My story is closely tied to that of CUMC, where my main area of service is the church library. Our mission is to offer resources that support the spiritual journey of each person seeking to know God and to follow Christ.
When my family joined CUMC in December of 1973, there were three buildings: the sanctuary (half the size it is now), the Hinds Building, and the Fellowship Hall, which was the original church. In the narthex of the sanctuary on both sides of the front doors were large closets. The closet on one side housed books available to the congregarion for check-out. Nyla Atton, who served as librarian, and other volunteers had prepared the books for circulation. The location was certainly convenient. On the way out of worship, people could stop by for a book to take home. I was happy to see that my new church had a library.
By 1977, two events had taken place, bringing me into the story. Nyla Atton and her family had moved to another city. There was no librarian. Then a windfall of books came to Cypress. A minister donated his personal library to the church. There were too many books to cram into the front closet. Having taken library courses, I volunteered to do the cataloging.
The church designated a classroom to house the library. A gift of fifteen hundred dollars provided the money for building shelves and furnishings. Holman Whitford, a church member, volunteered to do the construction. Sometime in 1979 the room was ready. We started preparing the books. A committee of seven was responsible for the ongoing work of the library. Carolyn Holt was a guiding presence in the development of our library.
The first location was a room next to the pastor’s study in the Hinds Building. We opened the door to the congregation in January of 1980. We consider January the birthday month of our present library. We are now in our fifth location. Through the years many individuals have been a part of this ministry. Jerrie Gallamore served as librarian from 1997 to 2011. At present, a team of eight volunteers is working to keep the library open at a time of great change in technology.
Many readers now download books on their Kindles or other devices and see no need to visit a library. At present, the brightest spot in our circulation is the weekly visit of Wee Wuns’ Bridge Class.
Change calls for adjustment, retooling, new knowledge. Who can lead us in the technology expected by today’s patrons? Are we already a dinosaur? Do hard copies still have a place in faith development? What is the plan of our church for the next generation of readers? Could our new path be digital?
I still see the library as a good place to be, a place where all ages are welcome. I wonder what others see. What is our plan? We are praying for direction.
Written By: Winne Mason,
Cypress UMC Member & Library Volunteer