By Joy Sharp Maxwell

Mountains Branch Librarian

Have you visited the library lately? You might not recognize it! One of the many wonderful things about our special Lake Lure/Chimney Rock community are the talented artisans who live and work here. Mountains Branch has been the beneficiary of this talent in many ways of late.

A bold and colorful welcome awaits you when you visit the library. Look up to appreciate the fine detail of our new cedar sign hanging over the entrance created by Keith Wood of Wood Works in Lake Lure. Keith collaborated with Kelly Horton of Tri-City Laser in Spindale to create this stunning, two-sided design, which will welcome our guests for many years.

Look to either side to enjoy to intricate work of Michelle Nordberg’s two vibrant barn quilt designs. Michelle created these for the library, and we could not be more proud. Special thanks to Alan and Valerie Griswold for donating one of the barn quilts, and to an anonymous donor for the new sign and second barn quilt.

By now, we’ve drawn the winning ticket for our raffle of local artist, Diane Breaker’s sculpture, “The Soul of Lake Lure”. We have enjoyed displaying several of Diane’s pieces throughout the library this summer. Diane was also gracious enough to join us for a library tour with Lake Lure Classical Academy day campers. Diane treated the kids to a demonstration with the materials and tools of her craft, allowing them to feel the clay for themselves. Her audience was curious and attentive, and we hope were inspired to explore their own creativity!

One of the reasons we love summer in Lake Lure is we get to see lots more kids visiting the library – both locals and visitors. We help kids stay entertained, curious and READING during those months between school years. We’ve enjoyed some great programs this year with our “Libraries Rock” Summer Reading Program. Join us for the big finale on Tuesday, August 7 at 3:30 for B-Rad Magic!

In July, we were super excited to launch our ecoEXPLORE partnership with the North Carolina Arboretum. EcoEXPLORE (Experiences Promoting Outdoors for Research and Education) is an incentive-based program for kids K-8. Kids can earn badges and great prizes for learning about Botany, Herpetology, Etymology and Ornithology. The library will offer programs at least four times a year for each of the categories, beginning in September when Arboretum staff visit us with a great hands-on Ornithology program. (That’s birds for you laymen!).

Mountains Branch Library and The Little Garden that Grew, as well as Chimney Rock State Park, are designated Hot Spots for participating in ecoEXPLORE. But all you really have to do is step outside your own front door to find wildlife including plants, reptiles, amphibians, insects and birds. Snap a picture using your own device, and then share it on your ecoEXPLORE profile. Arboretum staff review submissions and share them with real scientists!

If your child is not participating in this amazing educational opportunity, they are missing out! Go online and sign up at

Adults can enjoy Coffee & Conversation with counselor and Mountain Breeze contributor, Mary Reitano on Wednesday, August 22 at 3:00 pm. We expect a great turnout for this one – “”Why Do We Love Our Pets So Much?” – an interactive seminar about the joys of pet ownership. We know how much our friends and neighbors love their pets, so feel free to bring/share photos of your favorite furry friend.


The Friends of the Mountains Branch Library have two Books & Bites author events in August at the historic Lake Lure Inn and Spa. Don’t miss your chance to hear author Christopher Swann discuss his intriguing thriller, “Shadow of Lions” on Wednesday, August 1 at 11:00 am. This debut novel is getting rave reviews!

On Thursday, August 30th, a very special evening edition of Books & Bites will feature Lake Lure’s own, Todd Morse, sharing the stories and inspiration behind his new book, “For the Love of Chimney Rock: Four Generations of Morse Family Stewardship”.

For 105 years, four generation of the Morse family operated, promoted and served as stewards for the scenic attraction, Chimney Rock. The book provides an in-depth history of the family’s relationship with the mountain until its sale to the state of North Carolina in 2007.

The event will begin at 5:00 pm with a book signing, with copies of the book available for purchase. The evening also includes a cash bar and hors d’oeuvres. Tickets for this limited seating event are $30 and must be purchased in advance at either Mountains Branch Library or the Lake Lure Inn.