Church Library Month – October 2021

Church Library Month is in October and we’ll help you celebrate the month in the best way possible. Did you know that the earliest known records of Christian libraries are almost 1,700 years old? Church Library Month provides the perfect opportunity to upgrade your church library and encourage more people to make use of the resources that it has to offer.

History of Church Library Month

In Christianity, a center of learning, reading, and preserving sacred texts has always had its importance. It is said that Bishop Alexander of Jerusalem had established a library during the first half of the 3rd century.

The Renaissance Period saw a rise in interest in religious and ancient texts among people. With the advancement in printing presses, the volume of books being published skyrocketed. The Vatican Library was refurbished.

By the end of the 18th century, many seminary libraries like New Brunswick, Service Seminary in P.A., and St. Mary’s-Baltimore were formed. In 1930, Yale indicated that theological libraries had a collection of volumes ranging from a few hundred to 200,000. The early 1900s saw a rapid decline in Catholic seminaries and the number of candidates for the priesthood, but in the second half of the century, the number of theological colleges and libraries rose again.

In 1947, the American Theological Library Association (ATLA) was formed. ATLA has since then governed the theological activities in the U.S. and Canada and also contributed to the development of Religious Indexes. Recently, ATLA has been working on putting theological periodicals into electronic format.

In 1970, the Evangelical Church Library Association was formed with a motto to promote church libraries to encourage Christian growth and to offer assistance to librarians. It was the Evangelical Church Library Association that observed October as Church Library Month for the first time. Since then, many church library associations have come together to celebrate Church Library Month and provide resources and spiritual guidance to millions.

Church Library Month timeline

200 A.D.
The First Church Library

Bishop Alexander establishes a church library during his tenure.

1500 A.D.
The Middle Ages

Many monastic libraries emerge in Britain and other parts of Europe.

1947
ATLA is Born

The American Theological Library Association is founded.

1970
ECLA is Founded

The Evangelical Church Library Association is formed and October is declared as Church Library Month.

Church Library Month FAQs

How do I set up a church library?

Arrange a meeting with your pastor and request members to volunteer to run the library. You can make newsletters and ads to make people aware of this initiative. Every bit of help counts.

Are there books that I can read during Church Library Month?

Yes! “Suffer Strong,” “In Stone and Story,” “Bavinck,” and “His Imprint My Expression” are just some books that you can read during Church Library Month.

Where is the oldest known Bible in the world?

The oldest known copy of the Bible, “Codex Vaticanus,” is kept at the Vatican Library and has been there since the 15th century.

How to Observe Church Library Month

  1. Form a church library

    If you do not have a library in your church, make one! Church libraries are of vital importance. They provide a way for people, especially ones who are not financially well off, to make use of the resources available and expand their knowledge or simply enjoy reading.

  2. Dust-off and donate

    We all have piles of books in the attic that have not been touched for ages. Donating books, digital encyclopedias, and other study materials would be a great way to contribute to Church Library Month.

  3. Spread the word

    Get creative. Make brochures, fliers, and ads to make people understand the importance of church libraries and Church Library Month. You can also organize contests and games to further spark interest in people, especially children.

5 Facts About Church Libraries That Will Blow Your Mind

  1. Library of Alexandria is a memorial

    The new library of Alexandria is a tribute to its predecessor, which was tragically destroyed in a fire 2,000 years ago

  2. Vatican Library was established in 1475

    The Vatican library is as old as the Catholic Church but it was formally established in 1475.

  3. The Abbey is a World Heritage Site

    In 1983, UNESCO declared The Abbey Library of Saint Gall as a World Heritage Site

  4. The Benedictine Library is the largest

    With over 70,000 volumes, including 1,400 manuscripts and 900 incunables, the Benedictine Library is the largest monastic library in the world

  5. Gutenberg Bible is in Washington D.C.

    One of the four copies of the Gutenberg Bible lies in The Library of Congress, in Washington D.C.

Why Church Library Month is Important

  1. Resources are for everyone

    Not everyone can afford the luxury of expensive library memberships. Whether it's biographies or citations for your school project or DVDs, CDs, non-fictional books, or self-help books, church libraries provide an ocean of resources and materials without being too heavy on your budget.

  2. It is the way of Christ

    Church Library Month is an opportunity to re-instill in the minds of people the essence of faith and to simply be a better Christian. It also provides an opportunity to provide spiritual assistance to those who might need it.

  3. It is important for theologists

    Church Library Month provides an opportunity to upgrade and further develop church libraries, which is important as theologists and even other congregants rely on church libraries for their religious studies.

Church Library Month dates

YearDateDay
2021October 1Friday
2022October 1Saturday
2023October 1Sunday
2024October 1Tuesday
2025October 1Wednesday
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