Library so much more than books

"Public libraries realize that we need to change in order to thrive," Griffin explained.

Mary Griffin, librarian for the Graham County Public Library, was the featured speaker at the most recent Graham Revitalization Economic Action Team (GREAT) meeting at the Hub Restaurant.
Griffin’s theme: she wants people to view the library as a “hub” of the community.
“Public libraries realize that we need to change in order to thrive,” Griffin explained. “Even though holding a good book in your hands is one of the best things in the world, libraries are not just for checking out books anymore. With changing technology, we can download books onto Kindles and tablets; we can conduct research and print information from home. Our mission is to find ways to bring the public back into our libraries.”
Reading – and education – are topics dear to Griffin, who has a specialist degree in education, has been teaching for 22 years, and loves working with children. Her grandmother taught sixth grade in Graham County for many years, and her grandfather was superintendent of Graham County Schools.
That’s why the library is partnering with GREAT as a sign-up location for the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, which has introduced 781 Graham County children to reading books. Currently, 197 children are registered and receiving free books in the mail.
Griffin encourages everyone to “please stop by and register a child whose age is from birth to 5 years old in this program. The only requirement is that you be a resident of Graham County.”
The library also promotes literacy by selling books for low prices at the Good Knight Book Store inside the library’s Community Room.
Speaking of the Community Room, it is free to use for groups of up to 60 people. The room needs to be reserved and there are regulations that need to be followed. Events are also held in the main part of the library.
Also, “Classes are available for the public that cover a variety of topics; wild mushroom identification, pine needle basket making, essential oil classes, learning magic, yoga, hula lessons and nature and ecology classes are a sample.”
And Griffin wants to help local authors sell their books at festivals. The library gives the money to the authors. “Currently we are putting up a display of local authors in the glass cases located at the entrance of the library that promotes our local authors. We have the books for sale at the front desk.”
The library is working on writing grants that will enhance their services. The library had a section on Graham County history, but the newspapers and documents grew fragile and the section was closed. “We are applying for a grant that will allow us to digitize old pictures and documents, and are working with the Graham County Historical Society to keep our history alive,” Griffin said.
And Griffin hasn’t forgotten the youngsters. “We just submitted a grant to purchase AWELearning computers for the children’s section. These computers will be for ages 2 to 6, and we are working on a second grant for the 6 to 12-year-olds. Since we lost our after-school program recently, the library would like to offer resources to help parents. For those that homeschool, we have an extensive selection of books that go with the NC curriculum that can enrich your children’s studies”
Griffin’s overriding theme: her library is your library.
“We need the community’s help,” Griffin said. “Please consider joining the Friends of the Library. Volunteer to teach a class; sewing, crocheting, knitting, chess. It would be wonderful if we could start a tutoring group in the Community Room! We need people to dust and arrange the books. Donations of your books, magazines, DVDs and audios would be greatly appreciated.”
Griffin suggests that everyone stop by the library and see the changes that have taken place.
If you don’t have the time to drop by, call and ask questions at (828) 479-8796.
If you have access to Facebook at home, check the Graham County Public Library Facebook page. If you don’t have a computer, the library does.


The Graham Star

Mailing address: P.O. Box 69, Robbinsville, NC 28771

Street address: 720 Tallulah Rd., Robbinsville, NC 28771

Phone number: 828-479-3383

Fax number: 828-479-1044