CSLA Librarian Training Course

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 librarian 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

Now Online! (Credit and Non-Credit)

Click image to view a live demo

CSLA is pleased to announce the launch of our new Online Congregational Librarian Training Course.

It’s the same great course, but now it’s even easier to take. Each lesson in the online course contains the traditional informative reading assignments and instructional information, along with a downloadable lesson assignment to complete and submit online. In addition, however, we’ve included a number of features in the course website to make study as quick and convenient, with help available at the click of a mouse button.

As an added bonus, students taking the online version of our Librarian Training Course may receive academic and continuing education credits. More information about credits is available on the “Academic Information” page of the live demonstration.

We’re so proud of the online course that we’re offering a “sneak peek” at the first two lessons. Click here to view a live demonstration!

Offline Study

Though our Librarian Training Course is now offered online, we still offer our traditional means of study by mail. Students enrolling in our offline course will study from a course manual and submit lesson assignments via the U.S. Postal Service or e-mail. Students wishing to save a little money while receiving the same information may wish to avail themselves of this option. Unfortunately, academic or continuing education credits are only available through our online course at this time.

Financial Aid

For those who may be interested in CSLA’s offline training course but who might not have the financial means in their budget, there are scholarship funds available. Named for the first CSLA Continuing Education Chairperson, the Muriel Fuller Scholarship Fund encourages congregational librarians to apply for financial assistance for the cost of enrollment. The deadline for returning the completed scholarship application is April 1. Scholarships are awarded during our national conference in July.


Tuition for our Librarian Training Course is as follows:

Offline Course $200
Online Course (Non-Credit, All Students) $200
Online Course (Credit, SBC Students) $535
Online Course (Credit, Other Baptist Students) $615
Online Course (Credit, All Other Students) $735

Application Download Links

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.