The first major expansion of the Iredell County Public Library system did not begin with the groundbreaking for the new library building off Tradd Street near downtown Statesville. The first real expansion occurred in April 2003 when the town of Harmony had the honor of opening the first Branch Library in the county’s history.
The Harmony Branch Library is a branch library of the Iredell County Public Library system. It was created through a cooperative effort between Iredell County Government and the Town of Harmony.
Though it is part of the main county library system many people in the Harmony area claim it as their very own special “community library”. “Little is Better” might be the theme for the new Harmony Branch Library.
At first the local citizens of Harmony considered using an existing house in the area for the library. Libraries have to be built to support 150 lbs of weight per square foot though so that idea fell through before any books could.
They then decided to build a new library building. The building began as a community project and involved the donation of materials, funding, and labor in its construction from the people of Harmony.
Seeing a good library in an area often says a lot about the community itself. Many of the citizens in Harmony take great pride in their new library and have already made this newcomer one of their own.
The Harmony Library was popular from the start. Circulation which was projected to be 25,000 the first year far exceeded that figure and was at 38,962 by the end of June 2004.
The completed building is approximately 3,150 sq. ft. The groundbreaking was held on Feb. 3, 2001 and it officially opened on March 17, 2003 on St. Patrick’s Day.
County library systems for years have sought to reach out to the rural areas of their communities through bookmobiles and branch library buildings. Branch libraries are basically just smaller versions of the main library that are built throughout the county so that citizens will not have to travel so far to have library services.
The new Iredell County Public Library headquarters building in Statesville will have three floors and cover 53,000 sq. ft. The Harmony Branch provides the same services at a much-reduced scale in a 3,150 sq. ft. one floor building. While the quantity of library materials is reduced in Harmony the quality of the materials and services is still just as high.
The Harmony Branch opened its doors with 6,000 items, but the collection has grown to over 14,434 items including books, videos, DVD’s, and audio books. The library has 7 computers for adult public Internet access and two catalog terminals. The Children’s Department features three computers offering educational programs and games.
The library presents children’s reading programs every Wednesday for children 0-5 years of age from 10:30 am to 11 am. Story times for children 6-10 years of age are on Wednesday’s from 4:30 pm – 5 pm. During these programs’ children read, listen to stories, music, and make crafts.
On Oct. 17, from 2:30 pm – 4:30 pm the Harmony Library will be featuring “Music on the Library Lawn” sponsored by the Harmony Friends of the Library. Local musicians and singers volunteer their time and talents to put on a show on the library’s front lawn as a way to put the local spotlight on the library.
The Friends of the Harmony Library group has provided strong support and has donated a TV and TV cabinet along with a VCR, DVD, and cassette player, and other items for the library’s use. The Friends will be having their next used book sale on Sept. 25th from 9 till 4 at the library.
The Harmony Library is open Monday – Thursday from 10 am till 7 pm and from 9 am to 6 pm on Friday and Saturdays.
The library is staffed by its Manager Melissa Spivey, Assistant Patricia Hepler, and part time employee Lyn Schaffer. Volunteer Betty Cates is also a part of the staff. She and other volunteers from the Friends of the Harmony Library contribute an important role in the library’s operations.
They are still in need of volunteers and are always looking for ways to better service their neighbors in Harmony. If you have an interest in volunteering or have suggestions please contact them at 704-546-7086.
Joel Reese, Local History Librarian
Iredell County Public Library
This article appeared in the Statesville Record and Landmark as “Smaller branch library offers all the perks in half the space” on Sept. 8, 2004