Do you ever wish you could start your own ministry to share your faith with others? Starting an at-home lending library is one way you can help others grow in their faith without sacrificing a huge amount of your time. A library ministry is a good fit for those with busy schedules. You can determine the hours your library is open or simply make it available by appointment only.
Books truly can change lives. If you love books and want to encourage others, starting your own library ministry can be a great way to reach out to your community and circle of friends.
Determine what room of your home could be used for the library. Purchase bookcases to place along the walls of the room. A small desk can be placed in the center of the room for signing out books.
You don’t need an elaborate bookkeeping system. A large binder with notebook paper will suffice. The person borrowing the book will need a place to sign their name, contact information, title of the book, and the date it is signed out and due back.
You can determine how long to allow lenders to borrow the books. One month is a good time frame. You can establish a late fee up front if desired or wait to see if books being returned late becomes a problem before necessitating a late fee.
Let others know about your library
Several months before you open your library, let others know about your intentions and the purpose of your library. Send an announcement to local churches in your area.
Don’t be afraid to ask for donations. Many people have books lying around that they may want to get rid of. Some people may offer donations of money to help you purchase books.
Visiting used bookstores in your area is the best way to shop for books. Many used books are in excellent condition and can be bought for a fraction of the cost of new books.
Let your local used bookstore owner know your intentions. They may be willing to contact you as new inspirational books arrive. Some stores may offer you a discount when you purchase a large quantity of books. Visit used bookstores on a regular basis to watch for new books arriving.
Other places to look for books include flea markets and yard sales.
Enlist the help of a few readers
Once you begin to gather your books, you will want to make sure you are only lending books that inspire and encourage others. Titles can be deceiving. Make sure the books line up with the faith you want to share with others.
This is a great opportunity to get retired or elderly people involved in your ministry. Ask them if they would be willing to read books and give an honest critique of them before adding them to your library.
Getting ready for opening day
Once you have a fair amount of books for your library, organize them alphabetically on the shelves. You should keep a log of all your books in a binder or stored on a computer.
Decide on the hours of operation that will best suit your schedule. Offer appointments if desired. You may also enlist the help of a volunteer to oversee your library at times.
Once your library is up and running, not only will you be encouraging others, you will also feel proud to have your own at-home ministry. Books truly do change lives, and having your own library ministry can be life changing for you as well.