I would like to make use of the book "Austin's Topical History of Christianity." To do this, I need permission from the current copyright holder, perhaps a descendant of Bill R. Austin. Can you help?

July 17, 2017 0 0 comments

Need a printout, downloadable resource for your personal study, Bible study, or Sunday school class? Faith Alive has resources for all ages and all seasons. 

January 15, 2017 0 0 comments

Have you checked out the Digital Library yet? Powered by Ministry Shares, this collection of resources is available online any time, on any device - and it's all free for the CRC!

January 15, 2017 0 0 comments
Resource, Book or eBook

Amanda Barton has had a dream of writing a children's book that shows the realities, both good and hard in every adoption story. Her goal is a book that adds grace to both adopted children and their families as they discover the joys of adoption, even through the hard stuff.

That dream ...

October 13, 2015 0 0 comments

I find more and more people turning to e-readers and was wondering if the church libraries could tap into this market and how it would work.

July 31, 2013 0 0 comments


Nonfiction collection materials in church libraries are difficult to select and I've been wondering if there's some mechanism whereby CRC church libraries could enlist the advice and suggestions of our colleges and universities.  For example, instead of wandering into your local...

April 23, 2013 0 0 comments

We've been looking at providing reading materials for the visually impaired. I thought this would be easy but as I delve further into the issue many questions are popping up.  Audio books are expensive..how do we know what type of materials would appeal to the readers...do we incorporate this...

March 13, 2013 0 1 comments

I chair our church's education committee and am looking for recommendations vis-a-vis resources for biblical and theological literacy. Any advice along these lines would be most appreciated.

November 2, 2011 0 7 comments
Discussion Topic

There is a wealth of information on running a church library available from the Evangelical Church Library Association (ECLA).  They have a bi-monthly magazine with topics ranging from organizing the library, book reviews, and promotional ideas to using library software and book repair. 


August 20, 2011 0 1 comments

Does anyone use any kind of library software along with scanners?  Just curious if there is anything out there that is free (or relatively low cost), effective, and efficient.  I've just gone through all the books in our library trying to make sure the titles were all located and correct  - they...

August 3, 2011 0 4 comments
Resource, Book or eBook

I got the complete sermons for C.H. Spurgeon for $30 from christianbook.com and it has been added to our church library, I suggest you check it out as well, good stuff.

May 30, 2011 0 0 comments
Resource, Book or eBook

Recommending Unbroken by Hildenbrand, Wait Until Next Year

February 26, 2011 0 0 comments

I'm wondering if anyone has any ideas for getting young people interested in reading Christian books.  I loved reading when I was younger and was always in the library, but it seems like the kids in my church aren't interested.  It's not that they don't read, I know some of them do, but they don...

February 19, 2011 0 2 comments

Hours of work go into creating and crafting a church library. Often it does not have a profile as a mininstry in our churches. How does your church view your Library Ministry?

To any who are involved in a Church Library I am interested in a few of the following questions: 


February 9, 2011 0 8 comments

We are almost ready to put our church's library online. I would like to have links to interesting websites for both children and adults.

For the adult section I am looking for links to Bible helps or study, further Christian learning, virtual tours of Christian places in the world,...

September 23, 2010 0 3 comments
Discussion Topic
Have any church librarians joined this CRC network? I don't know how long this networking option has been available, but I just discovered it and think it's a great idea. I'm Mavis Zondervan, church librarian for CrossPoint CRC in Chino, CA. I put CrossPoint's library together in the early 70's...
March 9, 2010 0 18 comments

Perhaps, if your church has a disability advocate, he/she could help the visually impaired person set up a library card and borrow the desired titles.  Many libraries have extensive audio collections now and would probably facilitate something on an individual basis.   Several online sites have classics available for no charge as well as Amazon which has constantly changing audio book selections that are free.  I also believe the Society for the Blind or similar organizations might help you set up if you need to have the materials physically available at your church.  

I realize this question was posted quite a while ago so technology and options have come along way in 5 years.  My suggestion would be to look into LIBIB.  The people who have been using it love it.  It has a free aspect that is very large and then the paid "pro" section is very affordable and huge!

