• LibraryThing
  • Book discussions
  • Your LibraryThing
  • Join to start using.

Have you set up a church library on Library Thing?

Church Libraries

Join LibraryThing to post.

This topic is currently marked as "dormant"—the last message is more than 90 days old. You can revive it by posting a reply.

1hsl2000 First Message
Oct 28, 2006, 8:03pm Top

I am just processing my own library here and have discovered the small church in my new city has a collection of books that no one has ever set up as a library. I am thinking that Library Thing might be just the thing to help us get an inventory and begin to organize the collection--as well as provide a way for our members to access the list to see what is available (and what might be welcome additions!) I would be interested in finding out if anyone else has been able to make use of Library Thing in this way. (I am still a long way from completing my own library here, but I have a feeling that my personal collection is going to outweigh the congregation's books for some time to come!)

Nov 3, 2006, 2:31am Top

The Library Committee of the Western Australia Regional Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) have just begun cataloguing our library on librarything as a means of sharing our collection with meetings in areas remote from the Regional Meeting House in Perth. We are not moving with any great speed and have 1,400 books to enter. Once that is accomplished we will begin to puzzle through cataloguing a large collection of pamphlets and other materials.

3mrdrjohn First Message
Edited: Nov 9, 2006, 12:05am Top

I am in the same position as you are in setting up a church library. I pastor a congregation and have always had several books of my own since I tend to work in small to medium sized congregations that have little resource for books. My problem has always been in how to loan out personal books. It has not been the lack of desire to loan, but the realization that I might not ever see it again. I think LT will help me keep track a little better than I have in the past. Our church library is not very big... mostly Christian novels and some commentaries. But it does seem to be well used, so I hope that people will be able to look online and see if the church library has a particular book. I am hoping that LT will be adding a check-out system to their page. This would help me with my personal library and I know it would do wonders for our little church library.

Nov 11, 2006, 3:11am Top

I had to laugh when you said you realized you may never again see a loaned-out book. When we began to look at our options, we asked all Australian Quaker Meetings if they had tried an internet catalogue. No one had, but each outlined the system they were using. One librarian commented that many of their books are not returned until the borrower dies. So make sure you have your name in all your books so the survivors know what to do with them!

Nov 11, 2006, 4:03pm Top

Ah... I understand... My wife bought me one of those Embossers a long time ago, so all of my books get "stamped". However, a bigger problem is that pastors tend to move around. As a pastor, I am hoping that this will be a very long stay as to where I am now.

When I emailed Abby, she suggested that they were looking into a way to have a col. that could be marked for "check out" and who it was loaned by. I have taken her suggestion and added into my tags the tag "Loaned- borrower's name", but it would be nice to have it much more obvious. I suppose there are really only so many things that one can fill up a screen with. However, as for small librarys like church libraries, it sure would be a nice addition.

Nov 12, 2006, 9:02am Top

I like your idea of using the tags as a record of borrowed books and may try it for my own library. As we work on setting up our church library (currently two skimpy shelves of books that don't seem to have been updated for 15 or 20 years), I don't think we're going to have too much trouble with ANYONE borrowing too many of them. However, our pastor has the same concerns that you do, in that he'd really like to loan out his own books if he could have a way to reliably get them back.

Nov 12, 2006, 9:11am Top

Here's another idea I've been tossing around: Since our library funds are limited, and we have quite a few members whose libraries are probably many times larger than we can ever envision the church library being, I am thinking of setting up some kind of book swap within the congregation. Our website would include a form for people to enter a desired book, DVD, or other media item. These requests would be listed on a secure part of the website and would also be included in our monthly newsletter. Other members would be encouraged to review these wishlists and contact the requestor directly to arrange a loan. Responsibility for the return of books would remain with the person making the loan. Our "web librarian" could monitor the requests to note trends and identify the kinds of books that seem to be most useful to the congregation.

I'm not sure if LibraryThing would provide any real assistance for this kind of swap plan, but have any of you tried anything similar? Any other suggestions on how to use the power of individual member libraries to help enhance the congregational resources?

Nov 12, 2006, 9:13am Top

I have found that the thousands of return address labels we get from non-profit groups here in the states make wonderful book labels. However, I am like mrdrjohn and have moved often, so many of my books could end up in AZ or NJ or... if the borrower's survivors tried to follow those addresses! But at least my name is there as a reminder.

Nov 13, 2006, 3:41am Top

I started a librarything group for our meeting/congregation. I am inviting members and attenders to join the group so that our libraries can be searched all at once (a feature of these librarything groups). I said that they are not obligated to lend their books, so that people who search do not automatically assume the book is available to borrow. Perhaps you could form a group of people who are willing to lend their books and ask them only to list the books in their "lending library."

