The Iredell County Public Library celebrated its 10th anniversary in its building at 201 N. Tradd St. on Saturday, May 2nd with a party, special displays, and free gifts. Dignitaries attending the event included former Iredell County Manager Joel Mashburn and his wife Janie, Iredell County author and historian O.C. Stonestreet, and Mark Twain (Barry Howard) who played banjo, told stories, and feel asleep during the event. We opened to the public in our new building on April 11, but we actually had the grand opening on April 17, 2005. The library had been at our old location on Water Street for nearly 25 years. That building was originally constructed in the late 1950's as a Colonial supermarket, but has been rebuilt and now houses the Iredell County Tax and Land Records departments.
Iredell County Public Library Director Steve Messick spoke on some of the library's accomplishments since 2005. "Over the past ten years, the library has been visited over three million times. Over five million books have been borrowed. The computers in the library have been used almost one million times. Over 100,000 children have participated in children's programs and about 88,000 adults have met in this room for library programs or meetings of community or civic groups." Mr. Messick stated that "there are few institutions that touch so many people's lives as a public library" and pointed out that on a typical day the library’s patrons range from the toddler to the elderly and noted that “A good public library shows a community understands its connection to the past and demonstrates its confidence in the future.”
Louanne Watts, President of the Iredell friends of the Library, spoke at the event recalling the 2000 meeting of the Iredell County Junior Service League that led to the “MORE SPACE NOW” campaign and a petition to bring awareness to the inadequacies of the library building on Water Street. Mrs. Watts noted that, “Over the past years, we have assisted the Library’s Youth Services Department by providing financial support for its Summer Reading Program and other assorted programming adventures. The 2014 Summer Reading program registered 2,150 children and provided 14 different programs. That is a lot of joy and happiness to spread over the summer.”
The Iredell Friends of the Library assists with funding for the “Let’s Talk About It” book reading programs provided by the N.C. Department of Humanities. Over the years they have provided monies for magazines, movies, licenses to show the movies, and refreshments for the library’s “Lunch and Learn” programs featuring special guest speakers. The Iredell Friends of the Library has provided over $10,000 to purchase archival supplies needed to save the Stimson Studio and Max Tharpe Photograph collections at the library. To date over 95,000 photographs and negatives have been digitized and 85,174 images have been made available at the library’s website at www.flickr.com/photos/icplphotos/collections. In the past two years the images have received 4,869,849 views.
The library has several special programs and events scheduled in 2015. The Friends will be providing funding for the “Iredell Reads” program which is held every other year. The program is a community read in which all participants read the same book while attending book discussions and a program with the author. This year’s selected novel is “This Dark Road to Mercy” by Wiley Cash from Gastonia. The Friends will also be providing funding for a “Marketplace” that is coming to the library. The “Marketplace” will be a community center with tools united in the purpose to provide access to equipment, community, and education and is a project of Leadership Statesville. Dr. Steve Hill will be the featured speaker in “Lunch & Learn” on Wednesday, May 20, from 12 to 1 pm discussing Preservation Statesville. For more information contact Peggy Carter at 704-878-3098 or email@example.com.
Joel Reese, Local History Librarian
Iredell County Public Library
This article was published in the Statesville Record and Landmark as “Library marks anniversary with celebration” on May 13, 2015