• Laurel Contributor

Fontana’s 75th Anniversary

by Luke Osteen

After decades of providing stories to its patrons, Albert Carlton-Cashiers Community Library is finally getting around to telling its own.

Fontana Regional Library System, which includes Albert Carlton-Cashiers Community Library and Hudson Library, is celebrating 75 years of service to its communities.

“Even though FRL was established during World War II, the seeds for its existence were planted during the 1930s and the Great Depression,” says ACCCL Librarian Serenity Richards. “The New Deal’s Civilian Conservation Corps brought young men and women to the region to work with local corps members in modernizing rural areas and protecting the natural treasures that we still enjoy today.”

To improve the living conditions of those workers and the communities they served, the federal government created FRL and charged it with opening and maintaining libraries throughout this corner of Western North Carolina.

Though the CCC has long passed into history its impact is still being felt in those communities that it helped.

To mark the FRL’s 75th anniversary, member libraries are launching a campaign to raise $75,000 in support of library services for all ages in Jackson, Macon, and Swain Counties.

So much has changed, and so much has stayed the same since 1944, when Fontana Regional Library hit the road to make deliveries in the bookmobile. Books popular back then included titles that have become classics and are still in demand: “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn,” “Johnny Tremain,” and “Curious George,” to name just a few.

Today, Fontana Regional Library still has a bookmobile, the Reading Rover, that brings books to childcare centers and preschools, but some things have changed, and library collections now include electronic and digital resources like eBooks and streaming video, as well as more unusual items like wildlife cameras, backpacks, telescopes, and even a portable planetarium.

And people need more from a library than ever before, whether it’s access to the internet, help with online job applications, learning about new technologies like 3D printing and robotics, or satisfying curiosity about the always-changing world around us.

As part of the anniversary celebration, the libraries are asking patrons to consider making a donation to promote Fontana Regional Library’s continuing mission to be the heart of the community. Contributions will be used to support and enrich services for all ages. For example, FRL member libraries are eager to provide the technology necessary for patrons to use library printers directly from their own mobile devices; purchase more eBooks to satisfy public demand for a larger selection and shorter wait times for popular titles; and supply new star shows for the Portable Planetarium.

Gifts of any amount will help meet those needs. To make a donation, read more library stories from the community, or learn about library services, visit your local library or go to fontanalib.org.

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