07 December 2010
Enterprising East-ender opens Christian library
Jim Moore writes here about how his dream to open up an inclusive Christian library became a reality.
What do you do when an old friend dies and leaves you 17 boxes of Christian books? My answer was: "Open a Christian Library." But not a quiet, academic library aimed at theologians or full-time Christians; rather a friendly, welcoming place, open to everyone, offering free refreshments, the chance to chat with people from other churches, and a wide range of Bible-based but easy-to-read books.
I was aware of the valuable work of the Evangelical Library and the libraries attached to training colleges, but felt there was scope for a local library aimed much more at ordinary Christians. I wanted Christians to meet people from other churches, to swap book recommendations, to experience true fellowship, and to be encouraged in their faith. Maybe even non-believers would come in, borrow a book and be saved! I envisaged a library that promoted edifying Christian reading, probably by focussing on biographies and other easy-to-read books. Many churches have their own library, but these tend to be quite small, so that a keen reader will soon run out of new books to read. This Library would be inter-church, so that the stock could grow and keep even the most avid reader engaged.
God opened the way, in that my church was happy for me to use some of their beautiful old building in the heart of Walthamstow, East London, for the hosting of the Library, and some shelves were also donated. Hence on Saturday, 26 September 2009, the East London Christian Library opened its doors for the first time. It opened one morning a month, staffed by me, with about 1,000 books tucked into a corner of the church.
Much has changed since then. Donations of books mean that the Library has doubled in size, with new book cases and more than 2,000 books. Very much run on a shoe-string, we do not have a catalogue yet, but the books are arranged in easy to use sections. The Bible Study section has more than 500 commentaries and study guides. Our 'Christian Topics' section has more than 850 books on everything from 'Answers' to 'Worship'. We have more thn 500 books in our 'Life Stories section', and nearly 150 'Children's Books'. We now open on alternate Saturdays, with a team of four volunteers, each from a different local church, serving refreshments, as well as helping people choose books. Open to any Christians in London, it's free to join and borrowing books is free. Library members so far have come from 28 different churches - so an early desire to be inter-church has been fulfilled.
We also have a unique website which has attracted many visitors.
Please pray the Library will be used of God to strengthen the faith of many Christians, or even to save some people. If you can, why not pay us a visit? We are also looking for more volunteers to enable us to open every Saturday morning.
Jim Moore, Librarian, East London Christian Library, Walthamstow
E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Postal: c/o Central Baptist Church, 101A Orford Road, Walthamstow, London, E17 9QR
Visit: 10 minutes walk from Walthamstow Central Station (National Rail and Victoria Line)