Church librarian Sue Mobley retires after 44 years comment (0)
August 22, 2013
By Sammi Jo Barstow
When Sue Mobley became the church librarian at First Baptist Church, Tuscaloosa, in 1969, volunteers handwrote information for each book on 3x5 cards and filed them in the library’s card catalog.
On July 28, the church honored Mobley for her 93rd birthday and also on her retirement after 44 years of service in the Tuscaloosa Baptist Association church library.
Moving from handwritten cards to a typewriter and then about 10 years ago to a computer system to catalog books are only some of the changes Mobley has witnessed in her years of service.
When she began working in the library, it was housed in a room not much bigger than a closet. The present library, on the second floor of the children’s building, houses more than 2,200 books, DVDs and movies.
The explosion of Christian fiction in recent years has created a boom in the Christian book market, Mobley said. She personally enjoys fiction and biographies, but she has made it her mission to know what church members like to read and to be able to recommend books to individuals.
“The library is a ministry to the church,” Mobley said. It’s also a place for church members to meet each other casually and share reading interests and develop friendships. “You can come in here and browse around and see people you might not meet otherwise,” she said.
A special children’s section, which Mobley calls “easy readers,” has a child-sized table and chairs. “The children like to pull out books and sit at the table and read. You know, we let them pull out the books. We can always put them back. We want them to enjoy the books.”
Funds for the library are included in the church budget, but church members also support the library with donations and memorials.
Gil McKee, pastor of First, Tuscaloosa, said Mobley’s years of service have been invaluable. “I am so grateful for Sue’s 44 years of service to the church. She has been a committed and passionate advocate of Christian education through the medium of literature and other resources. She has touched the lives of thousands of people.”