My church holds the view of  our having a library ministry. It is a resource centre for the edification of the members of the church in their christian maturity. Yes,in some respects,the library is part of the ministry team of the church.Regular contact is maintained with the church's pastors and council members


I've heard of them.  Worth the membership cost?

Anyone care to comment on "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament"?  

The New International Commentary on the New Testament (and Old Testament) is a great series of commentaries that is often insightful and lay accessible. However, they are not strictly Reformed, but more broadly evangelical. Tyndale New Testament Commentaries (Old Testament also) are smaller, more affordable and more accessible or readable. These also seem to be more broadly evangelical. The Revelation commentary by Leon Morris takes an amillennial approach. Stay away from Word Biblical Commentary series as it is academic.


Thanks for the link to the Seminary list of commentaries.  I should have thought of that!  Many titles to consider and I'll ask my pastors what they would recommend for an adult lay audience.



Thanks for the link.  I'll take a look.


Calvin Seminary has a list of recommended commentaries on its website. Some of those would work for a church website.

Calvin's commentaries are available on-line:  biblestudyguide.org/comment/calvin biblestudyguide.org/comment/calvin biblestudyguide.org/comment/calvin  


C. Spurgeon has made comments on a number of commentaries;  you can see them on the internet http://www.bible-researcher.com/commentaries1.html .   Here is a quote from him in his preface:  "

"It would be easy to point out the deficiencies of the modern pulpit, and hold up one’s own ideal of what preaching ought to be, but this has been so often attempted by others with such slender results that we decline the task. A judicious critic would probably complain that many sermons are deficient in solid instruction, Biblical exposition, and Scriptural argument: they are flashy, rather than fleshy; clever, rather than solid; entertaining, rather than impressive. He would point to rhetorical discourses in which doctrine is barely discernible, and brilliant harangues from which no food for the soul could ever be extracted. Having done this, he would probably propose that homilies should flow out of texts, and should consist of a clear explanation, and an earnest enforcement of the truths which the texts distinctly teach. Expository preaching he would advocate as the great need of the day, its best protection against rising errors, and its surest means of spiritual edification. To such observations most of us would offer no opposition; we should confess them to be full of wisdom, and worthy of being pondered. We should not unite in any indiscriminate censuring of hortatory addresses, or topical sermons, nor should we agree with the demand that every discourse should be limited to the range of its text, nor even that it should have a text at all; but we should heartily subscribe to the declaration, that more expository preaching is greatly needed, and that all preachers would be the better if they were more able expounders of the inspired Word...." 

"...For this purpose I have toiled, and read much, and passed under review some three or four thousand volumes. From these I have compiled my catalogue, rejecting many, yet making a very varied selection ."

Some would suggest Calvin's commentaries might also be a good starting point. 

Thank you so much Jane and Bill!  I'll be sure to look into all of those resources :)




We successfully used www.gurulib.com to put our library contents online.  If you are interested, I can put you in touch with someone who has used this free online software more extensively, including using a handheld scanner to input book titles into the library.  For a quick peek at what the software does, look at www.gurulib.com/immanuelcrc to view the contents of our church library!



Check out Neil MacQueen's site for a listing of Library software and his article about "putting your church library online (for free):


You may also find help at the Church and Synagogue Library Association site:


National Church Library Association:


Best wishes with the library!


I'm not a part of the CRC but I am the middle word, Reformed, ha ha.  Anyway, we have a small library that we put out on a table weekly.  People donate books and I have a sign up list when the books are checked out or are checked back in, the honor system really, but it works. :)  Any ideas on how to get free, good, Gospel-saturated, God-glorifying and Christ-centered books for free for a new church, only about 4-5 yrs old?


