Who may use the Jamima Sutton Library?
Bethlehem members and members of their immediate families are free to use the library at will. Others may browse but they may not checkout items. Members and members of their immediate families may check out items for others but they will be responsible for the safe return of the items.
Young supervised children of church members are encouraged to browse and checkout books. When they are old enough to do so, they may date and “sign” their own book cards. Children’s books are in the last row on the bottom shelves.
When will the library be open?
The library is a self-service facility. If you are in the building, the library is open.
How can I find a book or audio/visual item in the library?
We do not have a card catalog. Instead, we have an electronic catalog that will be accessible two ways.
- The catalog is on the church website. Go to the Members page to find it. The website catalog will be updated as changes occur. You will find an interactive (XHTML) version. You may also open the non interactive (.pdf) files if you like. You may print the .pdf files. However, be aware that they are over 45 pages each.
- The catalog is available in the library in two three-ring binders. There are four tabs in each binder: (1) sorted by title (2 ) sorted by author, (3) information about the Dewey Decimal sort, and (4) this document: Library Q&A’s—questions and answers. It will be updated as changes occur.
All items have Dewey Decimal numbers which will help you find the shelf location. Keep in mind that Dewey Decimal numbers are based on content, not title or author. So, more than one book may have the same Dewey Decimal number.
Is there a place in the library to relax and read?
Unfortunately, we don’t have an ideal place in the library for that. We encourage anyone to use the church parlor when it is available. Feel free to take any book across the hall to read and relax. We ask that when any book is taken from the library for any reason that it not be returned to the shelf. Please leave it on the library table or you may check it out, of course.
How do I checkout books, booklets and audio/visual items?
Photos appear on a bulletin board in the library. From the photos, members and their immediate families can learn how to check out books, booklets and audio/visual items in approximately one minute.
How do I check an item back in?
Use the same process. The photos on a library bulletin boards address this also. Never return checked out items to the shelves. Only the librarian may return items to the shelves. Leave returned items on the table.
How long may I keep a book or audio/visual item?
We have not established a specific time. Please keep in mind that for best utilization of the library, please wait until you are ready to use an item to check it out and return it as soon as you have finished using it.
What happens if I damage or lose a book while I have it checked out?
We will establish a specific procedure for that should it become an issue. Hopefully, we can just say that for a library to serve the patrons, those who use it must exercise responsibility. One solution to a lost or damaged book would be for the member to decide to replace the item or purchase another from the current library wish list then check the new book into the library after inserting a short note and the old card. Another solution would be to reimburse the library for the replacement cost plus an estimated amount for shipping and handling.
Will the library help me remember the due date?
At this time, there is no due date but to help you manage the time you have the book, and for other helps, take a bookmarker from the table and place it in your book. There is a space on it to record the date you checked out the book.
How do I reserve a book or audio/visual item that is currently checked out?
Take one of the reservation cards. Make sure to fill in all spaces, even when requested information is a duplication of information in other spaces.
Find the card for the book or audio/visual item you want to reserve on the cork board. Place your reservation card over the bottom portion of the book card.
The person returning the book or audio/visual item should cut or tear the reservation card in half and keep one half as a reminder to call you and let you know the item is available. Or, they may hand it to you in person. Then, you can use it as your reminder to get the item before you leave. You will find the item on the table, not on a shelf.
Will the library feature books from time to time in the church bulletin?
Yes. At least once each month, we will feature:
- Three easy-to-read books
- Three theology books
- Three children’s books
Featured books will be pre pulled from shelves. You can find them on the library table in bookends. Just make your selection and check it out.
What about the handicapped and shut-ins?
Shut-in and handicapped persons are encouraged to request a photocopy of the catalog from the circulation librarian, which they may keep. We will not print them in advance because they are subject to change. Since they are subject to change, request a new copy approximately every February. (The website will be updated frequently throughout the year.)
Members and their immediate family members may checkout and return items for shut-ins.
Handicapped members are encouraged to contact the circulation librarian and ask her to pre checkout an item for them. They will find their item on the library table in an envelope with their name on it.
How do I contribute items to the library?
Review our list of items being sought and the list of unsuitable items. Bring suitable items directly to the library and place them on the floor beside the table. Never shelve them. There is a process for the procurement librarian before books can be shelved. Leave a note with your contribution if you like.
Who will determine what is suitable for inclusion in the library?
For donations, the procurement librarian will make decisions based on guidelines approved by the Board of Christian Education. For purchases, the Board of Christian Education will consider recommendations of the procurement librarian and church members and will determine its own prioritized list for purchase and will instruct the procurement librarian to make the purchases. The instructions will also specify the amount of funds available. The list may include titles and authors or it may specify Dewey Decimal System categories. The Board of Christian Education and the procurement librarian may also seek recommendations and advice from the Pastor and Associate Pastor.
Suitable and unsuitable items for the library
Thank you for your interest in helping your church library to grow. The library accepts books, compact discs, and digital video discs concerning Christianity, generally the items you would find in a public library under the 200s (religion) section of the Dewey Decimal system, although we have cataloged limited items outside this subject range if they relate to Christianity.
Donated items should advocate doctrine that is consistent with orthodox Christianity, as expressed by the Bethlehem Christian Church statement of faith. Although digital audio/visual media is preferred, analog media such as audio cassette tapes and VHS tapes will be considered.
Certain items will generally not be accepted for the library:
- Ordinary Bibles in a translation that the library already has. Church members typically own multiple Bibles and do not check them out of the church library. The library will consider Bibles in versions not currently cataloged, or with special features such as extensive helps and reference material bound in the same volume as the Scripture text.
- General fiction and non-fiction, although limited items with a strong Christian theme will be considered
- Devotionals that are specific to a named year. Also, the library is already well stocked with day-by-day devotionals that are not specific to a given year.
- Items that conflict with the Bethlehem Christian Church statement of faith, such as those proclaiming heterodox doctrine, e.g., the so-called “prosperity Gospel”, or those advocating the beliefs of nominally Christian cults
If you already own an item, it will certainly be considered for acceptance into the church library. If you are deciding about purchasing an item for donation, please consider donating the funds instead so the Board of Christian Education can purchase items in subject areas lacking in the current library collection.
The Board of Christian Education wants the library to be used by the church because it contains items which interest the members. If you want the library to acquire a particular item or to expand its holdings in a particular subject area, please let one of the librarians or a member of the Board know and make your request as specific as possible.