Nov 13, 2006, 1:59pm Top

Our church has a small library, and they are looking for a way to catalog the books. I suggested LibraryThing, but there is no internet access in the church (except for the staff offices). So anyone wanting to search the library would have to do so from home (assuming they have internet access, which many don't) or from an exported Excel version (either printed or on a stand-alone PC that might be available in the library itself).

Do others of you actually have an online terminal available in your libraries? Or are you in the same situation having to use a printout?

Edited: Jan 6, 2012, 3:07pm Top

We have a card system on 3x5 cards that was set up in 1990 by a member who was a professional librarian. We have no plans to purchase hardware or software for the library; therefore, the card system will be maintained so long as we have any members or attenders who do not have internet access at home.

The reason we are going on librarything is because we are both a regional centre and a local meeting/congregation. We have, perhaps, a half dozen meetings that are several hours drive from the library. Librarything is a way for people who attend these remote meetings to gain better access to a library that they help support.

The advantage to the simple card system is that people are familiar with card catalogues, and also, they can be maintained by volunteers on the spot, not requiring taking information home to be entered into a computer.

I edited this entry to remove the last paragraph that offered to explain the system to anyone interested. One reason is that those who have received the explanation have made no comment (yea or nay), and I am thinking it may not be as simple as I have represented. The other reason is that LibraryThing currently does not have a place to put call numbers that are not Dewey or Library of Congress. See more about this later in this discussion.

Nov 14, 2006, 1:04am Top

If your church offices have internet (brewegirl) can they be wireless. We have a wireless system that anyone with a laptop can come in and work in the library. I was thinking more of people checking from home whether or not we have a book in our library. But I am hoping to have a computer actually in the library and connected to the internet. It would be highly doubtful that we would move totallly to an internet system. Too many of our "library patrons" wouldn't know how to use a computer and really don't want to learn... they just want to read books. What a transition time we live in.

13StVLibrarian First Message
Mar 1, 2007, 10:25pm Top

I'm brand new to LT so I don't know all it's benefits yet. I do run a small church library. We have been working in the last two years to computerize it and it was been such a life saver. We are using a software program called ResourceMate and I would highly recommend it.

Mar 3, 2007, 4:59pm Top

The software looks interesting; are you using it just to catalog or is it proving helpful in circulation areas as well?

Mar 5, 2007, 11:42am Top

We use it for circulation as well. Our library is a little bigger than some of these by the sound of it. We have about 2500 items in our collection. So we are started the process of bar coding too, just to speed things up on a sunday morning and to increase the accuracy a bit. But I would still recommend the software just for catalogueing purposes.
When I took over the library we had just moved so all our books were in boxes and catalogued in a notebook according to purchase date. It was a bit of a nightmare knowing what we had and what we didn't. Computerizing it has been a huge help.
I'm not sure that this software is ideal for merging individual libraries or multi-church libraries. It probably is capable but I haven't really looked into it much.

16crossingsinsc First Message
Mar 12, 2007, 7:37pm Top

I read your message on "Libary Thing". It is now 4 months later. I am considering using it to catalog our books. What advice do you have more than your Oct. message? We are a small chruch in Columbia, South Carolina

Edited: Jan 6, 2012, 3:21pm Top

I am slowly, but surely, entering the 1,500 titles in our little library. Once done, there is a wealth of other materials that will have to be catalogued. We have decided to use librarything exclusively for a number of reasons. One is that we are a regional library for a half dozen meetings that are some distance apart. Another is that we have no plans to buy a computer for the library (so our card catalogue is still in use, in addition to librarything). A benefit that we had not foreseen is that we can describe the book and its contents in the "Review" field, and this information can be included in a search. Thus a book on travelling ministry that includes a chapter on racism will come up in a search for "racism". I am using the "Comment" field for the call number. Another plus is that members of our meeting can access the library catalogue from their home computers. For the time being, librarything is the most economical solution to our multi-faceted requirements.

I am editing this entry to add this. I have been in dialogue with Jeremy of LibraryThing. He says that my book descriptions are not proper reviews and that LibraryThing discourages using this field for anything except proper reviews. He says that most of the descriptions I have used in the "Review" field are not reviews. He suggested that this information should be transferred to the "Comment" field, even suggesting that we could add this information below the call number that we are currently entering in the "Comment" field. (I am not crazy about this idea because it causes problems when I download the info for creating the hard copy catalogue for the library.) He also says that they are "thinking about" adding another field for call numbers that are not Dewey or Library of Congress. If you are interested in this, perhaps you can encourage LibraryThing to proceed with this addition.

