Library Startup Ideas

 Starting Your Church Library or Resource Center

  • Speak with your pastor and/or Board of Elders to obtain permission.

  • Put together a committee.  While you can do it alone, it is better to have the support of a committee.  “Many hands make light the work”.

  • Prepare a mission statement for your library, and a list of goals or objectives.

  • Find a visible location for your library.

  • Obtain shelving and other necessary furnishings.

  • Draw up policies for your library including but not limited to:

    • Check out and check in procedures

    • Types of books/media you will have in your library

    • Fines

    • Donated items

    • Staffing

  • Look for monies to support your library.  The ideal would be to be part of the church budget.  If that isn’t possible think about door collections, memorials, saving grocery receipts from local supermarkets, book fairs, etc.  Be creative.

  • Decide how you will catalog your books perhaps using the Dewey Decimal System, color coding, shelf labels or some other method.

  • Develop a plan to promote your library and the media you have acquired.

  • Consider joining the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod Church Librarian’s Organization, aka WELS-CLO.   It’s a great way for you to share and be in touch with other church librarians! For information contact  This organization offers support and encouragement to librarians in all stages of developing and managing church libraries. Quarterly newsletters feature organization news and events, various articles of interest to church librarians, reviews of newly published  books, and a message from our president.  WELS-CLO meets in the spring and fall for seminars and fellowship.  The fee is $15.00 per year.

Recruiting a Church Librarian

 Church Librarian Job Description (113 KB) 
    A list of qualifications for a church librarian

Links to Library Websites and Articles

Ellen Bosman's Website on Congregational Libraries - describes the role of church libraries and offers a broad collection of various links to library associations, selection sources, and more

Successful Church Libraries by Elmer L. Towns (243 KB)
An informative article published some time ago by Baker Book House about starting a church library. It contains some excellent ideas for establishing a church library, but some discernment is needed since not all the books suggested in chapters 8 & 9 are appropriate for a Lutheran church library.
Sample Mission Statements (10 KB)
Get ideas for a mission/purpose statements from these examples.
Sample Disclaimers
Examples of disclaimers for your church library
Sample Library Principles, Procedures, & Promotion (303 KB)
An example of how one church library is organized and managed

Sources for Library Furnishings and Supplies

Brodart - has a large assortment of supplies and furnishing for libraries

Demco - offers discounts to church libraries

The Library Store - provides a full line of library furnishings and supplies

WELS-CLO presents the information on this page as a service to our users. Links to external web sites do not necessarily constitute an endorsement or guarantee of accuracy by WELS-CLO. We accept no responsibility for other web sites to which we are linked.