Monthly Archives :

November 2021

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Buncombe County Library Asheville NC

Asheville, N.C. is a big music town that offers arts of all kinds. It’s no surprise the Buncombe County Library offers many different music programs. I was greeted by Jen W. and she was happy to show me around the library and explain how they are helping their community.

Across from the library are two 20 story buildings that mainly serve seniors. Buncombe offers programs for the elderly, involving jazz hours and bingo night, which are both a huge hit. The staff was very eager to get these programs restarted and provide a place for the residents to gather. Throughout the pandemic Buncombe has provided deliveries to both buildings but Jen expressed that she’s glad that seniors are beginning to feel a little more comfortable with coming out to socialize. The library has also been providing online storytimes for kids and parents.

Since reopening, Buncombe County Library has seen a resurgence of the teens in the community. Many teens have found interest in finding a safe place as pandemic restrictions are gradually lifting. They have been making their way in to read in book clubs as well as enjoying other programs that the library offers them.

Downstairs there was an area dedicated to local history and a corner arranged for referential research. Buncombe County Library made the decision to change their cataloging from the Dewey system to a category based system. A librarian named Catherine shared with me that a local artist was asked to help with the new look of this section. They brightened up the area, added a historical timeline of their community, and also added in their own record listening area.

The listening area contained different albums from local artists. Playing into the double entendre of records, there were also old local family records within this section that you could listen to.

It was nice to see how Buncombe was looking to give back to their community, especially with populations of people who use it as a safe place to hang out with friends or a place to socialize and get out.

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The Prose of a Traveling Man: Richland Library Main Branch Columbia, SC

As I drove down Assembly Street in Columbia South Carolina I saw that the rain did not turn away the eager children excited and ready for the neighborhood’s Richland Library “Halloween Stroll.” Making my way into the building I was greeted by Ronisha Jones, a member of the tech department. She was more than happy to give me a tour of their beautiful library that gave this rainy day a nice boost in positive vibes.

The main branch of Richland Library is made up of 4 floors and Ronisha and I made our way up to the 2nd floor where I was introduced to Lucy who worked in the workshop department. We got a chance to check out the woodshop room which provided a 3-D printer as well as a Resin Printer. During the pandemic residents in the community have been submitting in different designs that can be printed from these printers. Lucy expressed that this is a trial and error type of experience but enjoyable nonetheless.

After looking around the workshop we made our way over to the recording studio right next door. In here, you could find a microphone booth along with ample space for instruments to be brought in. At the other end of the studio room was a computer with software such as Ableton or Pro Tools where people could edit their recordings in real time. Once the recording was complete there was another room with several computers where you could edit your recordings.

Another way in which Richland Library is working to help serve their community through the pandemic is a farmer’s market that provides various meats as well as desserts on Wednesdays from 10-1. There are outside storytimes weekly for kids and there is a bus delivery service that people can use to get books delivered to their residence.

Downstairs on the 1st floor there is a space for local artists. Currently hanging on the walls are pieces of abstract art from a local girl named Braelyn Byars. She had a series of acrylics on canvas created between the Fall of 2020 and Summer of 2021. She used a variety of techniques: finger paintings, hand paintings, splattering, dripping and tape & peel in addition to paintbrushes and a palette knife.

Across the entire library I noticed many residents using the various resources and taking in the rainy day with a little bit of library time. It was nice to see people collaborating in office spaces, parents enjoying the “Halloween Stroll” with their children, or just sitting down relaxing and diving into a book.

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The Prose of a Traveling Man: Charlotte Mecklenburg – South County Regional Library, NC

The COVID  pandemic has had an impact everywhere and Southern County North Carolina is no different.  The library began renovations at the end of 2019 just before the pandemic hit and was only completed and open to the public this February..  Laura H, manager of the library, said moving back into the building has been a work in progress, but the staff has been tremendous in rallying together for their community. 

The children’s section  of the renovated space offered up an activity called the “Book Walk.”  Children and their parents have an opportunity to choose a book for their book walk, which are replaced each month. Of course this month is Halloween themed. There are suggested tips to help out with early childhood literacy skills such as asking questions, building vocabulary, and making connections to what children are reading with their own world.  This type of activity allows for children to interact with texts on their level while keeping a safe distance from others.  Laura also informed me of a program giving kids the opportunity to write letters and participate in  a reward system where children can earn a book of their own.  

Due to Covid, there are still restrictions on the number of people allowed in the library at any given time. Southern County Regional Library has been offering storytime outside of the library in a cozy corner of the property in a hilly, natural seating.  Laura explained that this is popular with the community and it’s nice to have a natural amphitheater type of space for children to enjoy storytime.  The library also provides storytime at a local park one day per week.  

While making our way through different sections of the library, it was easy to see how welcoming the staff was.  Laura expressed how much the staff  support each other  and work together, relying on each other’s skills and expertise.  We met with Barbara who is an experienced reference librarian. She shared with me a resource that is used in libraries across the county called “Freegal Music.  Eric is a program director in charge of collaborating with community members interested in  creating   new programs.  

As we exited the building  there was  an alluring piece of interactive sculpture made by local artist Jim Gallucci.  The colorful piece is a stainless steel, powder coated sculpture called “Open Book, Open Mind.”  A favorite amongst the kids, this sculpture acts as a tunnel that you can walk through to enter the library.  As you gaze up at the canopy, you’ll notice titles of books written by famous authors such as Ray Bradbury and Ralph Ellison. There are benches inside the tunnel for sitting and contemplating.  At certain points of the day  the sun casts silhouetted shadows of the authors and titles across the sidewalk 

Laura was a great host and it was my pleasure meeting the amazing staff at the Southern Country Regional Library.  It’s heartwarming to see that through tough times, the library and its librarians continue to create a space for imagination, knowledge, and growth.