic flow in our church. I assumed the leadership role a few years later. The library has grown through various renovations and technological advancements. I also oversaw the volunteer structure. At first, this leadership role was a “step out of the boat” moment for me, but with God’s guidance and much prayer, the church library has been well received by the congregation and community churches.

When I answered God’s call to serve as Volunteer Librarian, I never dreamed that I would have made so many achievements and strides in the church library. People always say “you have such a nice library” and my response is “This is not MY library but an opportunity to further His message; I am just the instrument guiding people in their faith journey.”

Karen Flynn
White Bear Lake, Minnesota
White Bear Lake United Methodist Church

I'm the librarian at White Bear Lake United Methodist Church in the northeast Twin Cities metro area. I've been the librarian there for seven years, since the previous librarian passed away and I casually told our pastor I could "help" with the library! At the time, I knew nothing about church libraries.

I do have background as a professional librarian - I have an M.S.L.S. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, as well as a degree in biochemistry, and spent a number of years as a technical librarian at 3M Company in St. Paul, Minnesota - but this was only of so much help when I took over the church library. I was really good at searching Chemical Abstracts, but hadn't a clue how to select faith-formation materials for preschoolers.

It was a Godsend when I found NCLA through the Internet and I have thoroughly enjoyed becoming engaged with the church library community. I really like reviewing and evaluating new library materials, especially those for Bible study. I'm also an advocate for the use of technology to help with church library work. I love gadgets, widgets and Web sites and enjoy helping libraries put them to good use.

As a member of the NCLA Board, I hope that I can help shape and sustain the organization so it is there to assist future generations of church librarians. I'm grateful it's been there for me.

Sandra (Sandi) Neal
Fernandina Beach, Florida
First Presbyterian Church

The bulk of my adult life has been as a mother and homemaker with an active volunteer life. I worked for several years while our children were in college as a legal assistant and in an art museum shop. I have volunteered as an art museum docent, elementary school volunteer in several capacities, and am presently church librarian. These are my most significant volunteer duties but there have been many other short term ones.

My husband, Jerry, and I have been married since December, 1956. We have three adult children who live in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Boston, Massachusetts, and Fernandina Beach, Florida; five wonderful grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. We have been truly blessed with our family. I have been very actively involved as a quilter for the last 15 years and have progressed from my first patchwork pieces to art quilts that I free-motion quilt. I am happy to say that our church presents a quilt to every baby baptized in our church. I’ve also made banners and wall hangings for the church. The guild to which I belong has made quilts for wounded soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, for Hospice and the neonatal intensive care unit, and other short term needs.

I truly believe that our church library ministry has served and continues to serve as a valuable resource for our members. In addition to a great source of inspiration and research, our fiction section is heavily used and provides an alternative to what our city library provides. I feel truly blessed to have been called to this ministry.

Sally Onstad
Brooklyn Park, Minnesota
Prince of Peace Lutheran Church

I retired in 1999 from my career as a School Media Specialist (a.k.a. school librarian.) I worked in media centers in elementary schools in Madison, Wisconsin, a Department of Defense school in Germany, and in St. Louis Park, Minnesota. The last 14 years were spent at St. Louis Park Senior High School. My current volunteer experiences include: church librarian, working one half-day a week in the “Clothing Closet” at CEAP (Community Emergency Assistance Program), and working one day a month at the “KaffeeStuga” at the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis.

My husband John and I have been married for 42 years and we have two Korean adopted daughters. One is married and lives with her husband and six children in Chattanooga, TN. The younger daughter is single and lives nearby so we see her often. For fun, I enjoy gardening and reading. My passion is traveling to interesting and stimulating locales both in the United States and abroad. A travel highlight was a trip to South Africa, Botswana, and Zimbabwe where I saw the African “Big Five” animals while on safari. I also enjoy taking classes on various subjects that are offered through the Osher Life Long Learning Institute (OLLI) which is affiliated with the University of Minnesota.

I have always enjoyed reading good books and I want to help others do the same. When I joined my current church, I found that the church library was in need of some newer materials, a larger space (it was located in a former storage closet far from the sanctuary), and someone to be the librarian. We are now in a room that is conveniently located with many updated resources. The library is now a vital part of the church.

September 21, 2010

October is Church Library Month

Did your circulation slow down over the summer? Do back-to-school and Sunday school activities in fall compete for your patrons’ attention? October is the perfect time to draw those distracted readers back to the church library. Gain new readers now and you’ll reap the benefits all year long.