There is a Group "Talk About LibraryThing" that is helpful: http://www.librarything.com/groups/sitetalk

Mar 31, 2007, 11:20am Top

I am just starting to catalog my church library on librarything. We don't use dewey, so my tags are by my 8 subject areas, and a few sub areas. For circulation, I do what we had in elementary school, pockets in the back with a sign out card, and there's a locked box in the library for them. The library is about 1,200 and constantly growing.

There is a really neat import feature on here if you've already cataloged your library. All I had to do was copy and paste the ISBNs from my old excel file. Unfortunately, I lost part of the catalog in a hard drive crash, so I've got some major adding to do. See the library http://www.librarything.com/profile/BlufftonBaptist

Apr 2, 2007, 9:11pm Top

i like the idea of using the Review field--thanks for the suggestion!

Apr 18, 2007, 3:01pm Top

Aha! I'm Clerk of my PM in Middlesex and I was thinking of cataloguing our library using LT. Unfortunately, though, we don't have broadband at the meeting-house!

In Friendship


Sep 10, 2007, 1:52am Top

Hi, just found this group. I'm not convinced of the value of putting our church library here. We have a very limited budget. There is not computer in our library, though there is wireless access, so I could use my son's laptop to enter books. Personally, I would rather have the books here than at Shelfari, this site is much more useful and easy to navigate as far as finding the books in your library. But to justify the $15 per year fee to our small budget, I need really good reasons to have it here, more than my own convenience. I cannot seem to work up much enthusiasm towards our library in any event. There are about 10 people who use it regularly, even though I have tried to keep on top of purchasing interesting and new books. I've never counted, but I'm pretty sure we have about 2000 books in our library.

So, could someone convince me of the advantages of having the library entered here?

Sep 10, 2007, 12:46pm Top

Don't forget the one-time, "forever" fee of $25; it should be affordable even for a very small library.

Sep 10, 2007, 3:26pm Top

#22 - That one time fee only applies to individuals, not organizations, so on a budget of $100 per year, even the $15 fee cuts into it quite a bit. Not that I couldn't pay it myself if I thought it worth while. I'm just trying to convince myself it's worthwhile. ;)

Sep 11, 2007, 4:13pm Top

I am SO glad you pointed that out. My entries are still just my own, as we are still in the VERY early stages of trying to get a very old, very small, and very neglected collection up and running into a feasible church library. I don't know if I missed the organizational pricing when I joined or if that is new since I started, but will be sure to keep the difference in fees in mind as we go forward. Thanks for the info--and I hope you will be able to get the fee into your budget.

Sep 13, 2007, 9:51am Top

I'm taking the books home, 10 at a time. It's slow, but it's happening. Of course being in a hurry isn't very Quakerly anyway. ;0)

Sep 13, 2007, 10:37am Top

Hehe, that is a nice state of mind. Lets say you process 20 books a week this way, I am pretty sure the thought of spending 1.5 year of cataloging would drive me crazy. Good luck:)

27DHUMCLibrary First Message
Oct 12, 2007, 8:18pm Top

We started using LibraryThing at my church library a few months ago and so far I am pleased. There are a few quirks with the catalog, but they're not hinderances. You can use the comment field for a lot of customization. Feel free to take a look.

28thorag First Message
Oct 13, 2007, 1:05am Top

With respect to your question about the advantages of entering the library on LibraryThing, have you considered cataloguing just one section of your collection - the section that would benefit the most from sort sort of subject access? In my case, I am thinking of using LT to selectively catalogue a children's library at my church (Unitarian). Depending on time, I may just use LT for the collection of storybooks because we need to be able to pull out stories based on the "issue" or "value" being demonstrated; e.g., grief, divorce, empathy, friendship, etc. These topics cannot easily be ascertained by browsing the books and just looking at the titles.

Or you could just use LT to highlight new and exciting books in your collection (I'm thinking of doing this in my day job - in a library, of course). Once you get your library up on a great program like LT, it can become a great promotion tool, so you might just get far more than the ten people coming in! People get really excited when they can actually see the book covers and summaries.

Incidentally, has anyone else catalogued a children's church library collection?

Oct 13, 2007, 5:12am Top

We are cataloguing the entire collection, including children's books, though I haven't entered many of them yet. When writing a summary for the "Review" field, I make certain that all key topics are mentioned. Thus, grief, divorce, empathy, etc. are mentioned in the summary. When I am looking for one particular topic or issue I search "all fields" and I get all books with that word in the title OR in the review field. This has helped me keep down the number of tags.

