by Donna Byrd
In March of 2014, Sneads Ferry got a new baby: a brand spanking new, library building! The Onslow Public Library system decided that the small, 2,000 foot library building needed to expand in size to meet the needs of a growing community. The 3.8 million dollar project created a multipurpose facility that made our little part of Onslow County shine on the cultural map of Eastern North Carolina!
The library has always been one of my favorite places. When I was growing up, I would ride my bicycle three or four miles to our small town library, a flat-roofed, mid-century, brick building in Tarboro, NC. The smell of books would greet me as I walked through the doors and the quiet, peaceful walls would welcome me into their arms like a faithful friend. Within the confines of that building, I could visit any country in the world, time travel to any century I wanted to, peek into the lives of famous (and infamous) people, find tidbits of information in which to impress my brothers and sisters and find fuel to ignite big dreams.
Last year, when I walked into the Onslow County Public Library in Sneads Ferry for the first time, I felt like I a little girl again. I took in a deep breath of the wonderful scent of old and new books and walked up to the desk in the lobby. I handed a friendly worker my ID and a piece of mail that had been addressed to me to prove that I was a local resident and low and behold, a few minutes later, I was an official, card carrying member of the OCPL.
The beautiful, 12,000 square foot, modern building not only holds 16,000 library items (including books, DVDs, audiobooks and eBooks,) but is also a meeting place, containing indoor and outdoor classrooms.
There is a large “Discover Onslow” room in the back of the library building that reminds me of a type of natural history museum. In the middle of the room is a wonderful display of natural flora and fauna. Around the room, against the walls, is more information on the digital “Naturalist’s Notebook.” One could spend quite a while wandering around the area, discovering things about Onslow County. Outside, there is a wetlands boardwalk, complete with benches for those who just want to sit and enjoy the outdoors.
Last Monday, I met the branch manager of our prestigious library. Her name is Liza Barrett and she was gracious to tell me more about the programs and amenities our library offered the community.
First of all, there is free WiFi and many full service computer labs (with printers) containing most of the popular applications we all use. The public is welcome to come in and “get on line,” including vacationers who are visiting Topsail Island. I noticed several cozy sitting areas where people were using their own PC’s. There is a fax machine and copy machine for public use too.
Liza showed me a calendar of events for the months of April and May and I was surprised by the number of programs and activities being offered. There are special Storytimes planned for children up to the age of five years old. A painting, sculpting and drawing class is scheduled, and a Lego building class. A really cool class about moon rocks is on the calendar and even a sewing class learning series for youngsters.
For teens, there are things to do, too! A Youth Advisory Board meets to discuss books, movies, music while having fun earning service hours. They can get their “game on” at Game Night (complete with snacks, of course).
A three series sewing class is offered for grades 2 – 6 and a craft class. This time it’s making pillows from old favorite T-shirts. I wish I was young enough for the Chocolate Olympics, (grades 6- 12). I never had things like this going on at my library when I was a child!
There are several things intended for families, including a Saturday set aside just for Dad and the kids to “tinker and explore” with hands-on activities. Comic Book Day is coming up on May 7th and if you drop by the library, you can pick up a free comic book.
I didn’t realize that our library offered so many fun things to do. I’m sure each month offers new and exciting programs to explore and enjoy. Liza mentioned that the summer season has the very popular children’s reading program, “Ready, Set, Read.” Children who grow up with a love for reading, become adults that tend to follow their dreams and become successful.
Since my first visit, I have been visiting the library every two weeks or so. I’m proud to tell you that I read forty books (count ‘em, 4,0….40) in a year’s time. I keep a record of them in a journal by my bedside.
Also, I began recognizing people in the library that I would see around in Sneads Ferry; the lady who walks her dog in my neighborhood, the man who works at the Food Lion and the jogger who runs on the beach while I’m looking for sea glass. We nod, smile and give a little wave to each other now, like we are a part of a secret society and then hurry home to get in a few chapters of our newest “read.” Maybe I’ll become a member of “Friends of the Library” and get me some new friends “at” the library! Come on and join me there!
The Onslow County Public Library in Sneads Ferry is located at:
1330 Hwy. 210, Sneads Ferry, NC 28460
Mon-Weds & Fri: 9-6, Thurs: 10-7, Sat: 9-3