By Joy Maxwell

Mountains Branch Librarian

When you are growing up there are two institutional places that affect you most powerfully: the church, which belongs to God, and the public library, which belongs to you.” 
 Keith Richards

I love this quote by the Rolling Stone’s Keith Richards. In my years as a Children’s Librarian, I gave many library tours to school children. It was one of my favorite parts of the job. I always started the tour by asking the kids, “Does anyone know who owns the library?” I got lots of funny answers and lots of puzzled looks as the kids rolled this idea of library ownership around in their heads. But there was always that one bright-eyed little girl or boy who raised their hand and shouted, “We do!”29_DSC00910

I’m going to bet this child was a viewer of Sesame Street and Mister Rogers (PBS – another fine public institution) and heard something about the word “public” there. When I explained that the library was built and paid for by everyone in the community – their moms, dads, grandmas and grandpas, teachers and policemen – their faces lit up like Christmas trees. The notion that all this – all these great books and movies and puzzles and story times and fun programs – belonged to them was incredible.

Libraries are created and built to serve their communities. As trusted institutions, they serve their communities by helping people access information in new ways and providing a space for life-long learning. The Rutherford County Library System is currently working on a 5-year Strategic Plan to help us define what that means in each of our diverse communities. We have three goals in this process: 1) to insure that our libraries are sources of information about organizations within Rutherford County, 2) to partner with other county agencies to improve quality of life in our communities , and 3) to be a hub of community activity. In the coming year, you will see the library creating new initiatives and programs to reach those goals.

In the past couple of months Mountains Branch library has focused on fostering creativity and curiosity in our role as community hub with our Creatives group for adults and our Kids’ Crafternoons for children.

“Creatives” is open to any adult or teen each Wednesday from 1-4 to work on their individual craft, hobby or artwork. Kids’ Crafternoons take place each month – usually on the third Wednesday at 4:00 p.m. In March we will create a St. Patty’s craft, in April we will do a little springtime planting, in May we’ll create something wonderful for Mothers’ Day. Anyone in the community who would like to volunteer to teach a child an art or craft project is highly encouraged to do so!

Speaking of volunteers, our library lost a very special friend indeed with the recent passing of Paul Everhart. Paul truly loved his community and his library and was a very dedicated volunteer for more than ten years. His library background paired with his humor and positive energy made him a wonderful asset to our patrons and community. We will miss him.

While the weather outside is frightful, please come visit us at the library. We have a great selection of new DVD releases and lots of new best sellers. And our Easy and Juvenile collections just keep growing and growing. So come in out of the cold and take advantage of YOUR public library.