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I wasn't one for books or reading while I was in high school. In fact, I avoided them whenever possible. But after high school, books have become a huge part of my ministry, because books offer information. Over the years, I have amassed quite a collect of resources for youth ministry and church leadership.
While I have enjoyed building and reading my "personal" library, the problem with books is storing them. I have 4 bookshelves in my office that are over flowing with books. So the time has come to thin out my collection and share some of the resources that I am no longer using.
I'm doing a little spring clean, sorting through my collection of youth ministry, family ministry, and church leaders books thinning my collect to make room for new titles. It sometimes amazes me to see how quickly the shelves refill.
I'm not one to just throw out books but, in clearing my shelves I'm left with what to do with the books I'm done with. So I started thinking of how I might be able to pass along some of the books and resources I no longer use or need. I came up with these three ideas.
The Swap Meet...
Your traditional swap meet gathers vendors from all over, peddling their wares to the assortment of shoppers. If you've ever been to a swap meet you know it's quite a scene! But I'm thinking of a slight different kind of swap meet. This swap meet involves the sharing of resources with youth workers.
This summer I'm looking to host a Summer Swap Meet for youth workers in our Presbytery. The goal is to gather youth workers from our area, asking them to bring their used and/or unneeded resources, books, curriculum, and tools. There will be table to display their collections and time for youth workers to investigate the resources. If a youth worker finds a resource that they think might be helpful, they get to take home that resource. Ideally, with everyone bringing something, there will be plenty to go around.
Not only is this a great way to share resources, but it's an awesome way to help youth workers get new tools without taxing their budgets.
Some denominations have regional offices for the leadership. Sometimes these offices have resource libraries. These resource libraries provide tools to the churches and ministries of the denomination, usually at no cost to the church or ministry. While serving in one denomination, I learned that the denominational office had quite an extensive library that was available to the churches, staff, and members of the denomination. All you had to do was sign out the resource, use it, and return it when you were done. It was super helpful and very budget friendly.
If you are part of a denomination, check to see if your regional office offers access to a resource library. Offer to share some of your resources and help them grow their library of youth ministry tools. If you are not part of a denomination, check with the churches new you and see what they do with their resources. Maybe you can partner with them and create a library for your community or local network.
Post Your Books on Amazon.com
If you are familiar with Amazon.com, you might already be aware that they sell used books. Yes, along with the new books, you can also purchase used books at a lesser rate than the new books. I recently purchased a used edition of a book that is no longer being printed, and I got it for about $2.00. The question is, where do these books come from? Well, they come from people like us; people who have read the book, valued it's information, but now needs the space for new books.
At the bottom of the Amazon page you will find links to the various Amazon opportunities. Click on the link, complete the information forms and you'll be on your way. Amazon offers the options of serving as the distributor or you can mail out your resources on your own. If you copy of a title sells, you get a percentage of the sale! That's a little extra pocket money for you.
As I continue with my spring cleaning, I am looking forward to making use of the summer swap meet and the Amazon.com options. I plan to take a couple stacks of books and resources that I own to the swap meet to share. Whatever doesn't sell will uploaded and sent to Amazon to be sold. And who know, maybe a couple titles will show up here as free give-aways...
What I want to know is, What do YOU do with your older resources? Share in the comments below! I look forward to hearing from you!
Jay Higham is a veteran youth worker of over 30 years; having worked with students in the local church and Christian camping settings. Jay is currently serving as the director of family ministry at a church, located in West Virginia. Jay has been married to Amy for over 25 years. Together, they are raising 5 kids, (4 boys and 1 girl). Jay is an aspiring author, blogger, speaker, vlogger, and social media junkie. He is passionate about student ministry, family ministry, and training youth workers to love and serve their students with passion and excellence.