I think there should be a set of criteria for donating to church libraries.
I think its important because I have seen some extremely quirky books in unmanaged church libraries. It has always been a bit of a bee in my bonnet really, because I guess by putting a book in the church library and keeping it there it is endorsing that book as acceptable. In my old church I was permitted to periodically throw away titles I deemed dodgy, which I think was commendable because it recognised the potential dangers of having dodgy books in the library. I actually did this with the video library too, watching hours and hours of teaching videos in the process. It is amazing what sneaks through into the library.
Church libraries often are made up of donated second-hand books. This gives the church-goer a chance to offload garbage without having to pay garbage-station-fee's and to appear generous in the process. That sounds cynical but if you had found the books that I found you would agree.
Here is a suggested criteria for donating to church libraries-
1/ The book must be theological sound, or at least have theological integrity.
2/ The book must be beneficial to the reader's growth.
3/ The book should be approved by three separate respected mature Christians.
4/ What else? I know there should be other criteria, what do you think?
Here are the most common donations I have seen (and eight out of ten times chucked)-
1/ Relationship/marriage/ dating-in-the-seventies books
2/ Books about cults and how to talk to Jehovahs Witnesses and Mormons
3/ Books about issues that were current but no longer are (like the Christian viewpoint for Millenium Bug)
4/ Books about prosperity
5/ Any other books people have read and decided they don't want any more. Please don't donate books to the church library to make space at home, do it because you think the book will help someone else.
6/ And of course, most often of all books donated are about the End Times and how the world was going to end as we knew it yesterday.
All this brings me to what I was originally going to show you...
We don't have a church library at my new church but there is a table with free resources that people bring in from home. I believe in sharing resources freely, books and things that people can take if they want to. I always peruse these just out of habit leftover from when I did the church library at my old church. I have on more than one occasion grabbed a title and chucked it or got rid of it because of the content.
Here is one I grabbed the other day, the title really caught my eye-
I think that a title says it all.
Here is the first two paragraphs of Chapter 1-
What's that? The scary Arabs have purchased all the sand! I find that very hard to believe and find the reference offensive and unnecessary. Apart from being slightly amusing, I was shocked that someone could put a clearly outdated and prejudice book back on the table ready to mislead or distract someone.
What about you? What strange and interesting titles have you found in a church library? What are some good criteria or protocol for a church to receive donations for its library? I am interested to hear your answers and ideas. I will pick a comment randomly and you will receive a reward.