“There’s more to the story”

Sitting squarely on the corner of Majors and Mechanic near Lynchburg’s one spotlight, the Moore County Public Library is a local institution that has spread a love of learning and literacy for generations.  April 23-29 is recognized as National Library Week to honor the importance of public libraries as a cornerstone of reading and education in America for centuries. During the pre-revolutionary war era in America, the demand for non-religious books was on the rise due to their popularity in other countries such as France, Italy and England. Subscription libraries gained interest among the wealthy and operated on membership fees. One of the first subscription libraries was founded in 1731 by Benjamin Franklin in Philadelphia. By the 1790s, however, Franklin aided in the development of the first lending library which would open the opportunity for those of a lesser socioeconomic status to have access to literature. A town, which would later bear its namesake after Benjamin Franklin himself, asked him to donate a bell to the town. Franklin is noted as responding that "sense" was more beneficial to people than "sound". Residences of the town voted that donated books housed in the new library be accessible to residents free of charge. This new idea birthed America's first public library.

 Moore County Public Library

Over the years, Moore County has been blessed with enthusiastic Library Directors like Betty Robertson, Sara Hope, and Peggy Gold.  The current MCPL Director Cheryl Eason carries on the legacy of these local helpers and has a passion for reading which started at a young age. Inside the library, the building is separated into two main areas: the children's section and the adult section. Cheryl spoke on the importance the MCPL places on the children's area. A wide variety of children's books are featured ranging from beginner to advanced readers and loveable classics to new releases. Multiple computers with the learning aids such as ABC Mouse are available for children along with weekly coloring sheets or interactive scavenger hunts. A most surprising feature in the children's department is the imaginative play section. That's right, play! Full sets of Melissa and Doug brand toys, board games, dolls, farm toys, magnatiles and much more are free and available for the kids to play with inside the library. Many residents use this feature as a playdate or afternoon entertainment for their children. Pre-k through 2nd grade tends to be a target age group of the children that frequent the library. By allowing the kids to engage in imaginative play with the library toy selection, children are exposed and usually engaged by sections of books as well. Bookbag kits with stories and accompanying stuffed animals are also available for children to check out and take home. Take and Make craft kits are also created to draw kids into the library.

   The summer reading program holds a special place in many locals’ hearts over the years is still going strong. A large portion of the library budget goes into funding this library program that promotes assisted and independent reading among children. This year will be Cheryl's 9th year of creating an incredible summer reading program for Moore County. She and the library assistants all put so much effort and creativity into inspiring the kids to love books and reading. "We want the community to love the library as much as we do," Cheryl added.

   Each month new programs for specific ages are open including the Little Bookworms Preschool Storytime which is for children who are not yet enrolled in school. Programs and crafts open to other age groups pop-up as well.  "Everything revolves around the kids," Cheryl added in response to the importance of instilling the love of reading at a young age.

   The adult section of the library is full of interesting reads as well as other non-text related items you may utilize such as DVDs, free internet, printing and copying access. Two adult book clubs are hosted in Moore County- The Brown Bag Book Club and Page Turners. In today's digital world, you can even access the library and many of its materials through apps and online platforms. Libby and Hoopla are both wonderful resources through the library which can be utilized for free and from the comfort of your own home with your library card.

   Two new programs will be introduced to the library this fall including a STEM kit bag which will be available for Pre-K through 9 years old and the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program. As described by Cheryl of the Moore County Public Library, "Every week is Library Week at the MCPL." You can stay up to date on the Moore County Public Library through their Facebook page: Moore County Library Lynchburg.

     Lynchburg Elementary School

Stacy Kennamer has been a classroom teacher for 13 years but is in her first year as school Librarian at Lynchburg Elementary. "The library helps reinforce all the skills that are taught by the classroom teachers," Mrs. Kennamer said. Students can come to the library and are aided in selecting a book that appeals to their interest and that is on their individual reading level. Mrs. Kennamer spoke of her goal for the library at an elementary level as being an outlet for students to research and hopefully find a love of reading. "As an upper-grade teacher for many years, I saw very few students who read for pleasure. This was a major reason why I wanted to become a librarian; to help more students discover or rediscover their love of reading instead of seeing it as a chore or assignment," Mrs. Kennamer insightfully noted. The LES Library hosts events for the students, community and parents throughout the year including Family Night during the fall book fair and Family Literacy Night in March. "If a child reads for 20 minutes every day, they are exposed to about 1.8 million words of text every year," Mrs. Kennamer added in response to her opinion of promoting reading at a young age.

      Moore County High School

The Moore County High School librarian is Lisa Moorehead. Mrs. Moorehead has been the school librarian for 9 years. The middle school and high school library differs from that at the elementary level. Students are able to visit the open library throughout the day to work on projects, debates and presentations. In the past, students used the library for research but now most materials are digital. Students still frequent the library to use google or the Tennessee Electronic Library when researching cite material. "Today's high school library is primarily used as a gathering place where students feel welcome and are comfortable," Mrs. Moorehead informed. Aid and information can be sought out in the library and if students need help with ACT prep, resumes, college applications and scholarships, Mrs. Moorehead is the go-to. "Our main goal is to make the library a place that they know provides answers and help. Our goal is also to help students find books that they will enjoy so that they will continue to be lifelong readers," Mrs. Moorehead explained. "I firmly believe the library is one of the greatest ideas that man has ever had. It is a place to borrow books that inspire thoughts and create dreams. It is a place to find answers, to receive help and just to relax with a good book," Mrs. Moorehead so eloquently put.

National Library Week is April 23rd -29th with the theme, "There's More to the Story."

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