History of BCUMC Library

In 1988 – eleven years after Bear Creek United Methodist Church opened its doors – member Val Reissig and other volunteers decided the church needed a library. Bookcases were added in the former choir room, books were donated, and a library was launched. During her term as librarian, Val added permanent bookshelves and two corner display cases.

Originally the library used a church classification system to organize items by subject with letter designations. By 1991, the number of books had grown to approximately 2,400. Janice Wood and Henry Van Dyke also became involved in setting up the library.

Thanks to Henry, the library became active in the Church and Synagogue Library Association – Houston Area Chapter. Henry was not only the librarian after Val moved, but also a presenter at CSLA–HAC meetings.

Following Henry’s death, Barbara Cochran became librarian. Barbara was able to procure more bookshelves and an office armoire for a workstation, which allowed continued growth. Barbara conducted the initial research and, at the time she left, recommended a conversion to the Dewey Decimal System.

Amber Woodman became the church librarian in 2003. She and her committee spent the first year converting to the Dewey Decimal System and creating a basic computerized inventory. Since that time, the library has gained more bookshelves and its catalogue has been moved into Concourse, a commercially available library software system.

Additional Information

The library houses approximately 7,400 books and other media, including a large religion section, Christian fiction and children and juvenile books. More than 1,480 of these items were checked out in 2011. Inventory also includes a section of books purchased by the United Methodist Women for the UMW Reading Program.

In summer, the library sponsors two reading programs: one for toddlers through kindergarteners and another for first through sixth grade. Younger children enjoy a weekly story time. Reading incentive prizes are awarded to all ages. In 2011, 58 children participated in these programs.

The library thrives with its generous patrons, who donate to and use its services, as well as an enthusiastic volunteer committee, that works hard to fulfill its mission and looks for additional ways to serve the church. Volunteer opportunities are Thursdays and the second Saturday morning of each month.