Brittney Lofthouse – Staff Writer
September is Library Card Sign-up Month, a time when Fontana Regional Library joins with the American Library Association and public libraries nationwide to make sure that people of all ages have the most important tool for lifelong learning — a free library card.
“Our libraries provide services and offer programs to people of all ages,” says Macon County Library Director Karen Wallace. “Adults and children alike can develop and pursue new interests, or find recreational reading and activities. There’s really something for everyone, and it’s all free with a library card.”
At the end of last fiscal year, the Macon libraries, which consist of Macon County Public Library in Franklin, the Hudson Library in Highlands, and the Nantahala Library, had nearly 23,000 active registered users with library cards. “Active means the card has been used within the past three years,” said Wallace. “Because we delete inactive user cards (anyone who hasn’t used their card in the past 3 years), we see the number of users fluctuate quite a bit from year to year.”
Last fiscal year, there were 2,222 new cards issued for an average of 185 new library cards given out each month.
“We’re just about to start a new Student Access project,” said Wallace. “This will allow all county school students in Fontana Regional Library to use their student ID to check out library materials without having to get a separate library card. They’ll be able to check out books at their local library, but will also be able to check out eBooks online. We hope to have that access for students ready to use by Oct. 1.”
The same card that allows the checking out of books and other materials in the library also provides access to a host of digital resources from home or anywhere else. Fontana Regional Library has a large collection of electronic materials, including eBooks, eMagazines, eAudiobooks, and even streaming video that are all available free of charge to library card holders.
For preschool age children, the library offers early literacy activities and storytimes to encourage school readiness. For older children and teens, hands-on science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) programs supplement what kids are learning in school.
For more information about library services in Macon, Jackson, and Swain counties and how to get a library card, contact your local Fontana Regional Library location or visit www.fontanalib.org. In Macon County, call the Macon County Public Library (828-524-3600), Hudson Library (828-526-3031), or the Nantahala Community Library (828-321-3020).