The Library of Alexandria, Egypt, was reputably one of the largest and most significant libraries of the ancient world. It was a symbol of the Greek commitment to intellectual pursuit and at its height contained an estimated 400,000 papyrus scrolls. Its demise is often attributed to a massive fire, but this probably was not the case. While a portion of the library was destroyed by war-caused fire under the reign of Caesar Augustus, the library had already begun to dwindle and fall into disrepair due to Rome’s purging of intellectuals throughout the empire.
Almost two years ago, an assessment was made of our church Media Center’s usage. At one time, it was operated as a full functioning library with various collections of media including: books (obviously), periodicals, audio-visual collections, and technological equipment. In our assessment, we learned the following: Other than our theological/spiritual books, the vast majority of our ‘collections’ are readily available at any public library. Second, our church members were using the Media Center for four primary reasons: 1) children’s books, 2) theological study (Sunday School preparation, sermon preparation, devotional reading, academic research, etc.), 3) computer use, and 4) a gathering area for meetings. With this in mind, our Diaconate approved a renovation of the Media Center to better provide for these four functions. In recent days, a gift has been given to the church to fund this renovation and repurposing. The work has begun!
The church Media Center will be closed for the summer. We plan to reopen this area in early September. It will be completely refurbished with a beautiful children’s reading area, an enhanced theological study area that will rival any theological library outside a seminary, new computer stations, and flexible meeting spaces. All media and furnishings that do not nurture these purposes will be donated to an appropriate organization or to the annual First Baptist yard sale. We cannot and need not try to duplicate the expansive work of our public libraries in archiving multiple media. We can, however, provide the very best of theological, technological and children’s media for our church members and community.
My personal gratitude goes to those who have committed portions of their time and life to this area of ministry in the past. I’m grateful to those who continue to give of themselves weekly to serve our members in this space. I’m grateful to the donor who has made this renovation possible. I’m thankful for those who are volunteering time and energy toward this summer project. I’m looking forward to the ‘grand re-opening’ in September!