Happy National Libraries Week!  

I have been in the Halifax County-South Boston Public Library System since August, and this is my first National Library Week as a public librarian.

As I look around on social media at what other libraries are doing, I cannot help but take stock in what we do here at the library and think about all I have seen in the almost eight months I have been here. 

Before you can mention anything about libraries, you have to mention the people who work in them. From the front desks and stacks, to story time leaders and catalogers, our staff are working hard to see libraries benefiting the patrons who walk through the door.

Our director, Jay Stephens, is always open and encouraging of new ideas. We have our own rock star in Miss Sue Brooks, who if, you ask most anyone under the age of 5, is awesome. Our local history room is second to none, and Cary Perkins has even solved a murder that you should ask her about.

Folks like Marcus Kerby, Allen Anderson, Chris Woodworth, Amey Tutor, Cody Duffey, Lexi Ficke, Jenna Austin, Jackie Venable, Mattie Faulkner, Rona Collins and Carol Anne Beadles keep books in the hands of our avid readers and those fax lines humming. Paul Dyer is the man behind the curtain, switching wires or rebooting the computers. Suzanne Reeves is challenging our inquisitive minds. Last but not least, Brittney Clay has the artists of the county swiping at canvas and sharpening those pencils.

If you are not familiar with these fine folks, you are missing out. 

Taking a step back, you will see a library board committed to not only developing quality libraries for the people of Halifax County but having fun doing it. Come sit in a board meeting and try not to laugh. I dare you.

Library boards have a mind of their own, and each is different, but few have the diverse opinions and capable minds like ours. Numbers are correct, spelling checked, ideas shared, and events are planned.

These fine folks dedicate time and energy bringing in best selling authors and top-notch presenters on a wide variety of subjects. Not been to anything put on by the talented people? You should. Look no further than our Facebook page to see a list of all the events.

One more step back, you see people within the community dedicated to the cause of the library and all its goals in places you might not expect.

• Teachers in schools keep their own libraries (at their own expense mind you), so their students have easier access to literature of all stripes.

• Tutors use the library as a safe, welcoming and convenient place to enrich student’s lives beyond the classroom.

• A school superintendent takes time to write up reading lists for his system and has actually read the books.

• Business owners allow the library to set up Little Free Libraries in corners of the county, so those people who cannot make it into South Boston or Halifax can enjoy reading so much easier.

• Senior living facilities encourage us to bring in books for their patients and schedule programs letting those in their care to see the world. 

Halifax County has people working to make lives better, and they are not hard to find. Look for that library sign the next time you are out. If you are really daring, seek out some of these people, programs and opportunities.

Programs are typically free, printing is cheap, and you cannot fax for less in town.

If you are not using the library to seek and apply for jobs, hear best selling authors, look up information on medical care, read the hot new book, learn something new from a speaker, pay parking tickets online, paint, check out a new DVD, print shipping labels, sing a song with your little one, program a robot, fax tax information to Richmond, check out an eBook, or read the paper, try us out.

We will be happy to see you and ready to help.

Chris Baker is the South Boston Branch Manager of the Halifax County Public Library.