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Lending library for community organisations

June 12,2022

Library And Information Science

Guidelines for starting a lending library for community organisations

People who love reading generally depend on the public lending library because they are free of cost and accessible to readers at any time. Nevertheless, readers with special reading interests may not find suitable books according to their needs in a public library. It is in this context that organisational libraries become relevant. As a result, community organisations, religious institutions like churches, temples, mosques etc. and other charitable societies can start lending libraries to meet the interest of specialised readers. This article explains how to establish a  book lending library for an organisation.

When we plan to establish a library, we have plenty of options available. It can be a health sciences library, arts and social sciences library, biological sciences library or anything else. But, it has to have a proper plan. If it is a health science library, it has to have all the books and resources available in health sciences. Similarly, if it is an art and social sciences library, it is important to have all the magazines and resources on the subject.

Starting a lending library

In our daily life, we share many things with our friends, relatives, co-workers, etc. Similarly, we can share books also. For instance, you can greet your visitors with a small collection of books to help them enjoy their stay. In addition, establishing a lending library ain’t an expensive or prolonged endeavour. As a result, If the collection in the library ain’t huge, there is no need to prepare a big catalogue.

First of all, you can ask the members of the organisation to contribute books, furnitures and other materials to the proposed library based on their interests. In addition, financial assistance can also be sought to purchase new books, videos, and other materials. Similarly, outdated items can be replaced, and materials in poor conditions can be removed using the help of the members of the organisation.

Library and Information Science

After getting a sufficient quantity of materials for a library, plan the organisation of the library. The method of informing the people about what is available in the library and circulating the materials should be well organised. In addition, the publication of reviews about the items available in the library in the magazines and newsletters of the organisation can also be very helpful.

Arranging Books

Proper arrangement of books in the library is very important. As a result, one can arrange the books in alphabetic order or using the Library of Congress classification system( LCC). In addition, arranging fictional and non-fictional books separately can make searching and finding books much easier. As a result,  one can consider Dewey Decimal System as it is the most popular system for this type of arrangement.


Cataloguing helps the people go through everything the library owns. The catalogue is generally necessary when more than 100 items are in the library. Nowadays, software is available for carrying out cataloguing in the library. If your organisation has a member with computer knowledge, he can customise a normal database to prepare a library catalogue. There are low tech methods also for cataloguing. For example, card catalogue, one can prepare index cards and place them in a column.

A catalogue or database entry should invariably include three features, the author, the item's title, and the details leading to the shelf and its exact position. In addition, the date of publication, series, name of publisher, subjects etc., can also be mentioned in the card.

There is a long list of subject heading formally used by academic and public libraries. You have to select a few subject headings best suited for your organisation. For instance, headings like "Eschatology" or "End times" are suitable for books based on end times and theology. To maintain the terminology consistently through the catalogue, a list of the heading of subjects is mandatory. Readers generally search books by looking at their author, title or series. To find out if any computerised database is available for the above features. Try to have unique cards for all books and finally alphabetise them, If it's an index card catalogue.

Monitoring the books

Managing the circulation of library books is very important. To follow up on the checked-out ones, you can design an automated checkout system or depute a volunteer staff in the library to set working times. In addition, the self-checkout system allows readers to get into the library of their choice. But in this case, collecting fines would not be possible.

Visible godliness and rules at each self-checkout system. This will help avoid the situation of a reader waiting a very long period and going for something else. Similarly, suppose self-check systems are there. In that case, orientation programmes must be there to make the people aware of the books and materials available in the library and the ways to explore them. This is essential, especially when a library is newly started.

Getting the books ready

One can prepare the materials required for a book lending library at a comparatively low cost from a service supply store. In addition, the same method is applicable for address labels, index cards, envelopes, contact paper, rubber cement etc.

One can cover the entire book with wrapping papers. This helps reduce the damage that may occur with multiple readings. Take a small-sized envelope, cut and remove the top part of its flap side, and seal the bottom half. Now you will get a card envelope. This can be glued to the back of the book. Take an index card and write the book’s name on it. Provide columns for members to write users' names, phone numbers, due dates etc., beneath the title.  Envelop pocket holds the index cards.

Maintaining the lending library

Maintaining a lending library properly is essential for the growth of the library. Proper handling of donations, proper budgeting for the purchase of new books etc., should be planned with utmost care. There should be provisions for making the library user responsible for the loss due to the non-return of an item at the proper time. Similarly, if the library keeps getting bigger and bigger, there should be provision for more storage space.

Various lending libraries have different types of needs. The method of meeting this need varies. The library committee or the librarian adopts different ways of their choice to meet the needs. A little effort from a library committee or a librarian, along with a low budget, will be able to create a huge asset for the public or the organisation's members. A librarian, in addition, gets the chance to read any appealing books in the library without any restrictions. This is an excellent opportunity for individuals for whom reading is a passion.

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