Oct 14, 2007, 7:31pm Top

thorag - Thanks for the ideas. I'm thinking I would have to give a class on how to use LT too. I wonder if I could get people enthused enough to come? I know, I know, I'll never know until I try. :)

Dec 7, 2007, 5:22pm Top

Six months ago I volunteered to take over our church's library. I had been using LT for my own books for over a year at that point. Buying a lifetime subscription for the church was mandatory. Now, these several months later, the entire library is catalogued on LibraryThing (user name: abchurchak). Yes, it took some time; we actually weeded out about 1/3 of the books before cataloguing them, and just dumped them in the freebie bin at the community library. Because the church library not a huge one (smaller than my personal collection), I got rid of our Dewey Decimal system, and recatalogued everything into ten or so general categories, using abbeviations of those categories and color-coding. I use the "tag" feature on LT to indicate which category a book is in, and therefore, where in the library a book is located. As I have explained to church members, the advantage of LT is the ability to search for a book or author from home; to not only see what we DO have, but also, what we DON'T have. Donations to the church library are encouraged. We take ALL donations, even those books which aren't necessarily appropriate, knowing we can get credit at other bookstores, or by swapping them on BookMooch. LT also enables me to sort through what we have, to make "recommended" reading lists, select books for special displays, etc. Yes, it has taken time; I probably made it harder than it needed to be by nixing the Dewey system (I may spend the remainder of my life questioning the wisdom of that decision); but I have to say it was very fun.

32UnivMenno First Message
Edited: Jan 9, 2008, 11:09am Top

We are a small Mennonite congregation in central Pennsylvania and have about 1,000 volumes. We do not have broadband in our library. I put occasional notices in our church bulletin of the LibraryThing URL for our church. Broadcast emails go out to the entire congregation on new additions to the library and, again, the URL is listed. While I see lots of people Sunday mornings browsing the shelves, I have noticed an increase of people bringing lists of books they want--they browsed the catalog from home. I believe the $15 is a good investment.

Jan 21, 2008, 6:33pm Top

UnivMenno: I love the idea of sending emails with new books. Never occurred to me to do this; I always rely on people coming INTO the library (unrealistic optimism) and seeing my display table of new books. Thanks for the hint.

Jan 23, 2008, 7:49pm Top

alaskabookworm: In addition to the broadcast emails sent out to the congregation on new additions to the library (books, scores, DVDs, tapes), I also send out lists related to sermon series or a Sunday school topic. The search feature makes it easy to bring up the tags they have in common. One present class is on "forgiveness," based on the Amish Nickel Mines school. So that got a list. I generated a reading list for adults and children on Martin Luther King, race relations, and the South African church. A list of recommendations for personal devotions during Lent just went out.

I had a couple really nice experiences last Sunday. There was a small group of students from our local university in the library between the service and SS, scouring the shelves for books on Mennonite theology and history. Many have been attracted by a campus ministry and are curious about our roots. A relatively newcomer came bustling up to me in the lobby stating, "Here's our librarian, she'll know!" He was looking for a book for a first-time attender. After decades of pretty stagnant circulation, we're really starting to perk. Some of the credit for that is due to LT.

Entering all 1,000 volumes reacquainted me with our holdings. It also lets me see if we are weak or top heavy on a particular subject or author.

Jan 24, 2008, 12:40pm Top

Your use of reference lists sounds great too--do you use LibraryThing tags to help you develop your lists quickly? Seems like that might be a good use of the tag feature.

Jan 25, 2008, 9:52am Top

I'm going to start a new thread on how I do tabs.

Feb 10, 2008, 5:26pm Top

Today I had a talk with my pastor. He thinks it would be good to have our library in here, especially when I mentioned the uses some of you have talked about. So I put in a request to the membership to see if anyone has an old laptop they are willing to part with for our library. We decided the yearly fee and the price of the Cue Cat are well worth the value. I suppose now it depends on the generosity of the congregation! If they come through, then I know what I will be doing all summer this year.

Edited: Feb 28, 2011, 10:23am Top

WARM- I see you posted this a few years ago, but if possible please give more details about your system.

Mar 12, 2011, 5:06pm Top

>re 6

In my home library when someone borrows a book, i add a tag with the borrower's first name or initials. Tags are useful things especially if one comes up with a system.

