A Brief History
The All Saints Parish Resource Library (ASPRL) was founded in 1977, just one year after the parish was established, as a project of the PACE (Parish Adult Christian Enrichment) Committee. The first collections were books for adults only and audio cassettes which were made available through the PACE Committee on the first weekend of each month. The ASPRL started out with only two shelves of reference books in our Pastor's Office, then three shelf units in the original Religious Education office, and finally it was moved into the present facility in the Fall of 1984.
Today it still offers the PACE Monthly Book Table for the selling of resources on consignment and the inventory is kept in a display cabinet in the hallway near the library.
The library itself is for borrowing only and we now have materials for all ages and groups in the Parish. They are organized in separate areas according to the audience or purpose they were designed for. Audiocassettes, videocassettes, periodicals, and sound discs have special display/storage units very easy to access and browse. Two metal cabinets hold Vertical File materials. These are small items like pictures, loose-leaf articles, or small booklets which would be lost among the regular books. They are organized by alphabetical order of subject headings. The first cabinet has materials that are not cataloged, while the second contains resources that can be located through the catalog and database.
Combinations of different media, e.g., cassettes and guides, are treated as kits and housed separately from individual resources. The present collection holds over 14,000 books, 2,600 audiocassettes, 240 CDs, 390 videocassettes, 235 DVDs, 11 CD-ROMs and 34 periodical titles. Accompanying notes or handouts for recordings are stored in blue folders on the top shelves above the related recordings.
There are three distinct reference collections, one for adults, one for children, and one for young adults. Archives are stored in a separate secured room shared with the Little Saints Child Development Program. A special collection of rare and out-of-print materials is kept in the librarian's office/computer room. Reference, special, and archival materials do not circulate, except in special cases allowed by the librarian. Copies can be made upon request within the allowed parameters of copyright law.
The Dewey Decimal Classification system, the most commonly used approach in small public, school, and church libraries is followed, with additional codes to indicate what section of the Library the item will be found. For example, Y for children, YA for young adults, Ref for reference, VF for vertical file, etc.
All holdings are now in a computer database and can be searched by author, title, subject or a visual icon approach. Simple instructions and guidelines have been placed in strategic places to help patrons locate resources. We encourage independent browsing and checkout, but need the return of materials borrowed to be made to the circulation desk for reshelving by staff.
The major collections are shelved in the library lounge within distinct sections:
- Resources for children and young adults.
- Circulating resources for adults.
- Audio and CD resources for adults.
- Videorecordings for adults.
Audio-visual equipment is kept in the audio-visual room.
Any registered parishioner can use the Library. We ask them to limit the number of items checked-out at one time to a maximum of six. Most items circulate for a period of three weeks, only periodicals and videorecordings have a one week check-out period. Children use the Library very frequently, but the parents are responsible for the materials they check-out. Non-members of the Parish can also use the Library as long as they are sponsored by a registered parishioner. Laminated library patron id cards are issued on the first visit to the Library.
The Library is administratively under the Religious Education Commission, but serves all groups and departments in the community. Resources and equipment are brought to the classrooms as well as to any meeting that requests them.
The Library provides its own Adult Enrichment opportunities and sponsors two open houses in conjunction with the Parish Time'N'Talent period and the Library's Book Sale in February. See Services Offered by Library for more details. An informal network is maintain with many surrounding parish resource centers for exchange of materials and expertise.
Announcements in the weekly Parish Bulletin, articles in the monthly Parish Newsletter, monthly new acquisitions lists, bi-monthly newsletter and special lector announcements for scheduled events are used to promote what is happening in ASPRL. A display case outside the Library features a different theme each month. A Bulletin Board at the entrance shares information on current events taking place in the parish or in the surrounding area.
All cataloged items are accessible via a Web-based database so searching by author, title, keyword, subject and series can be made from any computer with Internet access:
All Library services are performed by dedicated volunteers and one professional Librarian. A budget within the Education Commission structure and a Library Fund are managed to cover expenses and receive donations.
The Library director, Maria Isabel Garcia, is very involved with the North Texas Chapter of the Church & Synagogue Library Association (CSLA), which selected her as the Congregational Librarian of the Year, in 1993. She is an active member of the Beta Lambda Chapter of the Beta Phi Mu Honor Society.
Maria Isabel Garcia, founder and director of ASPRL