I think we've been chugging along and not considering that something significant has changed and we haven't changed with it, the church library. It may be called the "Materials Center" the "Resource Center" or something similar.

However, it HAS changed and things have changed around it.

Reviewing a little of the history of how it has operated in the past suggests why it currently functions the way it does. What is more important is how it should be operated now and in the future.

Currently, we often have up to three or more members assigned to the Resource Center and they preside over a photocopier, about 600 overexposed pictures, audiovisual equipment, and some chalk. That's about it.

Does it really require this many people to oversee it? I don't think so. It did in the past, but not now.

The Past is No More

In the past, nearly every teacher was teaching a different lesson that required specific pictures and other library resources. Library workers would pull these materials every Sunday and have each teacher's kit ready to go. Several workers were needed to do that as well as issue chalk and erasers to the teachers.

This all changed with our standardized curriculum.

I remember walking by the library one Sunday when a frantic teacher asked, "Are there any other pictures of David and Goliath?" I thought to myself, "Goodness, every teacher needs the same pictures now. What are we going to do?"

Obviously, digital resources were and are the answer. The Church's media has gravitated online, not into the Resource Center.

What Should/Could Change?

No kits need to be pulled every week. Nearly all the resources a teacher needs are now located online. This brings up the question of what part the Resource Center should play now in the gospel-teaching universe.

Why not designate at least one of these Resource Center Specialists with digital responsibilities to assist people?

There are thousands if not tens of thousands of images, videos, and other materials online. Sifting through them and finding what you want can take time.

Someone highly technical in the Resource Center to help troubleshoot the digital equipment and help teachers and presenters slog through all the resources seems to be what's needed now.

Instead, people are left to their own devices, sometimes literally.

I'd prefer to see people actively helping teachers/presenters manage the media so that they can concentrate on teaching and not the technical aspects of the presentation.

It would even make sense for a Resource Center Specialist to sit in on the lesson and manage the media for a teacher or presenter.

In addition, someone who is digitally savvy could help teachers and presenters reduce the audio and visual noise that has become so prevalent in recent years.

Audio and Visual Noise

Too often when teachers and presenters are fiddling with media we are forced to endure ads, commercials, family pictures, irrelevant images and other things the presenter has to scroll through in order to find the media they want to show.

This results in distractions and it distracts from the Spirit which is the real issue.

Church instruction in using media always comes with the caution that the use of media should NOT distract from the Spirit.

Proper use of technology should be seamless and barely noticeable to the audience. It should flow so well that no one should even be conscious that you are using media.

The onus is on the teacher and presenter. This is a big responsibility. Instead of expecting them to manage everything themselves, I'd prefer to offer them help in some form.

A Significant Problem

In the past, members will limited capabilities, for whatever reason, were often called to serve in the library/materials center because it didn't require much knowledge or skill.

This has changed. The members that serve there now need additional capabilities because the responsibilities are more complex.

This doesn't mean current Resource Center Specialists can't be trained to perform these responsibilities or simply augmented with those who have more capabilities to assist them.

We just need to make certain the Materials Center can perform at the level it needs to, now.

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