Mar 14, 2011, 11:07am Top

We started using librarything to catalogue new & old books in our church library. We too felt bad that it was only available on the church website/librarything. So we were copying the main pg from librarything and putting them in binders by catagories. This went on for about a year or so, as the library grew to about 400-500. Nobody but the church librarians used these binders. So binders have been dispensed with and the paper is being recycled on my home printer. Don't waste your time or supplies!

On a positive note, we do list new book titles by category, with author, in our church's weekly bulletin and monthly newsletter from time to time. This does draw more traffic into the library!

We do not have an online terminal yet!

Jun 27, 2011, 4:40pm Top

Can you get a router and go wireless throughout the church from the connection in the office? Ask your internet provider of a member with computer savvy and I bet you can get up and running for less than $75.00

Oct 11, 2011, 4:48pm Top

i am also helping to set up a small church library and would like to read more about your card system, since it is simplier than Dewey.

Oct 13, 2011, 5:24pm Top

Hi Maybe I don't have things set right to see what you're talking about but where is the review field? Could you elaborate a little more about how you are using it?

Edited: Jan 6, 2012, 3:39pm Top

WARM uses a category system a little similar to Library of Congress. It was set up by a professional librarian in 1990. Categories are identified by a single letter of the alphabet. Though I notice that the local public libraries that use the same system also use "B" to indicate biography, all our other categories are unique to our collection.

Library categories are organic. As I entered books on Librarything, the books began to direct revisions to the category list. For instance, Bibles were originally listed in the category with non-Quaker religious philosophy, because the Bible was not written by a Quaker. Since the Bible, along with the church government publications titled "Faith and Practice" are considered the foundation of Quakerism, I created a new category just for Bibles so that they could be shelved on their own beside the church discipline (government) books, which also include the Faith & Practice series.

I also re-thought any category that had only a few books. Could I find another place for them in existing categories? The exercise of adding a book description helped clarify the category where a book belonged. It also helped reveal topics that had grown into a category of their own.

This takes patience, as does the adding of book descriptions. I typed in the descriptions as I added each book. It took almost four years to gradually get 1,700+ books on LibraryThing. We were finally able to discontinue our card catalog, because LibraryThing allows you to download your information into an Excel file. It took me about an hour to tweak and clean the downloaded file (deleting some of the fields, such as review), then create two alphabetized lists, one for author and one for title. The card catalog has now been replaced with a looseleaf book that is periodically updated.

I have moved across the world and thus am no longer on the WARM library committee. It was a joy to personally handle each of those 1,700 books.

I edited this entry in order to delete my extended description of how I used the "Review" field. I have learned that LibraryThing frowns on using this field for anything other than "proper reviews."

Oct 18, 2011, 2:09pm Top

#43 Please note that the review field is for reviews, not for table of contents, copy information, call number and other non-reviews. Most of WARMs reviews have been red (for TOS violations) and/or blue flagged. You have a comments field that could be used for TOC and classification fields for your call number. This topic has more information on proper use of the review field: http://www.librarything.com/topic/125310

My church library is at http://www.librarything.com/catalog/rdgchristchurch
I used the comment field for content notes, series entries and other info and private comments field for accession info like price and source. And be very careful about circulation information. There are some libraries that violate privacy laws by putting borrowers in either tags, the review field or the public comments field. That needs to be in the private comments field. Of course the fact that the book is checked out or otherwise not on the shelf can be noted in a public field.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to message me.

Edited: Jan 6, 2012, 4:29pm Top

I am surprised anyone objects to T of C in the review field. I have had several emails saying how useful this is. One called it an "objective review" of sorts. A review should hopefully tell you what the book is about, which is why T of C is used when a review is not available. The comments field is used by WARM to show call number. Some of the current fields were not available when WARM began using LibraryThing.

I am editing this entry to add the following comments. fdholt, thank you for calling my attention to LibraryThing's policy regarding the "Review" field. Since our October/November interchange, I have exchanged dialogue with Jeremy of LibraryThing. I have removed all "See Copy 1 for description" notes from the "Review" field. At present we are still trying to figure out where to put book descriptions and where to put call numbers that are not Library of Congress or Dewey. LibraryThing is less flexible about the use of the "Review" field because they sell reviews. Since learning this I changed WARM's consent to share reviews with other libraries to "No." WARM will most likely be more sharing at a later date when the problem of where to put book descriptions and/or non-LC/Dewey call numbers is resolved.

