Given Memorial Library and Tufts Archives
By Amy Scanlin
Special to The Pilot
Where can you learn that a silkworm cocoon can yield 1,600 yards of silk filament? One place is Bella Filati in Southern Pines, a one-stop shop for all your knitting needs; and another is the Gathering at the Given lectures at the Given Memorial Library in the village of Pinehurst.
Each month throughout the year, lectures, luncheons, author events and children's reading time are all enjoyed in the name of community, education and literature.
"These lectures are really great," says Fran Soboeiro, who attended the recent Gathering event, a lecture offered by Holly Floyd, owner of Bella Filati. "You can come in and find out what's what, what's going on where. It's such a close feeling, it's very homey here."
"This library is not just a library; it's a gathering place where you see friends, meet new people. It's very -welcoming," adds another patron.
It is a home office for some, a place for home schooling and tutoring. Others come daily to read the paper or check out the crossword puzzle, and moms come each Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. with their little ones for an organized story, snack and craft time.
The Given Memorial Library is more than just a hub of social activity; it is also a place for serious readers.
"It has been said that the average person reads only 10 books a year," says Audrey Moriarty, executive director of the library. "But we have one patron who checked out 509 books last year and has already checked out 186 books this year!"
Finding the right mix of books to suit a wide variety of ages and interests is no easy task, but Moriarty is constantly reading book reviews in The New York Times, Publishers Weekly, indie reviews, etc., to find items that are of interest to the -community. The library also receives reader requests and is part of a leasing program, great for really popular books because it offers the opportunity to temporarily have -multiple copies while a particular book is a "must-read."
While the Given Memorial Library is a public library, it is a 501(c)3 nonprofit and receives no public funds, the only library of its kind in North Carolina, and possibly even South Carolina.
"I have been trying to find another library like us so that we can compare how they do things," says Moriarty.
That means every book on the shelf, every flower and shrub in their beautiful landscaped grounds, every utility bill and public Wi-Fi Internet are all funded through -donations and fundraisers put on by the library and a bevy of volunteers who do everything from providing baked goods at the Gatherings to pulling reserved books for patrons and even opening their homes and boats to special fundraising events such as a Night at the Archives Murder Mystery and a tour of the holiday lights on Lake Pinehurst.
There is also the Given Book Store in Olmsted Village, staffed by volunteers selling donated books in support of the library.
"Our goal is for those who want to support the library to have fun doing it," says Moriarty.
The library also receives a yearly gift from the -village of Pinehurst.
Opened in 1964, the Given Memorial Library was built with a gift from Sara Given Larson.
In 1973, with a gift and endowment from the Tufts -family, the Tufts Archives was constructed. The archives provides a historical perspective on Pinehurst from the days of its inception to today through memorabilia, original photographs, maps and newspapers.
"New-old" memorabilia continues to flow through their doors. Kay Lund, archives assistant at the Tufts Archives, shares that recently, Bob Tufts donated a polo helmet and horn that allowed the Archives to update its Fair Barn -exhibit. Also, the George Dunlap Jr. family donated a monogrammed trunk filled with personal effects from his childhood, tournaments and event cards from clubs he played in the area.
"You just never know where a -hidden treasure may be found!" she says.
The archives receives many research requests, both in person and through its website and volunteer researchers are on the case helping with anything from school projects to finding maps and photographs, to the history of one's home and even, in the case of the restoration of Pinehurst No. 2, furnishing original course documentation and historic images of the design.
Two-time Masters winner Ben Crenshaw, of Coore Crenshaw, and his team members used the Tufts Archives as an early stop in their planning because it is such a -repository of history.
"It's hard to appreciate how much Pinehurst history is preserved here," says Lund.
People come from all over the world to visit Pinehurst, and the Given Memorial Library and Tufts Archives is a museum to the past and a cultural center for today.
Friends of the Library and Archives, the -volunteer arm of the library, are always looking for help in any number of capacities. The next library event is June 9, at 3:30 p.m., when local quilter Phyllis Olson will discuss quilts and the stories they tell.
For more information visit www.given memoriallibrary.org.
Amy Scanlin is a freelance writer who lives in Pinehurst.
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