The following item was submitted by WRF Board member Dr. Matthew Ebenezer of India. Dr. Ebenezer may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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I am a retired education professor from Cedarville University. While teaching at the university, my husband and I had a sabbatical in Taiwan. We were flown to China to do workshops and it was there that I made a casual comment which turned into my first library overhaul. Through word of mouth, I returned two years later to do one in Bangladesh. The requests kept coming in so I took a team almost every summer. Since retirement, I’ve continued organizing and automating libraries, sometimes doing three or four a year. I’ve done K-12 Christian schools as well as seminaries. At last count, I’ve cataloged approximately two dozen libraries around the world including China, Bangladesh, Egypt, Costa Rica, The Philippines, Jamaica, India, Ghana, Chile, Peru, South Africa, and Uganda. In several countries I’ve done more than one.
I bring a four volume set of the Dewey Decimal Classification System with me, use it on site, and then leave for the school to use when more books are added to their collection. The DDCS books are one edition old and have been give to me free by stateside Christian librarians who upgrade their libraries with the newest edition, printed every seven years. The complete set, purchased new, runs $400.00. Using an older edition has no effect on the classification of books since the newer edition only adds more recent information, particularly in medical and technological areas. Theology books for schools and seminaries, as well as Christian books, have Dewey numbers which seldom change.
Each school and location is unique, with different facilities and needs. Except for one school, I have always paid my own transportation and frequently have paid some room and board. Living on retirement, my personal resources are more limited. If a school can assist by providing room and board while I am there, it would be appreciated. However, I will not refuse any school because of lack of financial assistance.
Costs for the school normally include a software program, spine labels and protective tape. I like to use ResourceMate, an excellent software program out of Canada which has been developed for small school and church libraries. They have an excellent support system which I have used many times.
The software program runs about $400.00. Spine labels cost about $35.00 per 5,600 labels. The protective tape which covers the labels and doesn’t dry out or turn yellow costs about $35.00 per 1,000. On an average, total costs for all materials runs about $750.00 for a library of 4,000 to 5,000 books. If the school wants bar coding, book pockets, book cards, mending tape, etc. it will cost more. When I know the size of the school library as well as the needs, I will calculate the total costs and always inform the school before purchasing anything. Unless the school has a preferred method of paying for supplies, I will wait until I arrive for them to write me a check. Occasionally a mission board will want to send me the money from the home office rather than having it go through the school treasury.
I taught Children’s Literature for approximately 25 years at Cedarville University, as well as methods courses in Language Arts and Social Studies. This background has given me an overall understanding and knowledge of children’s books, an asset for K-12 schools.
Having been a Christian my entire adult life, as well as a faculty member of a Christian university, I am familiar with Christian terminology and many Christian authors. My husband, also a retired professor from Cedarville, who now teaches pastors in China (underground churches), Africa, and Eastern Europe, has been an enhancement to my understanding of theology, which has aided me in doing seminary libraries. I have also done workshops and consulting in many countries around the world. At least twice I have been brought in to evaluate a library and make suggestions for books to purchase to reinforce the school curriculum. Upon occasion, my husband and I will go together to a location. Most recently it was India, where he taught the book of Joshua while my team and I worked in the library.
An average size project will take three to four weeks with three to four women. When the school begins communicating with me, the first question I’ll ask is, “Approximately how many books do you have in your library”? I’ve gone solo for two weeks (Uganda) and taken as many as eight people for five weeks (Bangladesh). I’m very flexible and will work with the school calendar.
In 2010, I did five international libraries – probably one too many. This current year I have completed three, but have no other possibilities for 2011, which means I could do one in the fall if needed. In 2012, I will be doing an ABWE seminary in Bukidnon, Philippines and am in communication with a seminary in Cameroon, probably going in May. The later is not a definite because of the high cost of transportation. I had wanted to go there this current summer but had to postpone the project because I did not have the necessary airfare. I’m told that purchasing tickets before the holidays will probably cut the price down around 40%.
I hope so!
My expectations for the school are minimal: at least two relatively new computers for the team to use in entering data. Having internet is also helpful, although in some countries it may be very sporadic. Most of my team will bring their own laptops which we also use. Twice a day we merge the data from all the computers onto the home (school) computer and do back-ups. On occasion, if I find we are behind, I may ask for some student aid, particularly in affixing labels on books.
If you have questions I did not answer, please contact me. I love doing these projects and am grateful to the Lord that I still have the health and energy to keep going!
Beverly S. Monroe, Ph.D.
157 Kawani Lane
Brevard, NC 28712