Why not host an open house during Church Library Month? Whether your library is big or small, this is an ideal activity to promote it. Start simple, but do begin planning today. Post notices in the church newsletter, put up flyers and colorful displays throughout the building. On the day of the open house, offer treats and coffee to lure visitors in. If resources permit, continue the celebration throughout the month with contests, extended library hours, or give-a-ways.

This can also be a perfect time to ask for gifts to support the library. Set out a donation jar or ask your church leaders if a special offering for the library can be taken one Sunday. If you have volunteers to help, you could also hold a fundraiser such as a used book sale during the month.

Designating an entire month for church library promotion is an excellent way to draw church members into your library. If you miss individuals or families one Sunday, you can catch up with them the next.

Celebrate Church Library Month every October and your congregation will begin to look forward to it each fall!

Librarians Helping Librarians . . . Mentor UMC Library: Not Just a Room

I want to tell you about two new ministries we have started through our library and some things we are doing to encourage people to come into the library.

We completely revamped our Summer Reading Program this year. The children signed-up the first two Sundays in June. They earned three Bible Bucks for signing up on time. They had reading logs to keep track of what books they read and the number of minutes. For each week they handed in a reading log, they earned three Bible Bucks plus one Bible Buck for each 10 minutes they read. They could read only books from our library. I also had a Bible Trivia question each week. They earned one Bible Buck for each correct answer. I had one of my youth committee members come up with the questions.

On Tuesday, August 10th we had a carnival to end the Summer Reading Program. We had ice cream, games, crafts, a story-time corner, face-painting and a prize table where they spent their Bible Bucks. I wrote to Scholastic Books and they donated books for prizes. Other prizes were unopened happy meal toys we had been collecting and some really nice $1 items I found at Borders Books. I’d talked with our Youth Director and she got youth (teens) to help with this. Over 25 children signed up for the summer reading program.

On the first Sunday of every month we have communion and the Director of Children & Family Ministries and my committee decided that on these Sundays, because they go longer, we would have the children come down to the library so they can take out books & DVDs. This has been a big success too.

The other thing we started is a Baby Ministry. When I went to our Administrative Board and told them what we wanted to do, everyone was so positive and excited to start this ministry! Every time a baby is born in our church family we present them with a book. The books the committee chose are: God's Little Lamb by Leslie Ann Clark; Little Jesus, Little Me by Doris Rikkers and Thank You, God by P.K. Hallinan. On the inside we put a book plate with the inscription "Presented to (name) From Mentor United Methodist Church and Mentor United Methodist Church Library Committee.”

I also have joined the Adult Education Committee as a representative from the library. This way I can let them know what resources we already have in the library for any courses they plan and can order books if we don't have what they need.

Our goal was to bring more awareness of all that our library has to offer and show it is NOT just a room with books.

—P.W., Librarian
Mentor United Methodist Church, Mentor, OH

Librarians Helping Librarians . . . St. Aidan's United Church, Victoria, BC: NCLA Resources Spark Ideas

I wanted to share this with you given that Libraries Alive/Branches sparked it: We just had a wonderful experience. I'd been working on building up stronger connections with the various committees/teams and the ministry staff to make sure that they knew we wanted to support them with resources, and needed to know what they were planning so we could be proactive. I went to several of their monthly meetings and talked it up.

Whenever we saw they had an event or issue highlighted in the bulletin, I hunted up what we had on the topic and often took a display and or booklist to their event. Where we had limited resources I also hunted up what the public library had, or searched for online resources. It's paid off in several ways.

Three of the teams have now come to me to let me know that they had decided to give part of their budgets to the library, often with suggestions of items they wanted me to purchase, but not always. They are letting us know further in advance what they're concentrating on or planning. And our new team of ministers is GREAT! They're enthusiastic users of the library and keep me hopping trying to keep up with them! So much so that I might as well have a full time job again!

We're in the middle of another profile raising project. I found a church library use survey in last summer's Libraries Alive, and adapted it to our situation. Basic questions asked were: Does our church have a library? How much do you use it? What do you use it for (kinds of materials)? and If you don't use it, or use it very little, why? (e.g. prefer to buy, too old/unappealing, don't have what I want etc.). We figured given the number of spoken and written ways we had used to promote the library that everyone (except maybe newcomers) knew about it. We added questions about our website, and gave room for comments.

When we put this in as a bulletin insert, some people replied. So yesterday I asked if the greeters could hand out questionnaires to anyone who hadn't filled one out last week and got lots more responses. The one that made my day (I was on duty yesterday) was a woman who had never used the library but because of the questionnaire decided it was time she checked it out and ended up borrowing 4 books. Circulation was the highest ever for one day! Cause for celebration, for sure.

