stack of booksWhile participating in the Cultural Skills Program, some members have discovered that their town’s libraries only have a few Norwegian authors, or very few titles published in recent decades. Bolster your lodge’s cultural knowledge by founding a lodge library, starting a book exchange, or both!

Some lodges are fortunate enough to have a library of their own. If this is the case for yours, skip ahead to the last section, Revitalizing your lodge library.

Getting Started
Do you have a storage closet or other available space to house a bookshelf? If so, you are ready to launch your fledgling library. Members may already have books at home that they’d be happy to donate. Put out a call in your newsletter for people to bring in books by Norwegian or Norwegian-American authors, or books on Norway.

To drum up additional books, create a lodge wishlist (like a gift registry, but at a local bookstore) where people can purchase a book that interests them and donate it after they’ve finished reading it. Suggested topics: Norwegian history, poetry, plays, folktales, mythology, fiction, non-fiction, påskekrim (Easter crime thrillers), cookbooks, genealogy, travel, immigrant stories, WWII and Occupation/Norwegian resistance stories. If you need financial resources to help you create or expand your library, apply for a Lodge Culture and Heritage Grant from the Sons of Norway Foundation—the average award is $500.

Once you have books, decide on a check-out system that works for you, whether it is the classic paper card inside the front cover, a Google Forms document, or an account on libib.com, like Sonja Lodge 2-038 uses. Ask members to donate a few hours of dugnad (volunteer work for a common cause) to get organized.

Book exchange
No space for a bookshelf? Create a book exchange so that the books may be circulated among members. Each participant buys a book that they haven’t read, and swaps with others when they’re finished. Avoid doubling up by creating an online list of available books.

Revitalize Your Lodge Library
If your lodge already has a thriving library, like Grieg Lodge 2-015 with its whopping collection of 3500 books, you may want to enlist a group of volunteers to help spiff up the stacks. Dust off all of the books and shelves, reorganize the stacks, and create a display to highlight some volunteer favorites. To rejuvenate a well-established library, apply for a Lodge Culture and Heritage Grant from the Sons of Norway Foundation—the average award is $500.