Bibliopolis: Defying Reading Statistics

In August 2015, after working for 15 years as a high school English and History teacher, Emily Kim became our official church librarian.

Emily, our church librarian and #1 Gracepoint Bibliophile with her typical stack of books!

Emily, our church librarian and #1 Gracepoint Bibliophile with her typical stack of books!

Soon after, Emily launched Bibliopolis: a church library specifically geared toward children and teens. Emily recognized the effect that our 21st century, instant gratification culture was having on our youth. In a 2016 Breakpoint article, Eric Metaxas explained how the rise of technology has impacted psychological health, social skill development, and academics. A study by Microsoft concluded that, "The average attention span among American youth is about 8 seconds, less than that of a goldfish." Just last year, Pew Research Center discovered that 24% of Americans hadn't read a single book all year.

Emily created Bibliopolis to promote the love of reading throughout our church and to raise up life-long readers across Gracepoint Berkeley and our church plants. Emily writes, "As Christians, it's so important for us to learn how to engage our minds and enter into dialogue with an author about sustained arguments, ideas, or imagined worlds and characters so that we can become more reasonable, thoughtful, attentive students of the Word, and equipped to fight against all that is in the world that that tells us that the here and now is all there is!"

Emily spurred us on through programs like reading challenges, a Bibliopolis blog, and curating a mini-city of books for children and adults alike. At Bibliopolis headquarters you'll find an array of plants, Ikea furniture, warm drinks, and plush rugs positioned to create a warm, welcoming environment conducive to reading and it's become a beloved corner of our church for readers of all ages.

Enjoying Halfway Herbert in Bibliopolis. Books range from picture books for elementary school kids to chapter books for older students.

Enjoying Halfway Herbert in Bibliopolis. Books range from picture books for elementary school kids to chapter books for older students.

Emily recognized this as a truly extraordinary moment—middle school boys voluntarily reading!

Emily recognized this as a truly extraordinary moment—middle school boys voluntarily reading!

Emily inspired a reading revolution across our churches. Church plants started book tables at Sunday services. Candid snapshots of readers encouraged people to "steal reading moments" throughout their daily schedules. Even Pastor Ed got caught up in the reading mania!

A book table at our UCLA church.

A book table at our UCLA church.

Anywhere in the world can become a place to "steal a reading moment." Even during a bike ride in Alameda!

Anywhere in the world can become a place to "steal a reading moment." Even during a bike ride in Alameda!

Pastor Ed stealing a reading moment with some kids while visiting Gracepoint Riverside.

Pastor Ed stealing a reading moment with some kids while visiting Gracepoint Riverside.

As Bibliopolis helps us defy the reading statistics of today, we're being transformed from goldfish into bookworms. Check out the Bibliopolis blog for reading inspiration and book reviews and recommendations for readers of all ages—fiction, non-fiction, and Christian books too!


Krystal Han is an avid reader herself and serves in our Elderly Care Ministry at Gracepoint Berkeley.