I was unfamiliar with the "Works pages" that Jeremy told me about. There I found the flags mentioned by fdholt, and I began the process of checking for flags. At this writing there are 1,771 books in the WARM LibraryThing catalogue. The most recent 21 entries were flagged, 20 of them with a red flag. The red flag is supposed to indicate violation of Terms of Service (TOS) and/or plagiarism. None of these entries is a violation of TOS or plagiarism. They are not, however, traditional book reviews, in that they list the contents of the books, but do not offer any critique. (A non-review may be blue flagged.) Four of these volumes are collections created specifically to be used for in-house classes/lectures, and the "reviews" simply listed titles of works included in the classes.

In using book-jacket blurbs and other published information in the book descriptions, I cited the source and put the information in quotation marks. I did not use quotation marks in listings of Table of Contents. I found a lengthy discussion of whether or not listing Table of Contents constitutes plagiarism. There was no conclusion reached, though some commented that they thought T of C entries and book-jacket blurbs served to promote books and wouldn't make publishers unhappy or cause them to call their lawyers.

I found no other red flags and only four other blue flags in the collection (admittedly, I only checked the last 600 or so entries). Though I am loathe to admit it, I myself have at one time or another indulged in a bit of exaggeration in order to make some well-loved point.

As a side note, in Australia schools and religious organizations (and perhaps other nonprofits) are allowed to reproduce up to 100 pages from any book for educational use. As I understand it, this would not be legal in the United States. (Kinko's/Houston was involved in a famous lawsuit many years ago when a local university professor had his students pick up and pay for copied extracts from books that were read for his class.)

I hope new church LibraryThingers are not discouraged by this long-winded discussion. LibraryThing is still a new Thing, and the folks in charge seem to be willing to listen and eager to help.

I am presently reading Think No Evil about the Amish school-house shootings. What an example of Christian kindness! May their well-honed capacity for forgiveness inspire us in our everyday contacts.

Jan 6, 2012, 3:22pm Top

In 2009 LibraryThing changed organization fees to the same as individual fees.

Jan 6, 2012, 7:42pm Top

#46 I have to agree that a TOC is extremely useful. I put these in the comments field where they are as searchable as a title. Howver it is so labor intensive that I am selective. I could use LC but haven't as yet. Do you get your TOCs from a MARC record or hand type?

Jan 7, 2012, 11:14pm Top


Lots of Worldcat Book Records have Tables of Contents. My local library has many TOC's, so one would think they are MARC records.

Jan 8, 2012, 11:19am Top

#49 They can be in the WorldCat record, on the LC site (linked through WorldCat sometimes) or purchased by libraries from 3rd party vendors. At Albright College, if we can't get from WorldCat and it is important to us, we hand type.

Edited: Jan 8, 2012, 6:44pm Top


I've typed in a TOC if I really like the book (and it is in my library), and I am not up to doing a proper review of it.

I do think that someone, part of the libraries in Nassau County (NY), must be typing a few 'newer' books with a TOC.

Mar 21, 2012, 10:13am Top

Just started about two weeks ago, as our library is moving and we'd outgrown the card catalog a number of years ago. It seemed a good time to weed, and enter all into a new online system. I've entered about 600 new books to our collection and about 1000 existing with some to go still. About fourteen hour days working in every nook and cranny of time, but a project that I hope will serve us well.

I love that I can have one screen I use solely for creating my labels (I use "E") with the information we want there. The only thing I have to type manually is the Dewey number. On that note, I wish in book description, we could have " rather than "inches" so that it would save space on my card is all...I often have to edit that for space. Good to have that physical description on the card in case I call and ask the loaner about it. I also wish it would show whether it's paper or HB in that field.

Feb 5, 2013, 9:44pm Top

I have the joy of being my church librarian (Eastern Orthodox). The collection is 1300 books; my database is on excel spreadsheets. I'm new to LT. Is it a monumental task to put the holdings on LT? I use subject heads, not Dewey.

My website section on "creating and maintaining a parish library" is close to being finished. I hope it will give help to those who need some advice.

I just have an individual membership now as I'm trying to figure LT out.

A network of Orthodox parish librarians is my dream! Any of y'all out there??? Our Catholic cousins seem to be way ahead of us on this!!!

Feb 6, 2013, 7:49am Top

We started to catalog our collection using excel. But, I have found that using LT is so much easier because you have Amazon, WorldCat or Library of Congress as far away as a click on the computer. Also,there are pages of titles and authors of your own library books which would make the library collection very user friendly. I am seriously thinking of putting the collection online using LT if I could.
Would be interested in reading your website.

Feb 6, 2013, 3:41pm Top


I am not an expert on importing ones catalog from excel, but I think there is a way to do this.

