By Joy Sharp Maxwell

Mountains Branch librarian

I don’t know about all of you, but I for one am very happy to bid a fond adieu to 2017. It was not my favorite year by a long shot. But each New Year is a new beginning, and I am very excited and hopeful about welcoming a new one.

At Mountains Branch Library we hope that your resolutions for 2018 include making more time for the things that are truly important. Among those, time for quiet reflection, time to nourish your curiosity and your soul, time to gather with friends, time to enjoy your community and especially this divine place we call home. We would love to help you keep those promises and be a part of your self-care rituals.

Empowering our community to Read, Connect, Explore, and Share is the Rutherford County Mission Statement. In 2018, we hope you will use these four goals to take advantage of all that our libraries have to offer.

Promoting literacy for adults, children and families will always be our number one mandate. You can Read all your favorite new books and best sellers, but we will also focus on expanding our non-fiction offerings to help you Explore the ever-changing world we live in. We have just added four new and updated computers to help you Connect. And we will be offering several new programs each month to help Share information, enlightenment and entertainment.

We would love to see every child in our community enrolled in the 1000 Books Before Kindergarten program. Olivia, 3 and Jackson, 2 are working their way up Chimney Rock mountain and are already on their way to 400 books in their quest to read 1000 books before Kindergarten!

Olivia and Jackson are cousins, and have been visiting the library since they were just little tykes. Their grandmother, Betty Parker brings them both to Preschool Storytime, Summer Reading programs, and most other children’s programs at the library. Olivia is a big girl in preschool now, but Jackson still comes to storytime with Miss Tamara each week. His favorite books are tractor stories!

Mark your calendar for Saturday, January 20th, 1:00 p.m., when History Alive! The Story of Sacajawea, visits Mountains Branch Library. Presenter Mary Dailey portrays the remarkable story of Sacajawea, the young Shoshone woman who accompanied Lewis and Clark on their journey west in 1805 and was an integral part of their exploration.

Sacajawea’s story has inspired countless myths and legends. Immersing herself in the character through authentic costume, Dailey will share many unknown details of Sacajawea’s journey.

This program is made possible by the West Virginia Humanities Councils and West Virginia State Parks. Many thanks to the Mountains Branch Friends of the Library for funding this important historic reenactment.

Also in January we continue our Coffee & Conversation series with certified family therapist and Breeze columnist, Mary Reitano. On Wednesday, January 24th, Mary will facilitate an interactive seminar on Thriving in Big Life Transitions. Moving, retirement, second careers, divorce and remarriage are challenges most of us will face in our lives. Mary will offer tips to maintain physical and emotional health while moving forward in life.

The program takes place from 3:00 – 4:30. Refreshments provided.

We will also be offering programs and cooking demonstrations in January as part of the libraries’ Healthy Eating in the New Year series. Maria Davis from the main library in Spindale will offer tips and demonstrate recipes such as healthy pasta salad and black bean burgers. Samples, too! Check out our library website at www.rutherfordcountylibrary.org or find us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/RutherfordCountyLibrary/ for updates on this program coming soon!

With the coming of a new year comes a new Board of Officers for the Mountains Branch Friends of the Library. The Friends held their annual Membership Meeting in November and elected Patti Stewart, President, Patti Johnson, Vice-President and Secretary, Cathe Frierman, Treasurer. Other new board members for 2018 are Joanne Ellingson, Clark Ward, Debby Haugh, Liz Turner, Susan Townsend and Maria Gregorio. We welcome our new board and bid a bittersweet farewell to outgoing President, Patty Chapman, who helped us achieve so much in 2017.

The Friends also drew the name of the lucky Quilt Raffle winner during their annual membership meeting in November. Mountains Branch patron, Paige Massey, broke a lot of hearts when her name was drawn! Paige was thrilled with her lucky win, and the Friends were thrilled to make more than $800 on the raffle! Thanks once again to our patron, Martha Ledford, who generously donated her beautiful homemade quilt to benefit the library.

We wish each of you a New Year filled with peace, joy and BOOKS!