I just received this from Yvonne Van Tuyl, Librarian at Trinity CRC in St. Catharines, Ontario, in response to some private emails. I offer this to readers to see if you might pass this around to your own librarians. (And, since Yvonne notes that she's not too up to date with blogging, etc, maybe you can email her directly and encourage her):

I would be interested in a forum to discuss reading material for our library. Although I am not as suave as some when it comes to Blogs and such, I would be interested in how to equip and use our library to the fullest. We have many books in our library, of which only a few are used each week. A discussion of study material etc. would be most appreciated. I would also like to know what the other Churches are buying for their libraries and if we could facilitate an exchange.  Yvonne van Tuyl – Trinity Christian Reformed Church dvantuyl@cogeco.ca

I subscribe (for free) to Faithful Reader as a website to read their reviews. 

You can find it at faithfulreader.com 

I have to look up my other resources. 

It seems from some of the reponses that people who are in the Library ministry get support in some areas and not in others. 

In general I think that libraries are an under utilized resource. 

It is a ministry that is hard to get a handle on it unless you are involved in it. 

I think this is do alot because we get the libraries up and running but we don't do alot of "advertizing" 

Communicating with our members, council and other committess is important. 

p { margin-bottom: 0.08in; }

Survey: Church Libraries as a Ministry


This survey was accessed from CRC News, February 9, 2011, under In the Forums: Church Libraries.


Q: How do you view the church library?

A: As a ministry. See comments below.


Q: Would you say your church library is part of the Ministry Team in your church?

A: No.


Q: Do you have regular contact or input from the pastor, group leaders or council in your church?

A: No.


Q: What would be the biggest area served in your church? ie small groups, children, dvd's, fiction, non fiction

A: Children. A close second is fiction.


Q: Size of your congregation?

A: 577.


Q: Number of items in your library:

A: About 3,500.


Q: Method of sign out? card, computerized, other

A: Card.


Q: Do you feel supported in your work?

A: Yes. The previous church administrator acquired the licenses needed in order for us to put in a lending library videotapes ordinarily licensed only for home viewing. I received help from the current church administrator when I needed to make it known I was looking for volunteers to be “staff” in the church library. I regularly get help from the church office two ways: (1) the church office mails overdue notices; and (2) the church office mails reminders to “staff” before their Sunday in the church library. I have not asked for any other support, but I believe I would get it if I asked for other similar support.


Q: How many “staff” do you have?

A: 4.


Q: Do you have a committee?

A: No.


Q: Do you make reports to your council?

A: No.


Q: Do you have a budget amount?

A: Not this year. There normally would be a budget amount, but the budget line for the church library was eliminated from this year's budget because we are in a time when contributions to the general fund have been less than the budgeted amount, resulting in cuts to local ministry and to ministry shares supporting denominational ministries.


Q: Do you fundraise?

A: No.


Q: Do you have a newsletter/publication in the church newsletter or bulletin?

A: No.


Q: Do you have contact with a library association?

A: No.


Q: Add your own comments here:

A: Our view of the church library as a ministry has three consequences that come to my mind:

  1. How we select items to add to the library collection. We select library materials that will nurture faith in our children and help our adult members mature in their faith.

  2. How we handle overdue library materials. We do not collect fines for overdue library materials. We are lenient in renewals, allowing as many renewals as requested if for an item no one else is waiting for.

  3. How we drop library materials from the library collection. We drop library materials from the library collection if they are checked out to someone no longer attending church here, without asking for restitution. We drop library materials from the library collection if they are returned damaged and are no longer worth retaining in the library collection, without asking for restitution. Getting people to use library materials is more important than preserving them in the library collection.

Roger A. Whitman

Hi Jo,

I am a member of the National Church Library Association. Membership is $55 a year. The link to them is.... 


http://www.churchlibraries.org/ and Im usually find something I can use i 

They have an email newsletter, "Branches", that I find helpful. It has book reviews and articles; I usually find something usefull in each issue. They have group member discounts for library supplies etc. They also have links to helpful online resources

I wish the price was lower. I also wish they had meeetings closer to Michigan. 

Do any of you librarians out there have a favorite website you would like to share? Where do you get Christian book reviews and/or library ideas?

Hi jo, That is my mom's name(she's 94yrs young). I have been following your posts and I have a suggestion on the topic.

