With a facility that would outshine some public libraries, All Saints Parish reaps the benefits of having a Resource Library in the Kamel Life Center on our parish campus with selections and activities for all ages. Librarian Maria Isabel Garcia leads a dedicated group of 24 volunteers who make sure library patrons are well served.
The library was founded in 1977, one year after All Saints was established. Maria Isabel and her husband were part of the Parish Adult Christian Enrichment Committee that led to the founding of our library.
“We needed a library,” Maria Isabel says. “So, I started it and it’s been going since then.”
The library honors St. Jerome, the patron saint of librarians, with his icon placed at the library entrance.
Our library is computerized with the Follet Destiny system. Patrons can access the database from home to locate the books they need and can choose from the collection of electronic media, such as DVDs. As of this past June 30, the library holds 14,383 books and 16 periodical titles. There are 2,052 DVDs on hand, and patrons can use four computers.
“All are invited to become a member or patron of the library,” Maria Isabel says. “We can create an ID card with a bar code that can make checking out a lot easier. Visitors can use our library as long as they have a reference from a person in our parish.”
There is a comfortable lounge area where the Book Review Group and other small groups meet. A children’s section has recently been remodeled, and there are three main sections of the library space in use.
“I recently started offering the Sunday morning newspapers,” Maria Isabel says. “People like to come in to read the Sunday papers.”
The numbers tell the story of how much our parish values the library. There are 1,412 registered parishioners and 218 non-parishioners. In all 1,422 adults have used the library in the fiscal year of
July 1, 2022, to June 30, 2023, and 50 children visited. Our library volunteers logged 2,452 hours in that time to help things run smoothly.
The library hours are 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. each Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. The library is also open 7-9 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.
“We are open those hours on those two days because there are classes or some councils are meeting at that time, so it’s a good time to be here,” Maria Isabel says.
On Saturdays and Sundays, the library is open before and after each Mass, with Saturday hours from 4:30-7 p.m., and on Sunday, 8:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. and 4:30-7 p.m.
Not only can parishioners find plenty of reading, viewing, and listening materials, but we can also take advantage of the different social activities at the library that help bring us together as a faith community. Maria Isabel posts these different activities in our weekly bulletins.
Café Mornings has recently been moved to the second Thursday of each month, and the Book Review Group meets on the second Wednesday. The St. Jerome Circle meets on the third Friday of each month.
Another very popular program is Night at the Library, which meets at 6:30 p.m. on the third Sunday of the month, with a variety of topics and speakers. One topic has been “Living the Catholic Faith in Different Countries.”
“I did the first on Portugal, where I am from, in March 2012, and we have covered 56 different countries so far,” Maria Isabel said. “In November, I presented ‘Living the Catholic Faith in Guatemala.’ We have presenters with different cultural aspects. I serve a meal I always make from recipes from that country. I keep copies in a vertical file so I can give copies of the recipes away.”
A highlight of the year is the presentation of an award to the adult and child who have used the library most often.
“Lots of children are using the library after Mass on Sundays,” Maria says.
For more information about the library offerings or to serve, contact Maria Garcia at 972-778-0327 or email@example.com.