Story and photos by Jessica Isaacs | email@example.com
If your New Year’s resolutions include turning off the T.V. and reading more books, then head on over to the Watauga Library and get started.
Get a library card for everyone in your family, join in on the 2016 reading challenge and dive right in to a community of book-lovers.
“A new year is an opportunity for all of us to evaluate our lives and regroup,” said County Librarian Monica Caruso. “Getting a library card is a first step to changing your life for the better, as you will have access to a literary fountain of information that is always overflowing.
Watauga Library: New Year, New Books, New You
“A library card gives you access not only to our physical collection at our two locations, but also to the North Carolina Cardinal Consortium Library, which allows lending to and from 35 counties with member libraries,” Caruso said. “This means that our community has access to more than five million items.”
A library card in Watauga also gives you access to an interlibrary loan service for a small fee, nearly 2,700 e-books and e-audiobooks for checkout, and the online state library N.C. Live, which connects you with high-quality newspapers, journals, magazines and streaming video titles.
Free for local residents and those of neighboring counties with proof of residence, a library card at Watauga is a valuable resource for people of all ages and from all walks of life.
“Children love the experience of getting their very own cards,” said Caruso. “Board books, picture books, easy readers, chapter books, graphic novels, DVDs, music CDs and more are among the variety of items for children and young adults.”
The library also features a wide array of special programming and events for the whole family, including daily 11 a.m. story times for kids, book clubs, film screenings and more.
“We have four adult book clubs and two for teens and tweens, as well as regular movie showings, so check out our line-ups and mark your calendars now for upcoming meetings. Bring a friend or make a new one,” said Caruso. “Individual computer/Kindle classes are available by appointment with our reference department. Community groups can ask us about booking meetings, additionally. Whatever your learning goals may be, the library staff is here to help you reach them.”
With your new library card in-hand, you’ll be all set to join in on the 2016 reading challenge — a fun way to read more, get involved in the library, join a community of local readers and share your opinions with your friends and neighbors.
“We have a lib guide online, which is essentially a website, that consists of 52 different challenge categories — one for each week of this year,” said Darren Smith, a reference librarian for the adult services department. “Participants will choose a book that fits into a category, read the book, write a review and post it in the comments section for that particular category on the lib guide.”
Library employees will keep track of a master reading challenge checklist and will issue one ticket to participating readers for each category they complete. At the end of the year, each ticket counts as an entry into a drawing for prizes donated by local businesses.
Prizes will be made available the Friends of the Library organization and by establishments like Art Mart, Macado’s, Mast General Store, Stick Boy, Watsonatta and more.
The more challenges you complete, the more tickets you earn, Smith said, and the more tickets you earn, the better your odds of winning a prize at the end of the year. Although the concept is designed for adult readers, kids and teens who are up for a challenge are welcome and encouraged to join in, too.
While the prizes on the line are certainly cool, Smith said that access to reader-written reviews and the creation of an online community for avid book-lovers will be the true reward.
“We want to create a virtual space where people in the community can connect with each other and share recommendations for different books and different genres they enjoy,” Smith said. “We offer prizes, but that’s the smaller aspect of it in my mind.
“Really, the biggest part of it is getting people excited to read. That and being able to share what you like and what you don’t like. Sometimes people read things that they don’t like, and they are then able to share that, and I think that’s good. As long as people are reading — that’s the most important thing.”
To get started on this year’s reading challenge, simply access the lib guide through the library’s website, download the printable checklist, read through the categories, pick up a book and get going!
There’s no better way to cope with cold winter weather than by curling up with a good book, and that makes January an even better time to enjoy the library.
“With winter upon us and during this time for resolutions, the library serves as a warm, comfortable venue for all of your literary needs,” Caruso said. “People are learning at all ages, from birth to 100, and the library is here to serve as your go-to place on your path to learning.”
More About the Watauga Library
The Watauga Library is part of the Appalachian Regional Library system, which includes facilities in Ashe and Wilkes counties.
For more information, call one of the following branches or check out wataugacountylibrary.com.
Locations and Hours
The Watauga Library is located at 140 Queen St. in downtown Boone and operates during the following hours:
- Mon-Thurs: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- Fri-Sat: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- For more information on the Boone branch, call 828-264-8784.
The Western Watauga branch of the library is located at 1085 Old U.S. Highway 421 in Sugar Grove and operates during the following hours:
- Mon/Wed: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Tues/Thurs: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
For more information on the Western Watauga branch, call 828-297-5515.