Does anyone know of a discussion about organizing the resource room? I'm interested in the basics of sorting, storing, and making accessible all the teaching materials. I would also like information on creating a data base for the materials so that teachers can do an easy computer search for what they want.

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Computer Library Database - called "ResourceMate®"  a library program you will use as a computer database for storing & listing everything you have for any particular bible story.

Can you imagine going to your computer, opening a program and with a few keystrokes having a printable report on everything you have related to any specific bible story. A report which shows every book, puppet, cookie cutter, drama prop, toy, CD, banner, etc. connected to that specific story by workshop. Something you bought six years ago, long forgotten is there listed for you. No searching table of contents or rummaging through boxes every time you prepare a lesson. Can’t remember were you stored an item, look up the item and it will tell you. Keep track of who has what – just use the “Lend” and “Return” under transactions. Honestly, you just have to have this. I spent my own money to buy this program. I played around with the set-up, configuring it to suit my needs (rotation). Entered everything we had, and I mean everything. For each item you then add “subjects” (bible stories) that the item could be used with. Example: Bag of Coins: Lost Coin, Easter–Judas, Easter–Cleansing Temple, Disciple–Mathew, Parable–Widow’s Mite. Time consuming, but oh so worth it. I love it and couldn’t imagine life without it.

ResourceMate Website
Check for current pricing.
Jaywil Software Development Inc., P.O. Box 25005, Guelph, ON, Canada N1G 4T4
1-800-815-8370 (toll-free) not sure if number works in states
Phone: 519-837-8370
Fax: 519-837-8656

I bought this program myself for the church and have never regretted it. It's used for libraries, but it's perfect for what you want.

It also has the added bonus of being able to give you a full inventory and replacement cost of all your supplies for insurance purposes.

I have input all my books, puppets, games, puzzles, toys, furniture, posters, bulletin board sets, props, costumes, software, movies, etc. etc. When inputting each item under subjects I put what bible stories the item will work with or in the case of a book - use the index for your subject list (just always use the same wording). When entering the subject just type Example: Parable? and your subject list that you've input will come up and you can choose the subject you previously typed in or if it's not there enter a new subject.

Now I can simply go in and ask for a report by subject (example - like "Sheep") Lost Sheep and ask it to sort items by Resource Types: "Drama", "Puppets", Art, Cooking, Computers, etc.

Then I sit down and can immediately see everything I have for that particular story listed by workshop, no more searching through shelves or forgetting you have something you bought 4 years ago, it's right there in front of you.

You can also loan items out - you'll always know which Sunday school teacher (or often in my case another church) has borrowed something and it will show what's loaned out and to who. It's very easy to return items as well.

It time consuming entering everything to start with, especially if you have a lot of resources, but the time savings is well worth the effort. Once it's set-up each time you purchase something you just enter in the new item as you buy them.

Resource Types

  • Art - Supplies
  • Art - Projects
  • Books
  • Cooking
  • Decorate-Posters, BB, Mobiles
  • Drama Costumes/Props/Backdrops
  • Furniture
  • Maps
  • Music Books
  • Music CD / DVDs
  • Musical Instruments
  • Project Samples
  • Puppets
  • Software
  • Story Table
  • Teacher Resource Material
  • Toys / Puzzles / Games
  • Video – DVD


  • Art Room
  • Computer Room
  • Drama
  • Props
  • Filing Cabinet
  • Hall Cupboard
  • Movie Theater
  • Music Box
  • Nursery
  • Prop Box
  • Puppet Box
  • Tent Room
  • TV Stand Bottom

(Workshops – these are also important for reports)

  • Art
  • Bible Games
  • Computer
  • Cooking
  • Drama
  • God's story Table
  • Music
  • Movies
  • Nursery
  • Puppets
  • Science
  • Storytelling
  • Teacher Resource

My subject list is too extensive so here are some tips:

Christmas - Birth
Christmas - Mary & Eliz
Christmas - Angels
Christmas - Shepherds

Easter - Palm Sunday
Easter - Garden Of Gethsemane
Easter - Resurrection (Empty Tomb)
Easter - Thomas

Parable - Lost Sheep
parable - Lost Coin
Parable - Lost Son
Parable - Good Samaritan
etc. also I found it helpful to put scripture reference after parables and especially miracles as sometimes a book my say healed the blind man - but there are more than one story about a blind man

Long stories like Paul
Paul - Conversion
Paul - Escape in Basket
Paul - Journey #1
Paul - Rome

Joseph - Part 1 (Dreams-Coat-Slave-Prison)
Joseph - Part 2 (Brothers in Egypt)

Moses - Birth
Moses - Parting Red Sea

How you set it up depends on how you'll use it in workshops, I set Joseph up above as we decided to do it in two months segments. So it's good to sit down and lay out a plan as to how your going to enter things.

This way when you're entering a new item and let's say it's a miracle - when you go to enter the subjects (bible stories) you type mir? and your list comes up starting at miracles and you scroll down and pick the one you want, or if it's not there add it.

There's also a place from the main menu where you can alter subject names easily and across the whole program.

Like most of you, I'd started gathering a lot of material once we started rotation 7 years ago and decided it would be great to have it somehow all on the computer so I'd know what I had for a particular bible story or theme. I played around with Excel and discovered making something myself was going to be a humongous project. Then talking to a school librarian by accident one day, she said I was welcome to pop into the school and she'd show me the system they used for their school library (Resource Mate). So I did, and I could immediately see the possibilities. I ordered the program, attended a local church librarian's seminar (which turned out to be a waste of time), because my purpose was different than theirs. And I soon discovered numbering my items was in no way helpful.

