“The best library conference in America” is set to take place here Nov. 3-4, says Joe McKeever, Director of Missions for the Baptist Association of Greater New Orleans (BAGNO).
MARRERO – “The best library conference in America” is set to take place
here Nov. 3-4, says Joe McKeever, Director of Missions for the Baptist
Association of Greater New Orleans (BAGNO).
“Hope Ferguson, the instigator/brains/organizer/spirit behind this
event, has five conference leaders and 24 other volunteers from six
states coming to lead this event,” McKeever said in a recent blog.
The event, which kicks off at 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 3, at First Baptist
Church Marrero, is to educate and train attendees on beginning,
maintaining, and/or re-starting a church library. In addition, the
conference is intended to highlight how church libraries can be a
thriving ministry for any church.
“You do not have to be local; in fact, you do not even have to be Baptist,” to attend the event, McKeever said.
“I’m doing everything I know how to convince our church leaders that
now is the time and this is the place to either get your library jump
started or to put new life and vision into your old library,” said
Ferguson, a member of First Baptist Natchitoches.
Ferguson has led church library conferences at both the state and
national level, and has co-authored the book Church Library Ministry
Information Service available in LifeWay bookstores.
Churches and organizations are supporting the conference in a variety
of ways, Ferguson said. Some have collected and donated media,
educational material, money, and gift certificates. Businesses are
offering discounts on and/or donations of furniture, book protection
products, and books.
Many of these items will be used as door prizes, in addition to a
mobile library unit that will be built on site, Ferguson said. Some
books and promotional items will be in Spanish.
The National Church Library Association has donated a copy of the
Church Library Handbook, a membership into NCLA, and plan to have
applications on hand for church library ministries to apply for
hurricane relief, she said.
One person has donated a collection of autographed Christian books,
while one business has donated library software valued at $400 and a
During its vacation Bible school last summer, First Baptist Covington
sponsored a book fair to collect books for children who were victims of
the hurricane, said Rebecca Fleming, missions director for vacation
Bible school at First Covington.
First Covington bought the books ahead of time and then created a
display so children who attended VBS there could “shop.” After
buying a book, the children donated it back, signing their names on a
nameplate inside each book.
The church collected between 600 and 700 books, $6,128 worth, which
were then divided into 12 boxes. Four of these boxes have already
been given away, while the remaining eight will be given away at the
Other churches and associations have donated money to cover administrative costs and food, Ferguson said.
“Librarians, historians, and pastors from churches in Tennessee,
Mississippi, and Louisiana are gathering to share information,
inspiration, and ideas,” Ferguson said. Many of the conference leaders
are also leaders in their respective state Baptist organizations,
associations, and in their home churches.
“In addition to the training conferences, there will be a showcase of
demonstrations which will take [attendees] ‘behind the checkout
counter’ to visualize the variety of duties that are available to those
serving in the church library ministry,” Ferguson said.
On the schedule are classes for both the beginner and the more
experienced librarian, as well as three separate classes for church
Pastors and church staff may find the “Children and the Church Library”
class of interest, as it will provide information about library
resources helpful in leading children to the Lord.
In addition, Pastor Tommy Rush of First Baptist Natchitoches will
discuss the role of pastors in the church library ministry on Friday;
the Rev. Doyle Bailey will be there to speak with pastors Saturday.
Spanish and French translators plan to be available for attendees from these language groups.
Ferguson encourages each church to send at least three attendees to the
conference and to consider that a church library is an excellent
opportunity to serve the Lord.
Anyone with an interest in church libraries is invited to attend the
free conference and need only call the BAGNO office to pre-register at
The conference is scheduled for Nov. 3, 5-9 p.m. and Nov. 4, 8 a.m.- 4
p.m. at First Baptist Church, 4001 Seventh Street, Marrero, La., near
New Orleans. Meals and snacks will be provided.