What about placing overstuffed chairs in the cfhurch library like the coffee shops. Add soft music to ceate a inviting ambiance.



I placed a question in some of the headings at the top of the network page headers. 

It asks about them using the library and how the library is viewed. 

It has garnered a response from the pastor of the pastor title and will use my question as a possible guest post. 

We can only promote the library as a ministry by promoting it our selves and supporting others. 

As with any ministry and a volenteer ministry usually because you like to read yourself you can get burned out. 

Someone asked if it was benifitial to belong to an association and I feel it is. The CLAO - church library association of Ontario - provides for $15 a year - membership. This gives a discount on Library supplies from Broadart, 4 times a year newsletter, website, yahoo group, facebook group (the facebook host is great!) and puts on two conferences a year. They also sell material to use to educate yourself and promote your library. 

What is the National Church Association like in the US? 

Jo Vandermey

Providence CRC

Beamsville, Ontario

Caroline has some good comments. 

Another suggestion is talk to the youth group to let them know what you have. 

Drop in Sunday school and let the kids know what you have and what is new. 

Get some of the books and approach some kids to read them to "help you" and get some feedback. 

Make suggestions to parents to take a book and try it out. 

Have you read any of the books that you have picked. I read a bunch one year ago for a workshop I did for the Church Library Association of Ontario. I can send the spread sheet to anyone who is interested. I don't have it updated but it is currrent as of fall 2009. 

Start small with some solid series. 

As mentioned fantasy book series do draw kids in. C S. Lewis and tolkien are obvious. The Donita Paul series is good as Caroline mentioned. 

Spend an afternoon browsing the online Christian book sites. 

The ones I purchase from the most is 

Livingbooks.ca in Canada

"Bookdepot"   "Bookcloseouts"  online ships Canada and US - has a retail and wholesale website. Good deals on books that are a bit older and are remainders. 


It is is just a try, try, try again venture. 

The books don't go out of style quickly so they have long self life. 

Be encouraged! It is possible to engage kids. Not all but some. 

Jo Vandermey

Providence CRC

Beamsville, Ontario


The fantasy books about dragons seem to be a great way to get kids started, since it is such a popular topic in mainstream kids literature. My kids really enjoyed the Dragonspell series. And they would share their enthusiasm with peers.

Also, kids/preteens go for presentation and need to feel welcome. If your church has a room specifically designated for the library, try to incorporate colour, and posters, or anything of eye-catching interest to your potential "clients". This is challenging if your library consists of fold-open cupboards in a corner of a larger room, but try to use your imagination to make the space inviting. Often book warehouses have posters available featuring topics or books that are inexpensive and attractive. Office stores also supply teachers resourses that are colourful, seasonal, or simply interesting.

You can feature one new book a month in your bulliten, or on a bulliten board.  A board could also feature library news, reviews, a list of new additions, etc.

If you are willing and able to put the extra time in, perhaps you could have a reading club that kids can join, and receive a small prize or recognition on the bulliten board. You could also have a "Featured Reporter of the Month" who could make his/her recommmendation based on a book he/she read. Take some pointers from gradeschools that need to get creative to inspire children to accomplish a certain level of books read by the end of the year! They know first hand how difficult it can be.

Teens who read are typically those that read as children, so it is harder to capture the interest of those that haven't shown an interest before. Anything that looks attractive, contemporary, eg. "chicklits" for girls, or mirrors that of the interests in mainstream style can appeal to teens. Try a few subscriptions to christian teen magazines. And if you can get any of the teens to volunteer in the library, that may initiate further interest. It is also beneficial to have the teens showing the young children what the library has to offer.

 Happy Reading!


Hi Jo,

I wonder if we can rename this forum from Church Library to Church Library Ministry.

I feel the church library in  our CRC churches are untapped learning resources and outreach ministries .I would love to see the CRC take the stand that our libraries are ministries. They need to be talked about in the CRC and with some librarian training they could be awesome places of ministry. Just this week..... we signed out some books and DVDs to our Friendship Ministry people. Also, I purchased some good book glue and I am repairing  Bibles that are dearly loved and are falling apart.

