Sharing Church management best practices in the Catholic Church
This is a recurring topic among the Catholic publishers because there is so much access to parishioners and it helps overcome the loss of so many Catholic bookstores in neighborhoods that used to feed parishes.
Pauline is one of the few remaining publishers in this business. I think Our Sunday Visitor and 23rd Publications used to be in this business. Not sure any more.
Lighthouse Catholic Media offers kiosks, usually stocked with CDs (various lectures), but I understand that they are stocking the kiosks more and more with books. Usually the kiosks are maintained by a local Lighthouse sales rep.
Several years ago we removed an underused confessional and created a "lending library" of religious themed material. The material ranges from the usual church pamphlets to books found in the theological section of a university. People are free to take-and-replace.
Two volunteers edit the area and keep it free from people dumping their non-religious books. You do have to be vigilant in this respect or you can end up with some very dated, dusty sets of useless books.
The library has been open for over seven years and it works out fine. We haven't had any issues and many people peruse the shelves for books.
Replenishment of new material isn't an issue and we get appropriate donations that keep a fresh mix going. It also allows for parishioners an opportunity to gain a broader understanding of their faith. I think it is a small element that helps extends quiet welcome message.