It is not a bad idea to do some more manual ways of adding books, like typing in ISBN numbers and using a good source like Library of Congress, Overcat, or ACCESS (a combined effort throughout much of Pennsylvania). I think tagging is a good idea on books, but most library catalogs are not set up with tags, but with a constricted number of subject headings. One can be expansive with tags, and give people a deeper look into what is in a book in your collection.

I have a kind of churchy (Episcopalian) home collection, and 80% of the 15 libraries that are most like mine are ones from Episcopal parish Churches.

Feb 6, 2013, 3:44pm Top

I am trying to figure out if there are other Orthodox parishes on LT and this one seems to be: http://www.librarything.com/profile/StMichaelsGbg . (St. Michael's, Greensburg, PA)

Feb 7, 2013, 3:46pm Top

Thanks for your interest and reply. My 1300+ collection is on excel. I used basic sub categories, not Dewey, so cataloging was not a problem. If I use LT, will I be able to still sort data by authors, title , or tags?

Am I right in thinking that I can use my own tags rather then LC or Sears tags?

In LT, can I sort my titles by call numbers ( combo of subjects and author's name) for weeding, etc?

Please click on my profile and look at our website. I'd be interested in your comments and observations!

Feb 7, 2013, 3:50pm Top

Thanks! You're right. I've sent an email to the priest asking to be put in contact with the librarian. I looked at the church website and was surprised to see no mention of the library :(
Thanks again!

Feb 7, 2013, 4:22pm Top

I'm just jumping in to LT and saw your post. Since it's 1 1/2 years old, you may have already made a decision about your classification system. You're welcome to look at our catalog. Click on my profile, look at the website, and you'll see links to the book catalog and "Books and Media." Our call numbers have two, sometimes three tiers. The top tier is the broad subject category, such as BIOgraphy, ART, HIStory. The second tier is for sub heads like ART ICOns, SCRipture COMmentary, etc. The third tier is the first three letters of the author's last name or biographee's last name.

Feb 7, 2013, 9:47pm Top

57 - You can sort in LT by most any category you want. Besides author or titile, I frquently sort by date of my entry into LT or by how many ciopies of the book are in all the catalogues on LT. If we have a book unique to LT we might tag it ULTB -- I have about 500 books in that category. I would imagine that you probably have some unique books also.

Regarding tags, I think maybe a majority of us just invent tags that we like. Most books only 3-4 subject headings in Sears or LC, but I sometimes put in ten tags if a book wanders broadly among different topics.

Edited: Feb 9, 2013, 1:39pm Top

to: coasterb

I'm just jumping in to LT and saw your post. Since it's 1 1/2 years old, you may have already made a decision about your classification system. You're welcome to look at our catalog. Click on my profile, look at the website, and you'll see links to the book catalog and "Books and Media." Our call numbers have two, sometimes three tiers. The top tier is the broad subject category, such as BIOgraphy, ART, HIStory. The second tier is for sub heads like ART ICOns, SCRipture COMmentary, etc. The third tier is the first three letters of the author's last name or biographee's last name.

Nov 11, 2014, 10:30pm Top

How to you use it for circulation? I am new to this. I am uso g LT to catalog our books for our church library but I was planning to use a spreadsheet to enter patrons . Can LT handle this as well?

Dec 28, 2014, 2:50pm Top

Hi Becky - Our church uses LT as a catalog and then we use an Excel spreadsheet to track our patrons, books checked out and in. We've been doing it this way for a couple of years and it works pretty well for us.

We've talked about other options but so far this works best for us.

Edited: Mar 3, 2015, 4:45pm Top

There is now a lending feature!! I've just started to use LT to catalog my church's library. This new feature definitely sold me. Simple but useful.

Mar 3, 2015, 5:04pm Top

You can also add your own call number system.

1. Go to your settings page.
2. Under "other settings" there should be a drop down menu called "call number system". Select "personal or custom system".
3. Then you can go and edit your books information.
4. Click on the book's cover page in list view, then select change social info and there is an option to "edit your book".
5. Under "classification" there should now be a field called "other call number." Put whatever system you are using.
6. To see it in list view, go back to your settings and select "display settings". Choose "other call number" in one of the drop down menus in whatever position in the list that it makes sense for you.

If you want to see how it looks feel free to look at my library's catalog. (firstlutheranlibrary)

Reply with questions!

Edited: Apr 1, 2015, 2:08am Top

My church wants to implement an electronic catalogue and this new feature (lending) definitely makes LibraryThing a contender. How do you set up your patron database? Just manually enter each patron into LibraryThing?

