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Originally published: 2014-02-24 15:34:58
Last modified: 2014-02-24 15:34:58

Our View: Watauga's library system not just one for the books

County librarian Monica Caruso shared a Watauga County Public Library annual report with county commissioners on Tuesday. It's a report worth reading.

It's worth reading because any organization that can claim 43 percent of the entire county population among its card-holding members is one that exerts a tremendous community influence. And with our public library, that influence extends into the facets of county life that matter greatly to each of us day to day -- lifelong learning, a sense of community and the economic well-being of all residents.

Significantly, learning, community and economic health are the three pillars upon which the library system is built -- built through more than a 1,000 programs serving almost 12,000 people at the main library and the Western Watauga Branch, built through outreach to the homebound, day care centers and nursing homes, built through a circulation of materials nearing 292,000 items annually and built through a network of hundreds of volunteers who work to fund programs and collections and make it possible for the 170,000 annual visits the library hosts.

A community is rated by the strength of its library system, and it is said that bad libraries build collections, while good libraries build services.

Our library system is part of the Appalachian Regional System and within that system, Watauga County is a vibrant chapter.