Libraries are a storehouse of knowledge and information. History books, story books, law books, song books, poetry books, and so on. Libraries are full of them, (kind of reminds me of another book….wink, wink, nudge, nudge). Libraries play a vital role in providing people with reliable content. They encourage and promote the process of learning and grasping knowledge.
“Bring the winter coat I left in Troas with Carpus; also the books and parchment notebooks” 2 Timothy 4:13 (The Message) Paul wanted and needed his “books”; Christians need books today as well. We need books for learning, for reference, for Bible Study, and to stimulate our minds. For centuries books had been produced by hand, one at a time. Religious books were only available to monks, priests and the educated “elite”. With the invention of the printing press and Martin Luther’s revolutionary proclamation nailed on the church door, the iron-grip held by the church and the “elites” on interpreting the Bible and its teachings began to loosen. What once had been available to read exclusively by monks and priests began to be accessible to the average person.
First came libraries in colleges and professional settings. The concept of public libraries came into being around the late 1800’s. Andrew Carnegie thought that books should be available to everyone, not just to scholars. His large donations for the development of public libraries are responsible for the modern United States public library system.
The gathering of books into church libraries has accelerated since the 1950s, and today many churches have libraries. Why do churches need libraries? One simple answer is that they attract children and young families. Young families and kids are the future of the church.
Children love to read and to be read to. A church library can provide a source of uplifting, fun books, that parents can conveniently get at the church library with no extra driving trips involved. Adults can also find reading and reference material for subjects that interest them. The managing of a church library represents good stewardship of resources and can act as a support ministry to every other ministry. I am glad to be a part of this grand tradition.
Peace, Susan Hanson and wonderful Library Team