Sandhill Regional Library System Celebrates 50 Years
The Sandhill Regional Library System is celebrating "50 Mardi Great Years" with a reception Saturday, March 3, in the Katharine Boyd Library at Sandhills Community College.
In conjunction with the event, Virginia Russell Gee, from Rockingham, will be honored for her 37-year career with the library system.
The event, which is open to the public, is from 10 a.m. to noon.
There will be exhibits, entertainment and refreshments. Jackie Morris, of Montgomery County, will emcee the event. Music is provided by Frederick Taylor on the keyboard, and a group of attorneys called the Barristers.
For 50 years, Sandhill Regional Library System has been funding, training, mentoring and growing libraries in the Sandhills. Officially, SRLS began in 1962 when Moore, Richmond and Montgomery joined ranks for purchasing power and professional oversight for their counties. Anson joined in 1968, and Hoke came on board in 1975. The region is a public authority with three policy-making trustees from each of the five counties.
SRLS funds the local professional director salary and benefits, more than 60 percent of the book budget, 95 percent of the periodical budget, 100 percent of both computers and computer connectivity, telephones and 15 to 25 training sessions annually to empower staff to serve the five counties and 15 towns.
"SRLS just funded wi-fi for all 15 libraries," says Carol Walters, regional director of SRLS. " In addition, we just 'Nooked' all 54 staff members in the region for 90-100 days to get professional in the use of that technology. After that period those Nooks will be brought in, cleared and ready for public loan. No other library in the state has taken that approach to training.
When naysayers tell Walters technology is up and books are down, she can show them statistics for Sandhill Regional Library System with a whopping 58 percent increase in circulation since 1982 (from 346,606 to 811,698).
"Our library customers use technology, but they also carry out bags of books every week," she says. "The secret weapon in our 15 libraries is the staff. They build the collections and programs and greet the customers and keep them coming back."
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