“There is not such a cradle of democracy on earth as the Free Public Library, this republic of letters, where neither rank, office, nor wealth receives the slightest consideration.”

Andrew Carnegie

By Joy Maxwell, Mountains Branch Librarian

Happy New Year from your Mountains Branch Library! As we celebrate a new year, we are anticipating several new adventures at the library.

To kick off 2016, the library will host a free Financial Literacy Seminar on Monday, January 11th at 1:00 p.m. Many of us will make New Year’s resolutions to get our physical health back on track in 2016. It’s also a great time to take stock of your financial health. Nathan Garnett from Edward Hones Investing will discuss getting “Fiscally Fit” during this one-hour seminar in the Community Meeting Room. A light lunch will be provided. Register by calling 287-6392 or sign up at the library.

Story time last Thanksgiving at Mountains Branch Library

Story time last Thanksgiving at Mountains Branch Library

Beginning January 6th, a new club called “Creatives” will begin meeting at the library each Wednesday afternoon from 1-4. “Creatives” is open to any adult or teen to work on their individual craft or artwork. Come for the entire three hours or just drop in for any part of that. Workshops and tutorials will also be offered.

Mountains Branch was recently awarded two grants from the Hickory Nut Gorge Foundation. One of the grants will allow us to install a Hands-On Play Station in the Children’s Area. The play station will give children space to work with puzzles, puppets, Legos, and other “pretend” concepts. Because let’s face it, pretending is what childhood is all about.

Play is one of the most important ways children can learn language and literary skills, and most pediatricians emphasize free play as a crucial element of healthy development. The primary goals will be creativity, imagination and fun!

The second grant will be used to create “Explore Outdoors Nature Packs”. These backpacks will be available for check out and will reinforce several healthy goals: family fun time, literacy, physical activity and health, and connecting kids and adults to nature.

Library patrons can check out one of our backpacks, and use what’s inside to explore some of the amazing scenic attractions, trails and natural habitat we are fortunate enough to be surrounded by. These backpacks would include local hiking maps and nature guides of regional animals, birds, insects and plants. Each pack would also include a journal in which families could record their discoveries and observations from their hikes and time outdoors. These journals would pass on to the next family who checks out the backpack. For kids, the kits would include a bug net, binoculars and one non-fiction book to share.

We are also excited to begin the 1000 Books Before Kindergarten initiative this year at each of our Rutherford County Libraries. The objectives of this program are simple: 1) to promote reading to newborns, infants and toddlers and 2) to encourage parent and child bonding through reading.

The concept is simple but the rewards are priceless. Reading with children creates a great opportunity for bonding and reinforces positive associations between books, children and caregivers.

We are excited to welcome Patty Chapman as the new Friends of the Mountains Branch Library President. Patty succeeds outgoing president, Nell Madsen, who gave so much of her time, energy and love to our library. Nell continues to support us by volunteering each week at the circulation desk.