So, for those of you who are unfamiliar with the Mennonite Church Canada world, the MC Canada Resource Centre is essentially an AWESOME lending library! And it drives me nuts that so few people know about it!
The RC is hand's down my favourite aspect of our conference. Yes, I know there are lots of other awesome things our conference does, but I'm a book fanatic so their work really resonates with me.
And here's why!
1. It's curated: the RC does an amazing job of looking for quality materials of all kinds. Honestly, I find searching on Amazon a bit like searching a landfill, hoping to find one or two treasures. Searching the RC is far more rewarding because I know someone has already done the work of looking for quality resources that respresent the best of the Anabaptist tradition, as well as myriad other perspectives that stretch me in areas like peace and reconciliation, indigenous relations, spirituality, multifaith dialogue, creativity, music, etc.
2. Tons of materials: They have over 14,000 dvd and print resources!
3. Lots of variety: I can borrow Buffalo Shout, Salmon Cry, The Children of God Storybook Bible, In your Underwear, Feasting on the Word, Learning to Walk in the Dark and Jesus, Bombs and Ice Cream at the same place!
4. It's all FREE: because I belong to an MC Canada church, I can borrow any books or dvds for absolutely no cost. When I lived in Winnipeg, I just swung by the office and picked them up. Now that I live in Kitchener, they ship them to me at no charge. And during the years I worked at a church that wasn't part of MC Canada, I simply got a membership for the low price of $30 a year!
5. Try before I buy: the RC gives me the amazing opportunity to check out titles before I sink money into buying them and having them sit on my shelves for years because they're simply not what I thought they would be, or what I was actually looking for.
6. Downloadable and online resources: I can't tell you how many times I've gone to the RC in the eleventh hour looking for a last-minute resource for worship and rejoiced to find that a church in SK submitted their last Good Friday monologues or whatever, so the rest of us can have access to them. I've also loved the links to valuable blogs and websites on a wide variety of topics. And these can be accessed in Canada or the US!
7. Environmental impact: lending libraries make good environmental sense. One book can be read by countless individuals. And the RC works to be as environmentally friendly as possible, shipping books in batches and re-using shipping materials.
8. It's for everyone: the RC has books for children and youth and adults and they ship anywhere in Canada. Sometimes people think the RC is just for people in ministry, but that is most definitely not the case. Just set up an account and you're good to go. Each time I get a package of books in the mail it's like Christmas!
9. Website that's easy to access and navigate: you can search by keyword, you can search by scripture text. You can do advanced searches, you can check out only what's new, you can search only the dvds or you can search by categories. It's all there, it all has descriptions, it's easy to find and easy to order.
10. Arlyn and Miriam: the staff at the RC make it what it is. They are always happy to help you find what you need, and Arlyn's knowledge of what's in their catalogue, spirituality, the church, current issues, and of the ministry context is second to none.
So instead of trawling Amazon today, try trawling the RC!