“The Meetinghouse Library: Also a Family Resource,” Ensign, Aug. 1976, 29
The Meetinghouse Library: Also a Family Resource
When the Meetinghouse Library Program was organized in 1968, the First Presidency directed that each meetinghouse establish a library in which teaching materials and equipment could be made available to all organizations using the building.
One thing that has not been well understood in many units of the Church is that “all organizations using the building” includes all families and individuals belonging to the ward or branch—the member or family head who wishes to study the gospel or enrich his family home evening presentations as well as the teacher who wants materials to aid him in his research and classwork.
Thus the meetinghouse library isn’t just a resource for teachers; it’s a place where any ward or branch member can find information for study and teaching purposes.
The quality of teaching is greatly enhanced by the proper use of well-chosen visual and audio materials, along with books and other printed matter. Many things that parents might find useful can be found in meetinghouse libraries. These include:
Pictures and posters
Maps, charts, and graphs
Flannelboards and materials
Magazines and selected articles
Handbooks and manuals
Motion picture, slide, filmstrip, and overhead projectors and screens
Slides, overhead transparencies, 16mm motion picture films, filmstrips, audio tapes, and records
Cassette and open-reel tape recorders, record players, and microphones, etc.
Merit badge books
Models, replicas, and other objects
In addition, some libraries have a limited selection of books, including volumes on gospel doctrines, family relationships, home storage, time management, how to teach genealogy, writing personal histories, public speaking, etc. All these materials are available to be checked out by families or individuals for specified periods of time.
Most libraries also have production equipment such as paper cutters and spirit duplicators that are not available for checkout but may be used in the library with the assistance of the library staff. In some areas, genealogical reference materials, including microfilm and microfilm readers, may also be made available for use by the family at the library.
Certainly not every meetinghouse will have all of the materials and equipment listed above—it all depends on the resources available in each area of the Church. But family home evening is done differently in almost every home, and families are encouraged to use imagination and creativity in using library materials to the best advantage. Chances are that every library will have materials that can be put to good use in teaching and learning activities.
Of course, family home evenings aren’t the only time when library materials can be used. They can be used for firesides and special meetings. Home teachers might occasionally use tape recordings or filmstrips in special messages they prepare for their families. Seventies may use films in their missionary work. Scouts often check out merit badge books. Children might check out illustrated storybooks for free reading on gospel subjects. And members of any age will appreciate the meetinghouse library as a resource for speaking assignments.
In some libraries where the ward leaders have made a special commitment to serving families and individuals as well as the priesthood and auxiliary organizations, the quantity and variety of materials and equipment is amazing. One library has more than a dozen filmstrip projectors that are kept busy almost continuously. Several tape players and movie projectors are also in heavy demand.
A properly functioning meetinghouse library is founded on the principle of service. Its whole reason for existence is to provide service to the priesthood and auxiliary organizations and to the members of the branch or ward in which it is located. It does so by providing one central place for the storage and dissemination of instructional materials, equipment, and other aids.
These resources are there to be used; they can be of special importance to parents who wish to improve the quality of gospel teaching in the home.