The other contender is the WebLibrarian Wordpress plugin. Our church website is built on Wordpress, so it would be fairly easy to install. We also like the option of scanning each book's ISBN and importing most of the records from Amazon, which would save us a massive amount of time cataloguing ~2000 items. And we can also export patron and catalogue to CSV, making it relatively easy if we ever move to a different system.

The third option is an Excel spreadsheet. May work fine, actually...

Not sure which one I'll recommend at this point, but LibraryThing does have the advantage of being more permanent. If we move away from Wordpress WebLibrarian could be problematic.

Apr 1, 2015, 2:56am Top

Importing the data using Amazon as a source has the problem that older books are on there from the marketplace, and many of those are just sooooo badly catalogued. LT gives you the option of using Amazon, or many library sources, including Overcat which is library data already accessed by LT users.

I hope Microsoft has improved the way Excel works for a database. I have very vivid memories of the day I sorted the names column so that they no longer matched the addresses.

Apr 8, 2015, 8:12pm Top

I'd recommend importing records from Library of Congress, and large academic or public libraries on the LT list of sources instead of Amazon. That way you'll be importing the records in MARC format and will be able to export them in MARC format later for use in a standard library automation system.

LT developer Tim Spaulding recommends this approach so that small libraries which later outgrow LibraryThing are able to easily move their records to a full-fledged library automation system. Amazon records do not meet library standards--and not just those being sold only through the Marketplace.

Nov 20, 2015, 9:05pm Top

Our church is considering using LibraryThing to catalog our small collection. I'm wondering if any of you have developed a manual (online or otherwise) that gives step-by-step instructions on how you process each new book. We'd like to have several people process the books and to do it in a consistent manner.

Nov 22, 2015, 5:08pm Top

I have to say ...I considered writing out instructions, but found that a 5 minute talk was very effective.

Things are consistently presented in LT no matter how they are input. What slowed us down, but not that much, was editing each book to add our barcodes

At our flash mob cataloguing day, we used the buddy system and it worked just fine. We completed over 800 books at flash day and now have the 4000 books in pre school and 2500 books and choral items complete.

Librarian is in the process of setting up displays in prep for january 2016 grand opening.

Nov 23, 2015, 9:30pm Top

>71 TrinityLuthAthens: That's an impressive effort! I think it would help us get through our next 3,500+ entries.

And your idea of a talk at a flash mob is brilliant. It took me 2 days to make up a doc about inputting, and it wasn't really what was needed. Too much info.

Edited: Dec 1, 2015, 10:53am Top

VicRML https://www.librarything.com/profile/VicRML: I think you can have great success. Just sit some folks down, show them how once or twice, then they can work with only minimal help. We are now getting our shelves moved and set up, but teachers are already checking books out using the LEND capabilites.

Categories and barcodes slowed the inputting down some, but didn't make for any errors in inputting.

Dec 1, 2015, 5:35pm Top

I volunteered to be the administrator for our church library. I have had my own (much neglected) library on Librarything.com for 10+ years. So I immediately suggested adding the church library. I started entering items last week, and today we submitted the $25 for lifetime membership.

Dec 1, 2015, 6:17pm Top

Will you have space for a room dedicated to your library? What was built for a library for our church has been turned into a counselor's office, so we will start out by scrounging space along one wall of our fellowship hall.

Dec 19, 2015, 9:39pm Top

>73 TrinityLuthAthens: Sorry I missed replying to your post. Hoping to start some new helpers mid-January. Offering an airconditioned workplace in our cafe-rich area might be beneficial!

Apr 24, 2016, 1:14pm Top

We have been using LT for our church library for two and a half years now and we love it. We have close to 10,000 items and it works well for us. When you look at a listing of our books, you'll see a picture of the book, the author, title, call number, subject field, comments field (where we type in the item number we assign, and information like Audio), Series, and Lending.

We still use the card system for checking out books - each book (or dvd or cd) has a pocket with a card. People write their name and the date on the card, and one of the libary committee members enters names into the lending feature. It is extra work but we find it to be worth it in terms of being able to check anywhere, besides at church, if an item is out or not, and it also helps us track overdues and numbers of books out at any given time. So it's worth the extra work to us.

I have found the LT people to be MOST helpful. When something is going on that I can't figure out and I email them, they always respond in less than a day or two, and they have been most patient with me as I try to figure out the system. I'm sure there are things I don't know about yet, but what I do know has convinced me this is a very good resource for church libraries.

Group: Church Libraries

352 members

511 messages


This topic is not marked as primarily about any work, author or other topic.


No touchstones

You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 115,077,190 books! | Top bar: Always visible