There are many ways to use the library as a Ministry!! Do any other librarians have ideas about how God could use us?

If you are a librarian, please reply to this.Let's get some discussion going!

Does anyone else have ongoing ministries in their churches that we could loan books to? Jail ministry, perhaps, or Kids Hope.

I just put a comment/suggestion into the site to get a forum of our own entitled Church Library Ministry or some such. You may vote to get the idea into a Network forum and make comments as why you would like it to be. 

Lets see if we can get our own Forum to share our ideas and information. 

You can get there by clicking on Feedback, the orange button on your right. 

Jo Vandermey

So many people view the library as a space for Janette Oke books (not that they are bad but there is such a big world of author styles out there) and kid dvd's 

Great that you have expanded your collection! 

I noticed that Marlene who responded to this survey also was a committee of one. 

The best thing I did was recruit a few people to help me. I was feeling overwelmed and under "loved" (not really under loved but definitely overwelmed) 

How about we figure out how to support each other? 

I can gladly share any policyies, proceedures or information I have collected to share with you guys. 


I agree that I think that it would be nice for the CRC to be actively engaged as seeing the Library as a ministry of our local churches. I think this will only happen as we create more awareness of the function of the library. This is why I joined the Church Library Association of Ontario to become better equiped to do this. I wonder if there is a way you can get church emails easily to promote this as a link for Libraries.  and then create a data base or awareness of it. 

I know that the past president of the CLAO which I belong too was a member of the CRC and the current outreach coordinator of the association in a member of the CRC. 


Thanks for replying. 

For now we can start discussing with each other. If I can figure out how to link us for conversations. 


How do you view the church library? 

I think the library should be a ministry resource and a place to get uplifting and inspiring reading material.

Would you say your church library is part of the Ministry Team in your church? 

Not really.  I try to promote relevent material to various groups, but without much success.

Do you have regular contact or input from the pastor, group leaders or council in your church? 

The pastor occasionally asks me to highlight books relating to a sermon series or issue.

What would be the biggest area served in your church? ie small groups, children, dvd's, fiction, non fiction

women's fiction for sure.

Size of your congragation? 

200 members

Number of items in your library? 

720 books, 50 DVDs, a few audio

Method of sign out? card, computerized, other


Do you feel supported in your work? 

by the pastor and council

How many "staff" do you have? 

just me

Do you have a commitee? 


Do you make reports to your council? 

not formally

Do you have a budget amount? 


Do you fundraise? 


Do you have a newsletter/publication in the church newsletter or bullitin? 

I put in short reviews of new books periodically

Do you have contact with a Library Association? 


Add your own comments here:

I've been taking care of our library for about three years now, and have grown it significantly in terms of the collection, but I'm struggling to increase the number of people using the library.  It's the same few people all the time, and none of the kids and teens are interested.

How do you view the church library? 

I view the library as a service, as a ministry and as a way to practice good stewardship of our resources.


Would you say your church library is part of the Ministry Team in your church?


Do you have regular contact or input from the pastor, group leaders or council in your church?


 What would be the biggest area served in your church? ie small groups, children, dvd's, fiction, non fictionchildren and women's fiction

fiction, women's fiction and children

 Size of your congragation? 


Number of items in your library?


Method of sign out? card, computerized, other


Do you feel supported in your work?


How many "staff" do you have?


Do you have a commitee?


Do you make reports to your council?


Do you have a budget amount?


Do you fundraise?


Do you have a newsletter/publication in the church newsletter or bullitin?

not regularly

Do you have contact with a Library Association?

I am a member of the National Church Library Association. I would really really love to have The CRC have workshops for librarians and an exchange of email addresses.


I have just finished putting our library into the ResourceMate database. I am working on getting this onto our church's webpage so people will be able to search the library from their computer at home.I also would like to have the CRC emphasize the library as a ministry and train librarians.

