Meetinghouse Libraries

    The meetinghouse library should be stocked and staffed so as to enhance learning and teaching.

    One of the most important resources to support quality teaching is appropriate written, audiovisual, and supplementary material. The meetinghouse library, under the direction of the Sunday School, should be stocked and staffed so as to enhance and support learning and teaching in the classroom, as well as in the home and family.

    Operating the Meetinghouse Library

    Selecting Materials for Your Meetinghouse Library

    The needs and resources of an effective meetinghouse library will be different all over the world. Each unit will be unique.

    The materials in the following list are provided to each new meetinghouse. In consultation with the bishop, the Sunday School president and the ward librarian should determine if there are other materials that are needed and will fit in the available space.

    These materials will enhance and support learning and teaching in the classroom as well as in the home and family.

    Meetinghouse Library Materials

    Operating an Effective Meetinghouse Library

    The ward librarian helps leaders, teachers, and families learn how to use the materials, supplies, and equipment that are available in the library (see General Handbook, 13.6.1). To do this, consider organizing your efforts around the following ongoing activities.

    Clean

    With the help of the bishopric and organization and quorum leaders, regularly clean out and discard unused or unauthorized materials. Make sure that you keep the materials in the library organized and accessible. Only books and audiovisual materials produced and distributed by the Church may be stored in and circulated from the meetinghouse library. Commercially produced books and materials, even if authored or created by Church members, are not to be included in the library.

    Choose

    Information about the materials available from the Church for meetinghouse libraries can be found on the Meetinghouse Library Materials list.

    Catalog

    Organize the material in the library so that it is easy to find. A list of available materials for individuals and families may be helpful. In larger wards, you may consider calling one or more assistant librarians to help with compiling this list. You should also use a simple system to keep track of materials that have been borrowed by members.

    Celebrate

    Find appropriate ways to publicize the availability of the materials in the library. Be creative. You could write occasional articles in the ward newsletter or hold regular “open houses” where you invite families or organizations from the ward to visit the library to learn about the resources that are there. A systematic invitation list would soon help every ward member know what is available to borrow from the library. Where members have access to the internet, you may want to offer help to teachers and families in learning how to use the wonderful resources available through Church websites.

    Procedures for Adding and Discarding Materials

    With the help of the bishopric and organization and quorum leaders, regularly clean out the library and discard unused or unauthorized materials. Make sure that you keep the materials in the library organized and accessible. Only books and audiovisual materials produced and distributed by the Church may be stored in and circulated from the meetinghouse library.

    Acquiring New Materials

    Meetinghouse libraries provide “resources to help members learn and teach the gospel. The ward Sunday School presidency oversees the meetinghouse library” (General Handbook, 13.6).

    Requests for purchasing new materials and equipment should be based on the above paragraph and on the evaluation of materials presently available in the library, as well as on evaluation of new materials that are listed in the Meetinghouse Library Materials list or that are available through Church distribution centers. In large wards, several copies of certain items may be needed to meet the demand of multiple classes studying the same topic, as well as for use by individuals and families in the home. For more information about the items listed in the Meetinghouse Library Materials, visit store.ChurchofJesusChrist.org.

    Regarding financing for meetinghouse libraries, the Sunday School presidency recommends “an annual budget for the library after consulting with the ward librarian” (General Handbook, 13.2.2).

    Discarding Materials

    Materials that are no longer needed or that should not be stored in the library should be discarded. More specifically:

    • Librarians periodically evaluate materials, repairing or replacing damaged items and discarding those that are outdated or no longer useful.
    • Church magazines need not be kept longer than 10 years after they are published, though it may be helpful to keep conference issues for a longer period. If online access to Church magazines is readily available to members in your area, magazines may not need to be kept in the library at all or the length of time they are kept may be shortened.
    • If Church records that have potential historical value are stored in the meetinghouse library, they should be given to the stake clerk. He will make the appropriate contacts to determine what to do with these records.
    • Audio and video materials that are not approved for distribution through Church distribution centers, including animated scripture videocassettes, may not be stored in or circulated from meetinghouse libraries.
    • Materials that may have been illegally copied or duplicated must not be kept in meetinghouse libraries.
    • Any items that are not included in the Meetinghouse Library Materials list or that are not available in Church distribution centers should be discarded.
    • Unapproved pictures, talks, worksheets, and other teaching resources that have been donated to the library should be discarded.
    • Filmstrips, filmstrip projectors, overhead projectors, and audio or video cassettes (unless they are being used by members) should be discarded.

