BUCKHANNON—The James W. Curry Public Library and Park provides a multitude of year-round activities to enrich the lives of the Brooks Hill Community.
Judith Williams presented the Upshur County Commission with a comprehensive Year In Review report at their Thursday meeting. Williams said she believes the facility is in keeping with its namesake’s vision of a “library’s power to transform lives and communities”.
Williams is proud of Curry Library’s well developed collection and said it is kept fresh thanks to generous donations. In addition to being a place focused on books and reading, the library has many other activities for all ages. Williams jokingly stated, “If you’re looking for a quiet peaceful place to read, you won’t find it at the library on Tuesday evenings.” That’s because Tuesday evenings have been designated as Family Storytime, beginning at 5:45 p.m. Participants learned about a variety of subjects over the past year like Chinese New Year, Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) and even bees, while exploring classic children’s literature and creating quilt blocks, bows and arrows and even a seismograph.
Another highlight of her report was last year’s Summer Reading Program themed “Libraries Rock”. Williams stated, “In 2018, we rocked around the world exploring sound, music, stories, instruments and art from six continents.” The Summer Reading Program worked in collaboration with Rock Cave Elementary School and 21 children signed up, with 12 successfully completing the last program. Overall, an impressive 659 books were read. Williams said each meeting began with drawing to music using different mediums, while age appropriate stories were read to the children and crafts included making instruments from the country being studied.
The annual Rock Cave kindergarten field trip was utilized to show students that the library is a fun place. The kindergartners got a tour and had a picnic where they made crafts and were given a gift bag. The second annual Opoly Fest, which features different versions of the game Monopoly, saw participants double in 2018.
The Bluegrass Festival’s turnout suffered due to bad weather last year, but The Brooks Hill Fair was a huge success, according to Williams. The Harry Potter themed event included a bake sale, pie eating contest, dunk tank and book fair, among other activities. A raffle was also held for the library lovers quilt and Lego whiteboard projects they made, with the quilt being donated back for display in the library.
Other outreach efforts included The Cat In The Hat who sought to engage kids at the Strawberry Festival and increase people’s interest in the library. Curry library also had a great turnout for Trick or Treat. Every year, Santa’s Workshop is another favorite activity held at the library. Participants are given the opportunity to make crafts to use as gifts for friends and family. In addition to books, each child also received a science experiment kit to take home and use during their holiday break.
Overall, The James W. Curry Public Library provided 58 children’s programs in 2018 that served 421 kids and 291 adults, for a total of 712 people. Williams said 2018 also saw the organization of a fundraising committee to generate funds for the creation of more children’s programs. Williams stated, “We are thinking forward, looking for ways to turn Curry Library into a focal point for the community.”
Williams added that they have applied for the Small Libraries Create Smart Spaces grant with the goal of increasing outreach efforts to boost the library’s community role and presence. They are also hopeful to offer a coding program in the near future and draw the participation of more teens. Williams proudly stated, “We are like a chrysalis, about to turn into a beautiful butterfly.” Upshur County Commissioners praised Williams and the library’s efforts were commended as “very impressive”.