Networking with Other Resource Centers

Karen Kaufman

Are you feeling alone in your work as a resource center director? Are you looking for ideas to improve your center? If so, allow me to share this suggestion: meet with resource center directors (of different denominations) in your area. Start with one, add another and then expand the invitation to as many as feasibly possible.

A few months ago, I met with directors from 5 other resource centers (9 were invited) and found it to be an energizing experience. During our time together, we discovered that we had a lot of similar concerns and issues. For example, we gasped and laughed about our horror stories of trying to retrieve overdue items. As a result of our conversation, we unofficially designated one member to be the ‘collector’ for our resource centers as she has the best success.

We had a “show & tell” time focusing on how to successfully keep resources together when returned, (i.e. book & DVD, student & leader guide, etc.) and what resources are popular  (re:form) and unpopular (Gilligan’s island & Ponderosa). We talked about the availability of resources digitally and pondered how that will impact our resourcing.  Techniques for promoting resources and making connections are always part of the conversation. Despite the driving distance for three attendees (2 ½-3 ½ hours one way) we decided not to try a virtual meeting through Cover It Live and will meet again in the spring. We hope to take advantage of other events to get together such as the Association of Presbyterian Church Educators conference.

Despite having a lot of things on my plate professionally and personally I found this to be a real uplifting time with my colleagues. They are experiencing similar struggles as us and even though some centers are closing, other centers are being told that resource ministry is more important than ever. Most everyone seems to be in a state of flux, but yet we carry on. We continue to do our best to connect with new and old congregations and leaders, providing encouragement and resources to everyone who asks. (Recently a Presbytery resource center recently supplied social justice resources for a Hindu!)

Whether it is face-to-face or electronically I encourage you to ask each other for ideas, best resources and to also share the hidden gems that you find when searching for something maybe even totally unrelated. We and others will all be strengthened as a result!

Karen Kaufman is the resource center director for the Northeastern Ohio Synod.