Jacoby Ray (2 years old) and his mother, Brittni, come to the library because Jacoby "loves reading books. The pictures are what grab his attention, but he likes the stories too." Photo by BEN KATZ

PEAKS & VALLEYS: Libraries offer something for everyone

   This article appears in Peaks & Valleys magazine, which is available inside this week's edition of the Cherokee Scout

   The Nantahala Regional Library system remains popular as more people use computers and smart devices. Both Cherokee County branches received new computers in the last year – the Andrews Public Library got 20, while the Murphy Public Library got 19 – installed with the latest software. Branches also are a source for free Wi-Fi access.
   By summer, Director Daphne Simmons hopes to have e-books available for patrons to check out on their devices. A goal for the future is to have iPads or other tablets available to check out.
   The system serves Cherokee, Clay and Graham counties, and patrons may check out materials from any branch. The headquarters for the library system is housed on the second floor of the Murphy Public Library downtown.
   The library system had a total circulation of 132,135 in the last fiscal year (from July 1, 2015, through June 30, 2016). It is the oldest regional library system in the state.
   For those who cannot travel to one of the branches, the library provides a bookmobile that visits day-care centers, nursing homes and private residences. For service, call the Nantahala Regional Library at 837-2025.

Andrews Public Library
   The Andrews Public Library is open from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays, 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Fridays and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays. The library is closed on Sundays.
   The branch attracts people for tai chi classes at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday and Thursdays, yoga classes at 9:30 a.m. Saturdays, a book club at 12:30 p.m. on the third Tuesday of every month and computer classes throughout the year. Teenage events include Locked in the Library and Game Nights.
   In the last fiscal year, the Andrews branch had 61,975 visitors with a circulation of 38,338. Although it is downtown, the branch also serves people who live in neighboring Graham and Macon counties.

Murphy Public Library
   The Murphy Public Library is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Wednesday and Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. The library is closed on Sundays.
   Librarians spend their day not only checking out books, but helping patrons with the computers and recommending books. A couple of years ago, about 30 language learning CD sets were purchased with funds raised by Friends of the Library, which have been popular with patrons, public relations volunteer Julie Chautin said.
   The branch also is popular as a meeting space for organizations, like the Chess Club and Master Gardeners. In the last fiscal year, the Murphy branch had 126,057 visitors with a circulation of 54,562 items.

Youth Services
   Simmons said she is proud of the programs the library has just for kids. Youth Services Librarian Bridget Wilson runs storytimes, summer reading and other events at all the libraries in the system.
   Regular pre-school story time throughout the school year is at 10:30 a.m. Mondays at Murphy and Wednesdays at Andrews. Storytime follows the school calendar and is canceled when schools close for inclement weather.
   This summer’s reading theme is “Build a Better World.” Summer storytimes begin the week of June 12.
   Over the summer, Murphy has preschool story time at 10:30 a.m. and a school-age (up to age 12) storytime event at 11 a.m. Mondays. On Wednesdays, Andrews has school-age events at 11 a.m. and preschool story time at 10:30 a.m.
   Both libraries will have special events for kids throughout the summer. Professor Whizzpop will visit both libraries Friday, June 16, with a show at noon in Murphy and at 2:30 p.m. in Andrews. Children ages 5 and older will get to tie-dye at Andrews at 10 a.m. Friday, July 21, while children will get to paint rocks in Murphy at 10 a.m. Friday, July 28.
   Both libraries also have Lego Club meetings throughout the year. The next Lego Club at Andrews is at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 9, while Murphy’s next meeting is at 4 p.m. Friday, Aug. 18. Most special events for kids are listed on the Nantahala Regional Library’s Facebook page.