I purchased the program in the spring of 2003, spent the summer inputing everything in my spare time. Over the years I've found the way I orginally set some things up needed to be altered as I had either simplified it too much, or made it too complicated.

So below are tips I'd suggest if your setting up your own program, learn from my mistakes and my successes.



The program allows you to enter the series (example McGee & Me) on the library card page (do it), but I also found it very useful when entering title to put short form of the series name in the front of title. Because, when you search through any Resource Type it brings up an alpabetical list by title and I found if I wanted at a quick glance to scroll down and see if I had a certain Veggie Tale movie I had to remember the exact title name or take the extra steps to search for a specific name which was also slower. So I spent a couple of hours changing everything a year down the road.

N-Jesus, Son of God (Nest)
B-Story of Creation (Beginner's Bible)
VB-Matthew (Visual Bible)
CW-And It Was So! (Cherub Wings)
K10C-The Golden Calf (Kid's 10 Commandments)


Multiple Copies
When I first entered all my software I entered a title, then copied it, as many times as I had copies.
Problem with this - when I printed a report all those copies were listed individually and this made my report really long and there was no benefit seeing all 6 copies.
Entering quantity in brackets after title proved much more beneficial.
Life of Christ (4)
Play & Learn (4)
Bongo Loves the Bible (1)
It's also helpful if you want to keep an updated print-off of software you have for lesson planning and budget purposes.
You can print off a report that just shows Software you have and at a glance you'll know what you have and how many copies.
I'm doing Book of the Bible next year and see I only have one copy (probably purchased the one when it was on sale). So I know I need to budget for 3 more or check to see if I have other software that I can tie in with the one copy I have if suitable. In this case, no I want 3 more copies.

Just remember if you have 6 copies in the "Replacement Value" your cost - you put the cost of 6 copies, not 1 copy.


This page is useful for the following things:

Software - Put Computer Specs

Movies - Outline of movie (publisher's description)

Books - Outline of story (publisher's description)

Music CD's - Here I list the song titles on the CD, as you can search your notes (after song I'll put bible story it will work with). Under subjects I've already put the bible stories the CD will work with, but the titles of the songs do not always tell you what story they will work with and so not for all songs, but some I indicate under the notes.

Music SongBooks - Can list the songs

Any special comment you want to make about that item can go here.

Contrary to popular opinion, my solution on a shoestring so far has been using Excel--just as Luanne found didn't work for her. However, our small church size and building constraints, along with a stroke of luck(?), have actually worked in my favor to help me organize somewhat better considering the circumstances.

We don't have and can't build enough classrooms to dedicate each to a particular workshop purpose--even for CE itself, not to mention the myriad other purposes the rooms are put to. Add to that that when I accepted this role, I soon had this conversation:
Student: What room is our group in, Miss Tamara?
Me: Um...that one...uh...over there. And you other guys, go to the yellow room.
I spent some time that afternoon trying to figure out a way to revamp the signage on the rooms (the computer lab was aptly labeled "computer lab," but we had two rooms still labeled by ages when we no longer group by ages, one room still labeled "nursery" when it was no longer the nursery, and one with archaic decals reading "B7" on the lintel) when I remembered how well it worked to send the kids to the "yellow room," which is painted a pastel yellow. I also noticed that the computer lab, painted the same yellow but with orange-and-brown-flecked carpet and maroon blinds, looked orange, and that the other classroom we'd used that day happened to have a bluish cast to it due to the way the daylight streamed in through its windows.

That week, I made signs to replace the existing ones: Red room, Blue room, Orange room (computer lab), Yellow room, Purple room, and--my office and supply room--Green room (you other performing arts geeks will appreciate the double entendre!). Preliminary plans to remodel and redecorate the rooms to fit their "color" themes were made (I fully expect such plans to take years to pull off), but in the meantime, the signs alone not only made weekly class assignments and materials bins oh-so-organized for both teachers and students (read: color coded teacher bins, materials trays, etc.), but solved more of my storage organization problem (due to decades of off-and-on CE programming with zero attempt at a cataloging system of any kind).

I started with the blue room and began an Excel spreadsheet, and yes, I numbered the bins I found. I listed the items in each bin in the cell next to the number (I only used 1 cell to list all of a bin's contents); large items not contained in bins each had their own number. The numbers of the bins/items, both on the label and in the spreadsheet, are the color of the room they're located in (i.e. the bin of faux suede and leather is numbered 004 in blue marker, is located on a shelf in the Blue room, and is listed as "BLUE -> 004 -> faux leather/suede" in the spreadsheet--all in blue font). It's not a perfect system, but it's searchable, sortable, and fits our needs for the moment--which start with cataloging what we didn't know we had. As many bins as possible are clear Sterilite bins of various sizes, helping things stay somewhat consistent as well as convenient to the more visual organizers among us. I'm also able to keep this spreadsheet accessible on the Web to access and update from anywhere and collaborate with volunteers.

I haven't had a chance to look for an Access template to migrate to--I could build one that would work like Resource Mate, but it would take so long, and this isn't my full-time job!--but I did start taking pictures of items before storing them, linking the photo files into the spreadsheet, when I decided to finally get all the banners and costumes out of my office and into the belfry so I could MOVE. So I can store things where there's room and still see them, even if "where there's room" is across the church from my office in all three dimensions!

I guess the the (much) shorter answer is: If you don't want to shell out a couple hundred bucks for the professional software, you'd better be a computer geek (or know a good one with lots of time on their hands and patience to "live" in your CE program for awhile to know how you use things). And be prepared to put a lot of your brainpower, energy, and day planner into R&D.

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