FUMC Wichita Falls Dedicates New Children, Youth Library

FUMC Wichita Falls library

'We have had to spend zero dollars on books. Every book came from donors in the church – church members,' said Julia Lamberth

First United Methodist Church Wichita Falls is all-in on building up students to be strong readers. So much so that they now have a dedicated library for children and youth to enjoy in their building.

On Aug. 27, First UMC Wichita Falls held the Children’s and Youth Library dedication. The celebration capped off weeks of cleaning, organizing, sorting donated books and purchasing new ones for the library.

FUMCWF libraryThis literacy resource will be instrumental as the church continues its support of the nonprofit, Reading With Friends, a four-week summer reading program for students in first through fifth grades that helps build self-confidence and self-awareness through one-on-one literacy engagement, creative art, recreational activities and Bible study.

Church member Julia Lamberth spoke in worship on the morning of the dedication about the library project she helped launch.

“We have this great space downstairs that is our Rec Lobby, but there were definitely parts of it that could use some extra attention, or maybe weren’t being used to their full potential,” she said. “[Founder of Reading With Friends] Sarah Pellikan and I were talking, especially as Reading with Friends was coming up this summer, about how we could use that space to be a permanent home for them, but then how we could also expand it to be a long-term home to have books for children and youth. It has expanded to a Children and Youth Library.”

Said Rev. John McLarty, senior pastor at First UMC Wichita Falls: “Strengthening communities through better reading literacy is part of our United Methodist heritage. This children's library is another way the church can be a visible and tangible reminder of that.” 

In thanking the congregation for their donations of books and funds to get the library off the ground, Lamberth said, “This is amazing. We have had to spend zero dollars on books. Every book came from donors in the church – church members who found books from classrooms or their own homes. There are hundreds of books in the library. It was mind-blowing when we started putting them on the shelves, how many came in from all of you.”

One church member applied for a grant, and when it was received, they used those funds to buy new books for the library.

“Today, we see kids and families using the library before Sunday school and after their Wednesday evening ‘Music and More.' They're working on their reading skills and they're doing that at the church.” McLarty said. “I can see this developing into a great complementary ministry to our partnership with the local schools and the reading buddies we send there. It provides a natural opportunity for a reading mentor to invite a student and their family to check out the church and its amazing children's library.” 

Published: Wednesday, October 4, 2023