When Barbara Eubank first came to First Baptist almost 29 years ago, she had never been in a church with a library before. She always loved books and reading, but she didn’t know that with her church membership also came a library membership.
“I always thought the library was only for Sunday School teachers or pastors,” she says. “So I let a lot of years go by before, one day I went in, and that was when I discovered it was absolutely wonderful and for everyone.”
Barbara, who has been volunteering in the library for a number of years now, says it has often been a bustling place. Sunday School teachers, staff, and church members alike would peruse through the aisles, checking out books for personal and communal devotion or leisure. Parents got the latest kids books for their children, and teachers brought their children Sunday School classes in for story-time with the librarian at the time.
Today, the library is quieter, but still adored by a handful of church and staff members. Sunday School teacher, George Johnson is notorious for using the library when he’s preparing for his next series of classes. Minister to Young Adults, Scott Claybrook, offers it as a resource to his interns and students throughout the year. Church and community members alike also use the library as a place for respite and peace.
Even children have a place among the books. Walk up the spiral staircase, and you’ll enter a whole new world of children’s books with authors ranging from J.K. Rowling to Laura Ingalls Wilder to Rick Riordan. Bean bags and stuffed animals and book displays invite children to have fun while learning. Staff member, Vanessa Moore’s children love to spend time in the library.
“My children actually ask to come to work with me when they’re out of school so they can spend time in there,” says Vanessa. “They think it’s visually amazing and fun. It’s just a nice quiet space to spend time.”
There’s a little bit of everything for everyone in our library. From self-help to cookbooks to planning a wedding to theological studies. The breadth of subject matter is one of the things that drew Janice Hodge to become a library volunteer. She loves the convenience of being able to pick up a book while she’s at church rather than having to go to a public library. What makes working there special to her, however, is getting to meet people and help them find the perfect book.
“I can’t tell you the number of times we have visitors that come in and go ‘Oh my gosh, I can’t believe this is so vast,’” says Janice. “We have Karen Kingsbury, John Grisham and biographies about everything from presidents to athletes. It’s fun to help people find what they need.”
If you are book lover or have children who are, check out our library the next time you’re here. It is open during regular office hours, as well as from 8:45 am to 11 am on Sundays. It works just like a regular public library, in that you can check out a book and keep it three weeks. It’s isn’t regular in that you can check out a book when no one is present simply by putting your name and the book number on the sign in sheet.
At First Baptist, we believe everyone should have opportunities to give of themselves regardless of what your passions are. The library is no different. If you love books, consider serving the church by investing in the library. Invest your time as a volunteer during the Sunday School hour. Or, invest financially. As the library doesn’t have a budget line, maintenance and new book purchases come from designated gifts. Consider designating your next gift to the library, so we can continue using it as a place of discipleship and personal devotion.