By Joy Maxwell

Mountains Branch Library Manager

When I was growing up we took a “real” vacation every four years. My dad used his 30-days of leave and off we went to visit family in New Bern, with a few days spent at Atlantic Beach or Emerald Isle.

Other summers, vacations consisted of three things: Vacation Bible School, swimming lessons at the public pool and Summer Reading at the library. I was as happy as an adolescent girl with a Nancy Drew mystery, spending afternoons in the cool quiet library, browsing the shelves, walking home with a bag full of new books, and finally barricading myself in my room to dive into my latest finds.

Libraries are traditionally busy places in the summer months when school is out. In our community, not only are local children coming in for Summer Reading Lists and Summer Reading Programs, but visiting grandchildren and vacationers also increase our attendance.

Rutherford County Youth Services Librarian, Jeannie Smith, brought six excellent Summer Reading programs to Mountains Branch Library this summer. Summer Reading Programs and library visits play a critical role in helping kids maintain and build literacy skills during the summer. Research has shown time and again that children who participate in Summer Reading Programs score higher on reading achievement tests at the beginning of the next school year.34_Budding Cartoonist

Summertime can be a time to let kids explore new books, authors and topics on their own, making summer reading “fun reading”. The Summer Reading theme this year is, “Every Hero has a Story.” We have lots and lots of books about all kinds of heroes. And books can help kids discover the hero in each of them.

Grown-ups can enjoy our Summer Film and Discussion Series. We are screening documentary films from PBS’ award-winning nonfiction film series, POV. These films are often touching, sometimes amusing and always thought-provoking. On Thursday, August 13th we will share a cattle drive with some of the last real cowboys in American in “Sweetgrass”. Showtime is 6:00 p.m. in the Community Meeting Room. We serve REAL popcorn and engage in some lively discussion afterwards.

Finally, thanks to generous gifts from the Lake Lure Community Education Foundation and the Mountains Branch Friends of the Library, we are pleased to offer a series of programs designed to promote local artists and performers. The Family Arts & Literacy Summertime Celebration Series aims to enrich our community by nurturing the life-long adventure of learning.

Thursday, August 6 – Brightstar Children’s Theatre will bring two productions to the library: Captain Friendship and the Bully Bandit at 2:00 p.m., and American Tales & Tunes at 5:00 p.m. These are both wonderful family programs with lots of set design and costume changes. In addition to delivering great stories, they are an opportunity for kids to learn about live theater.

Friday, August 14th @ 5:00 p.m., a reading and presentation by North Carolina author, Libby Bagby. Bagby is the author of several books at all age-levels on North Carolina’s Official State Dog, the Plott Hound, the only breed of dog to have originated in North Carolina.

Finally, look for our grand finale in early September, as Children’s Author, Kelly Light, author of Louise Loves Art, visits the library for an author event and illustration demonstration.

You won’t want to miss any of these wonderful programs.

Check our website at www.rutherfordcountylibrary.org and our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/RutherfordCountyLibrary?ref=aymt_homepage_panel for the latest program announcements.