Hi, I am Sue Vander Heide at Maranatha CRC in Holland, Michigan.  I just found out about this site and think it is a great idea to be able to share ideas with other librarians.  We have had a library for a number of years, I have been in charge the last few.  I too am interested in ideas for how to promote the library.  Our library is currently used most by the little ones -books, videos/DVD, women reading fiction and those checking out DVDs.  Also, has anyone found any of the Church Library organizations to be helpful?  Thanks

I am looking for a book(s) dealing with homosexuality from a CRC viewpoint for our church's library.

Christian Reformed World Missions is looking for librarians or library technicians to help strengthening Christian libraries internationally. This is to support the development of libraries in evangelical Christian educational institutions in developing countries through the Strengthening Christian Libraries Internationally (SCLI) project.

If you are interested or know of someone you can find out more info here:






Marlene's wish that The Banner put their children's page online is already fulfilled in part. The text is available at www.thebanner.org along with all the other editorial content in that issue. You can also access back issues there as well.

Unfortunately we can't inlude pics or art at this point, because of copyright rules. We're looking into it as we contemplate expanding our website. Stay tuned.

Bob DeMoor, editor

Have you visited the Kid's Corner website from Back to God Ministries International? It's a wonderful kid's website that is part of their English global media ministry. Kids can listen to radio programing, meeting the characters, and download activities and puzzels. It would be a great addition to your online library. Here's the link: http://kidscorner.net/

Hi Trena! Just a tip regarding reviews/recommendations: Use volunteers (who are avid readers but don't want to be on "another" committee) to write the reviews for your library.

Hi Marlene,
I don't have a lot of ideas about promotion of the library, although I will say that if you get the children visiting the library each Sunday, their parents inevitably come in to browse while waiting for their children to make their selections. The parents than become patrons. At least, that's how it's worked at our library.

For the young children, our DVD collection is their favourite. We have a large early reader section wtih chapter books that they are interested in. Once I have them hooked , they keep coming back!! We also have recruited some young people to act as library pages which has worked really well in encouraging our youth to use our library.

Gina Taylor Lunshof


I'm Marlene Boven at Cadillac CRC in Cadillac, Michigan. We, too, have a collection of around 2500 books plus audio books and DVD's. I am so happy to have other Christian librarians to talk to! We are recently automated but have some final tweeks to do before we go online. Discussions that would interest me are book reviews and library promotion ideas. Also, what are your thoughts about investing more money in audio CD's with the usage of MP3 players etc.?


I'm Trena Boonstra at Crossroads CRC in San Marcos, CA. I started a book sharing book case and eventually actually made it into a lending library. We have a beautiful combination BookStore/Library cart in the foyer and a small library room in a nearby building. It is all self serve. I have in the last years been cataloging all our books and adding pockets/cards. But my catalog is entirely on a computer which is not in the library so not accessible right now to patrons. Most of our books, audio books, etc are donated.

I need to enlist someone else to help. I am also wondering what automation programs others are using. Right now I have a library program put together by an individual in a neighboring church. Not sure yet how flexible it is in adding patrons and a scanner--so far asking for $$ for that doesn't seem appropriate.

I also need to find time to review and promote individual titles

Hi Yvonne,
We have found missing items, or items not being returned, an issue for us as well. We keep our library locked up during the week and always have it attended during the open period before and after our morning service.

Hello! I am involved in our church library at Ebenezer CRC, Trenton, Ontario. Our library is well used also - kids love the growing DVD collection. Items not being returned is often an issue with our open door self serve library.

I am in charge of our church library at First Hamilton CRC in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Our library was initially founded by two women and has grown in size to a collection comprised of 2000+ books, DVD's, CD's and Videos. Our facility is heavily used by the children and youth of our congregation. I have recruited several tween volunteers, who function as library assistants/pages on Sunday mornings. Having peer assistance while using our library has proven to be very popular with our 'patrons' and has improved our circulation.

Hello Mavis!

I'm not a librarian, but I work for Christian Reformed World Missions, and we are working on developing a network of library volunteers to work with theological libraries all over the world. As I have learned, librarians come in many varieties, so the opportunities we have may or may not mesh with your experience, but if you'd like to read more, you can visit http://www.crcna.org/pages/crwm_libraries.cfm.