The John Barley Library is a resource centre that contains books, periodicals, CDs and DVDs for children, teens and adults looking for resource material, support and inspiration. 

Contact: Anne Marriott –

What is the John Barley Library?

Rev. John Barley was appointed the first Minster of Christian Education at Islington United Church. The John Barley Library is a welcoming area for all ages to read, research and browse our growing collection. It is also an excellent resource for aids to teach children about the life of Jesus, the Bible and our Christian beliefs. The Library Committee is responsible for selecting, cataloging and presenting our collection and encouraging its use by our congregation.

Search our Catalogue

Thanks to ResourceMate, you can now browse the contents of our amazing and ever growing library. You may check out what’s new on the homepage or search for books by keyword, title, author or subject. If you find a book that you are interested in please visit our library to sign it out.

Access the online catalogue by clicking the search button, below.


The library is presently closed due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The library's namesake

In 1956 the Rev. John Barley was appointed the first Minster of Christian Education at Islington. During that year, enrolment in the Church School reached a peak at 1,281 children and 147 staff. Rev. Barley accomplished much in Teacher Training Programs and using experimental teaching methods.

The matter of securing additional space was always on his mind. At various times, part of the Church School had to be housed in the Islington Public School on Cordova Avenue, and in the Islington Seniors’ Center on Dundas Street.

In 1960 Rev. Barley was chosen by the United Church Board of Sunday School Publications to prepare the new curriculum for the Junior Department. It was a great shock to the congregation, then, when Rev. Barley suddenly died in October 1961.

Rev. Stewart East, Senior Minister at Islington United since 1947, wrote of his memorial service: “We were more than a company of people who came to honour a respected and valued minister. Rather we were a company of individuals who came with a deep sense of personal loss and were joined by others from far and near – from Syracuse, from Sarnia – those to whom the Rev. John Barley had become a real and personal friend.”

A great supporter, the library was named in his honour following his death.

book selection policy

Book selections, whether purchased or donated, will be consistent with Islington’s Mission Statement. This mission statement is further supported by two declarations: “Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors” and “More than Welcome.” The John Barley Library collection will provide opportunities to – explore our beliefs and those of the United Church of Canada – learn and understand other faiths – enrich devotional life – explore Christian views on social justice foster an appreciation of good literature – encourage our congregation’s growth as disciples following in the way of Jesus

Islington reads

The Library also supports Islington Reads, the Islington United Church book club that is offered in partnership with A Novel Spot Bookshop and is open to all — church members and nonmembers alike. The church library has several copies of each book discussed at the book club available to those who may not be in a position to purchase their own copy.

Please note that this service will not be available until the library reopens.

Christian Salvage Mission

The Christian Salvage Mission is an organization supporting people in need of Christian books and music and some other books. Please save your Christian literature, Bibles, Bible study guides, school books, medical books, Christian CDs and DVDs, music books, sheet music, Christian magazines and devotions, and children’s books and Sunday School material for when we are together in church again. We will have drop off boxes for these materials at that time.