THE LIBRARY LOOKOUT COLUMN: Meet our Friends

In honor of our annual Friends of the Library Author Dinner being held this month, I thought it only appropriate to take a moment to highlight our fabulous Friends of the Stanly County Public Library.

Sara Hahn

This month, those who attend will enjoy a tasty taco bar sponsored by Second Street Sundries and wine from Uwharrie Vineyards, chat with author Kimmery Martin and receive a signed copy of her book, “Antidote for Everything,” provided by The Country Bookshop in Southern Pines. With our Spring Book sale in April, and our Author Dinner in May, you’ve surely heard some buzz around town about our Friends.

Did you have any idea that in addition to hosting great events and offering frugal deals on books to our community, they also give back to your library?

In the past several years, sales from the spring and fall book sale and other Friends-sponsored events have funded projects big and small in our library system. Each year, the Friends of the Library offer “mini-grants” to our library locations so that ideas can be dreamed, pitched and funded.

Have you noticed the beautiful murals on the walls of the children’s room in Albemarle?
Our Friends funded the cost of the murals, painted by talented local artist Kevin Smith, over three years of consecutive mini-grants. One of the murals showcases our picture book collection with many favorite characters, including The Cat in the Hat, Curious George and Arthur.

The other two murals bring art and education together in our nonfiction collection by labeling the Dewey Decimal location for the subjects on the shelves that are found in the paintings. A dinosaur scene takes us back to prehistoric days with size comparisons between a human (612), elephant (599.6) and many dinosaurs (567.9) while an underwater scene focuses on different types of marine life including a sea turtle (597.92), shark (597.3) and a great blue whale (599.5).

Speaking of adding beauty to our spaces, the Friends funded the cost of adding slat wall endcaps to the children’s room shelving in Albemarle to provide more face-front book display space, an area for advertising programming and to help create a cohesive appearance linking the children’s room to the adult spaces and common areas in the library. Beautification has happened on behalf of our Friends at the branch libraries, too, with the addition of chairs, tables, shelving and new books to add to their collections.

If you’ve ever participated in our Summer Reading program for adults or children, the Friends helped sponsor those events as well. From booking community programming, shows at the Agri-Civic Center for children and offering prize incentives for readers of all ages, individuals in our community have been reached in many ways through music, literacy, contests and more.

This summer, our theme will be “Oceans of Possibilities” and the Friends will be providing “Brag Tags” which children will earn by completing up to 10 hours of reading and can hang them on their bookbags to show their friends. Keep a watchful eye on our summer calendar coming later this month. Special thanks to Carol Sasser, our Friends of the Library president, and all members of her team.

For more information on how to become a Friend of the Stanly County Public Library, contact stanlylibraryfriends@gmail.com.

Currently Reading: “Ugly Love” by Colleen Hoover.

Children’s Book Highlight:  “Where the Sidewalk Ends” by Shel Silverstein.
Sara Hahn is children and youth services librarian at the Stanly County Public Library, 133 E. Main St., Albemarle.