—L.B., Librarian, St. Aidan's United Church, Victoria, British Columbia
Congregation : 295 families, collection : 2300 including magazines

Online Courses

One of my favorite ways to learn a new skill is tutorials. Goodwill Community Foundation offers some of the best and easiest I've seen in 25+ years. These online courses are designed for beginners and experienced users as well. For example, I'm working in the computer module now to refresh my Excel knowledge but there are many other life skills courses. —M.C.

Visit the GCF Website>>>

For other online tutorials, visit

An Important Announcement to NCLA Members

The NCLA Board of Directors has approved several cost saving measures which will go in effect this fall. Members will see an increase in electronic communication as it will now be the primary way you will receive information from NCLA. This includes Libraries Alive, beginning with the January 2010 issue.

The national organization has been facing financial challenges, particularly in the past two years, and these cost saving measures enable us to maintain high quality member resources and keep your membership dues affordable. This change will not only save the organization a significant amount of money, but it will also create wonderful new opportunities for expanding the amount and type of information you receive.

Added benefits!
•Faster and easier access. When each new issue of Libraries Alive is released, an email will be sent to you. Within minutes, it can be shared with your library team. Each person will have the option to read the electronic copy and opt to print a physical copy, with no extra subscription fees charged.

•Easier searching. New and past issues are available from the Member Resources section of the NCLA website at Members can quickly and easily search and scan issues, eliminating old methods of hunting through stacks of paper copies to retrieve articles.

•Storage solutions. Members no longer need to save copies of old issues. Log in to Member Resources and find a library of resources at your fingertips any time you need them.

•New features. Click on a link and be directed immediately to a resource, book or event highlighted in the articles, reviews, sidebars, calendars and library product ads.

•More flexibility. The number of pages can grow to accommodate longer articles and more reviews.

•Environmental responsibility. In one year, printing Libraries Alive uses 72,000 sheets of paper! And the pollution caused by printer’s ink, as well as the energy and fuel used in processing and delivery are other environmental impacts we can lessen.

Setting up your email account
To receive Libraries Alive and other NCLA member communication, all members must have a working email address on file with us. If you do not have an email address on file with NCLA please send it to us (by email) to:

We know that some of you do not have an email account or computer in your library or home. There are several free email service providers available, and setting up an email account with them is easy. We’ve listed links to three popular free email service providers below. Email from any of these can be accessed using any computer with an Internet connection—you can get your email at home, church, the public library or a local coffee shop. Contact the NCLA office (Tues., Wed., or Thurs., 8a-2p Central Time) or ask your church staff or local public librarian for help setting up an email account.

Google Gmail

Yahoo Mail

Windows Live Hotmail

If you do not wish to set up a personal email account, we ask you to provide an email address of someone at your church or a friend who is willing to receive and print the information for you. If you have any questions or need assistance setting up an email account, contact the NCLA office at 651-430-0770 or

Thank you for your help making this transition a success!
Your NCLA Board of Directors and Staff

A Note to NCLA Members with THRIVENT Benefits

During the months of July and August, eligible Thrivent members received a letter from Thrivent with information on their Choice Dollars and details on how to direct Choice Dollar funds to organizations such as NCLA.

What does this mean?
By directing your Thrivent Choice Dollars to NCLA, you are requesting charitable funding from Thrivent to go to our organization.

This is another way to give to NCLA, beyond your regular donations, and it does not cost you anything.

How does it work?
Thrivent Financial designates Choice Dollars to their members. Members choose which organization receives their Choice Dollars. Thrivent deposits the funds into the organization’s account electronically.

One church librarian’s experience . . .
“It was easy! The amount on my letter is $212 (the anticipated amount for the whole year). Currently I have $120 available to donate. My husband has $42 for the year and $20 available right now. I set up mine by Internet. I first had to go in to Thrivent website ( and register. My husband did his by phone. Just call Thrivent’s toll free number (1-800-THRIVENT), say ‘Choice Dollars’ and you get a helpful real person. The donations will continue to be directed to NCLA, until I tell Thrivent to stop.” —D.G.

Hints on setting up NCLA as your Choice Dollar recipient:
•Because of our Lutheran roots, National Church Library Association is listed under “other Lutheran organizations.”
•National Church Library Association is listed in the Thrivent directory by our full name (not the acronym NCLA).

Please contact Thrivent at 1-800-THRIVENT(1-800-847-4836) or if you need further assistance.

We thank you!
Thank you for choosing National Church Library Association as the recipient of your Thrivent Choice Dollars!