    Items that have been approved for storage in meetinghouse libraries but are no longer needed may be donated to other meetinghouse libraries. Illegally copied or duplicated materials should be destroyed. Other materials may be offered to ward or branch members, public libraries, Deseret Industries, or other charitable organizations.

    Questions and Answers

    1. Where can I go to learn more about the meetinghouse library and my duties as librarian?

    Consult "Meetinghouse Library," section 13.6 of the General Handbook.

    2. Who is responsible for training ward librarians?

    Ward librarians are called by a member of the bishopric and trained by a member of the ward Sunday School presidency. Additional training for librarians can be provided by the stake Sunday School presidency.

    3. How can librarians encourage members to check out materials for use in Church callings and at home?

    Open houses may be held to help members become familiar with materials, equipment, and services that are available. Librarians may publicize resources, schedules, and ideas in sacrament meeting bulletins, in ward newsletters, or on bulletin boards. In areas of the Church where members have access to the internet, librarians may want to help members become familiar with resources and materials on Church websites that can be used to improve learning and teaching in the Church and in the home.

    4. Can books or audiovisual materials donated by ward members be included in the library?

    Commercially produced books and materials, even if authored or created by Church members, are not to be included in the library. Only books and audiovisual materials produced and distributed by the Church may be stored in and circulated from the meetinghouse library.

    5. Should the library continue to store equipment and materials that are no longer used by ward members?

    No. Equipment and materials that are no longer used by ward members should be discarded. For further instructions, see the “Procedures for Adding and Discarding Materials” section on this web page.

    6. Can institute classes, family history center patrons, or stake members who are housed in the same building use materials from a ward’s meetinghouse library?

    “The stake presidency may authorize wards, institute classes, and family history centers to share the resources in meetinghouse libraries” (See General Handbook, 13.6).

    7. Is it permissible for librarians to miss priesthood, Relief Society, or Sunday School meetings in order to assist teachers and attend to other library duties?

    The schedule for staffing the library “should ensure that all librarians can attend sacrament meeting each Sunday and that each librarian can attend either a Sunday School class or a Melchizedek Priesthood or Relief Society meeting each Sunday” (General Handbook, 13.6.1). If there is not adequate time to assist teachers between meetings, then librarians should consider opening the library prior to the meeting block or during one or more evenings of the week. In multiward buildings, librarians from one ward may also help staff the library during the meeting time of another ward.

    8. What is the meetinghouse library coordinating committee, and what purpose does it serve?

    “In a multiward building, the wards usually share the same library. If this is the case, the agent bishop is responsible for the coordination of the library. He may appoint a committee to coordinate the use of the library and manage the budget funds allocated to it. The committee should include a member of the Sunday School presidency from each ward and the librarian from each ward” (Handbook 2, 12.6.2).

    9. How often should the meetinghouse library coordinating committee meet?

    The frequency of meetings is determined by local priesthood leaders. The chairman of the committee is responsible to call meetings. The meetinghouse librarian may inform the chairman of issues that should be considered by the committee.

    10. How should librarians determine the meetinghouse library budget?

    Librarians and the ward Sunday School presidency should counsel together regarding library needs. The Sunday School presidency recommends to the bishopric how to use the ward budget allowance funds allocated for the library. In multiward buildings, the meetinghouse library coordinating committee should meet to help determine the library budget and its allocation among the wards using the library.