ALBEMARLE — The Stanly County Board of Commissioners recently received a slideshow presentation from Stanly County Public Library director Sara Hahn, where new changes to the county’s library system and upcoming plans were revealed to the general public.
Hahn, who took on a directorial role nine months ago, used the July 10 meeting to showcase the SCPL’s new logo, branding updates, and new patron brochures with updated graphics for its locations in Albemarle (main branch), Badin, Locust, Norwood and Oakboro.
“I have been with our county for quite some time, and I’ve seen a lot of changes that I would have loved to have had the opportunity to make,” Hahn told the board. “I was so excited to have gotten the opportunity now, and I appreciate all of your support in making those dreams that we’ve had as a staff — and as we’ve heard feedback from our community — become a reality.”
The library’s new mission statement is “to deliver a high rate of return on public and private investment by providing a wide array of knowledge resources, promoting the joy of reading, encouraging life-long learning, serving as a center for community interaction, thereby measurably contributing to the economy of Stanly County and the lives of its people.”
While the SCPL has always held an emphasis on programming opportunities, it has continued to ramp up the magnitude of its monthly events.
Children and young adult programs include Story Time on Wednesdays at 10 a.m., Baby Bookworms on Thursdays at 10 a.m., Art & Animation Club on one Saturday a month, a Summer Reading Program between June 1 and July 31, and YA Book Talk on the first Monday of each month at 6 p.m.
Additionally, there has been continued outreach in the school system and daycare groups, increasing with more staffing as well as additional grant funding for the Rinse & Read: Laundromat Literacy program.
One of the Kids’ Summer Reading Programs was Big Truck Day at the History Center in Albemarle on June 24, where families were able to learn about and explore 17 vehicles. Attendance-wide, 850 visitors came to downtown, which is a sizable increase from 650 visitors last year.
The event subsequently has increased participation in History Center programming, which is now averaging around 50 participants weekly.
Recently, the summer reading program partnered with Cooperative Extension to hatch quail and butterflies and discuss life cycles with kids.
The SCPL also hosts Read To Me Too Story Time on Mondays at 10 a.m., where presenters read through picture books to adults with developmental disabilities. Another program is the Talking Titles monthly book club on the last Tuesday of the month at 12 p.m., allowing anyone to discuss any book they are currently reading.
There is a Sensory Lab collaboration available through grant funding and Pfeiffer student staffing to serve neurodiverse individuals and groups in the county.
The library has made a series of physical changes to its locations, primarily at its Albemarle branch. Two spaces downstairs outside of its meeting room (that were previously coat closets) have been transformed into private study rooms called Think Tanks that are designed for quiet work or study.
These are small, private spaces available on a first-come basis with wireless internet and basic office supplies included. The spaces also include acoustic panels for helping to absorb neighboring sounds, new LED lights, and remote-controlled fans to provide air circulation at a minimal cost.
Since opening the spaces in May, the SCPL is averaging 20 to 30 users weekly, with the majority of them being for studying, tutors, meetings and interviews.
“We’ve got tutors coming in constantly,” Hahn said. “They’re asking about reserving the spaces, and we’ve said that we hope for now we don’t have to do that. We want them to be popular enough that they are used but not so popular that we need another Google Calendar. So far, that has worked well.”
Starting on July 26, the NC Cardinal program will allow an SCPL library card that can be used in 63 counties throughout the state, totaling 223 branches and 51 library systems with 7.9 million items in the combined catalog.
In the final part of Hahn’s presentation, she presented some brief future goals to overhaul the main library’s meeting room with new doors, AV, flooring, tables and chairs, and to update its vehicle and add exterior cameras for heightened security purposes.
Some future requests are to install a new elevator, integrate new flooring throughout the downstairs, and design an art gallery wall with art from local schools and library programs.
The Stanly County Board of Commissioners is set to hold its next regular meeting on Aug. 7 at Stanly County Commons in Albemarle.