CSLA Librarian Training Course

Maria Isabel Garcia in All Saints Library

Most congregational librarians started out as ordinary people who expressed an interest in having a library in their own congregation and who, because of their interest, ended up being named as librarian regardless of whether they have had any formal library training.

For just such individuals, CSLA offers a 16-lesson training course dealing with all aspects of librarianship to help even the most inexperienced person become an expert and to help congregational librarians with years of experience hone their skills. Topics covered include:

  • Assessing your library's current strengths and weaknesses
  • Assessing the physical layout of your library
  • Maximizing efficiency among your library staff
  • Selecting, cataloging and classifying books and other media in your library
  • Establishing effective circulation policies and procedures
  • Helping library patrons find the right library materials
  • Working within a budget (and how to increase your library's budget)
  • Planning your library's future

This course is offered via email or as hardcopy materials sent by US mail.

Tuition for our Librarian Training Course is $200 and covers the texts, manual and postage for the initial mailing and return of lessons, if US mail is preferred. (The student pays to mail lessons to the instructor.)

Once you register and pay your tuition, your lessons and texts will be sent from the national office by the method you prefer. The course instructor will grade and return your lessons in the same manner.

You will have 12 months to complete the course. This time may be extended for another four months upon written request. You will receive a certificate upon completion of the course.

Download the student registration form to get started!

CSLA Mentoring Program

To an outsider, operating a church or synagogue library may seem easy. To the librarian though, it may be a difficult task. At CSLA, we understand! We're all congregational librarians serving our own places of worship, and we've experienced the difficulties the job entails. Chances are excellent that someone in our organization has been faced with the same problem you are experiencing.

Help has always been available through CSLA's chapters, but we've expanded our library services to a new level. CSLA now offers a Mentoring Program through which you can tap into the years of experience that our members possess and work one-on-one with a volunteer mentor who can guide you through the trouble spots of operating a congregational library.

CSLA Mentors are available to help you in the following areas:

  • Adult Resources
  • Archives
  • Book Groups
  • Book Repair
  • Budgeting/Purchasing
  • Cataloging
  • Computer Automation
  • Fundraising
  • Library Design/Redesign
  • Policies and Procedures
  • Program Planning
  • Promotion
  • Restarting/Revitalizing a Library
  • Senior Adult Resources
  • Senior Citizen/Mental Stimulation
  • Special Group Resources
  • Starting a Congregational Library
  • Storytelling
  • Working With Volunteers
  • Young Adult Resources

If you would like to serve as a CSLA volunteer mentor, please download a printable Mentor Volunteer Form and send it to the CSLA office.

If you would like to request a CSLA mentor, please download a printable Mentor Request Form and send it to the CSLA office.


As a service to our website visitors, we've compiled lists of links to websites of interest to congregational librarians. Because the links have become so voluminous, we've divided them up into the following pages.

To request that your website be listed in our Links section, or to report a broken or outdated link, please contact Judith Janzen, our Office Administrator

Congregational Libraries: A listing of CSLA Member libraries, with links to their main website pages, library pages, and online catalogs (where available).

Institutional Members: A listing of CSLA Institutional Members, with links to their websites, e-mail addresses, and contact information (where available).

Affiliate Members: A listing of CSLA Affiliate Members, with links to their websites, e-mail addresses, and contact information (where available).

Library Resources: A listing of websites providing information which may be of interest to congregational librarians.

Library Software: A listing of companies and organizations offering products for library automation and other library-related software.

Library Supplies and Furnishings: A listing of companies and organizations offering supplies and furnishings specific to libraries.