Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Curbside Only . . . for now


Appalachian Regional Library, with public libraries in Ashe, Watauga, and Wilkes Counties, is moving back into curbside and virtual services only.  Beginning Wednesday, January 13, all our libraries will be closed to the public. 

The library system has chosen this course of action due to the recent spike in positive COVID19 cases across the state and Dr. Mandy Cohen’s directive recommending that people stay at home as much as possible.  Please see https://www.ncdhhs.gov/news/press-releases/ncdhhs-issues-secretarial-directive-immediate-actions-protect-north-carolinians for details. We want to keep library users and staff as safe as possible during this dangerous time.

Curbside service will be available during all open hours. You may call your local library to request particular items, put items on hold through our online catalog, or call the library to request that a staff person choose books for you. The Take & Make kits we have had available in our libraries will be available through curbside pickup as long as they last. Check with your library to discover the details of how to take advantage of curbside service.

Please check your local library websites or Facebook pages for the days and times of curbside service at your home library. You will also find links to lots of virtual materials and programs to enjoy. 

https://www.arlibrary.org/ashe  Ashe County Public Library

https://www.arlibrary.org/watauga  Watauga County Public Library

https://www.arlibrary.org/wilkes  Wilkes County Public Library & Traphill Branch Library

Find us on Facebook:




Keep an eye on the website or our Facebook pages for further updates as they become available. Remember the 3 W’s – Wear a mask, wash your hands often, and wait six feet from other people. Stay safe so you can come back to see us when all this is over!

Monday, December 28, 2020

Mobile Hot-Spots, Chromebooks, Expanded Wi-Fi

The Ashe County Public Library, as a member of the Appalachian Regional Library System, has received new technology to lend from a Digital Inclusion Grant through the State Library of North Carolina. The grant award provided funding to purchase and provide Chromebooks and mobile hotspots for residents of ARL’s three counties. This technology can be borrowed with a current library card, in good standing, and kept for up to 21 days (no renewals). Both a hot spot and a Chromebook can be borrowed at the same time, but are limited to one per family. You must be at least eighteen years old to borrow these devices, or if younger have a parent to check them out.

“This grant is made possible by funding from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) as administered by the State Library of North Carolina, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (IMLS grant number LS-246551-OLS-20).” 

The pandemic has reminded us that Internet is not a luxury, it is essential. Many high-risk individuals have sheltered at home during the pandemic and lost access to vital computing and internet resources that they usually receive at the public library. We believe lifting the barriers of access to digital content by providing hardware (laptops) and connectivity (Wi-Fi hotspots) will offer opportunities for patrons to access digital resources needed for vital information, job and career opportunities, educational resources, and reading material. 

 Other exciting news comes from the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. Ashe County Public Library was one of 350 public sites to receive expanded Internet access with the “Park and Learn” project. This project provides free high-speed Wi-Fi access to students in rural communities. At the library, Internet access is available on both the lower and upper parking lot 24 hours - 7 days a week. 

The “Park and Learn” project is part of a broader effort called NC Student Connect, and was created to improve internet connectivity and fill gaps that are a barrier to remote learning. The project is a partnership of state agencies, including the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, Hometown Strong, the Department of Information Technology, the Governor’s Education Advisor and the NC Business Committee for Education, to rapidly connect students with remote learning. 

“Expanding student access to the internet has become a priority as school systems across the state have adopted remote learning policies in response to the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Susi H. Hamilton, secretary of the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. “Our state parks, historic sites and local libraries are locations that provide a safe and secure space for students to access the internet for remote learning. Partnering with Hometown Strong on this project to bring internet access to our students in rural North Carolina is one of the most important initiatives we have undertaken together.”

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Ashe County Public Library receives recognition award from i2i Center for Integrative Health

Laura McPherson, Adult Services Manager,
 with i2i award
While keeping abreast of health concerns in the ‘Year of Covid’, we became aware of i2i (insight to innovation) Center of Integrative Health’s work to provide support for a comprehensive system of whole person care.  This non-profit organization is based in Cary, NC but reaches across the state to provide trainings, resources, and make connections with community health providers. 

Libraries play an integral part in health of individuals and the community as a whole.  At Ashe County Public Library, we partner with many local organizations and collaborate with leaders in the community about ways to provide wellness services that are designed to meet a variety of needs.  Our programming has featured eating healthy, suicide prevention, stories of recovery and hope, compassion and the ‘power of giving.’  This year we highlighted the national conversation about racial equality, and justice with a series of programs entitled “Talking About Race in Life and Literature.”   These programs provided a voice for people to communicate, advocate, and inform each other on these issues.

This year i2i issued a 2020 Innovation Awareness Challenge to recognize innovation in services and programming given 2020’s challenges of a pandemic, and the need for systemic response towards social injustice.  It was an honor to be chosen for this award, with programming centered on Race in Life and Literature, and to be recognized at their virtual conference.  The books we read, and the conversations we had, highlighted race, ethnicity, social injustices surrounding incarceration, and how to be a good ancestor.  This award reminds us that conversations like these should continue.  Check out our program guide for archived events and visit the library for books on these topics. It is important to affirm the dignity and value of black lives and black people. 

Monday, December 7, 2020

Wear It Like You Mean It!


Appalachian Regional Library Launches “Wear It Like You Mean It”

Local Public Libraries Determined to Keep Library Users and Staff Safe

Boone, West Jefferson, North Wilkesboro, NC:  Appalachian Regional Library, with public libraries in Ashe, Watauga, and Wilkes Counties, announced a new campaign to help keep its libraries open and serving the public during what may be a long and hard pandemic winter.  “Wear It Like You Mean It” focuses on the requirement for everyone to wear a mask or acceptable face covering in the right way – covering nose to chin – and to wear it at all times while in the library.

“The best information we have right now tells us that when everyone wears a mask, everyone is more protected from the virus,” Jane Blackburn, ARL Director, points out. “Library staff have been wearing masks for months now, and we will continue to do so until advised to stop by health authorities.  People coming into our libraries must also wear masks, and wear them correctly.” Blackburn added “We will of course follow the governor’s directions to allow exceptions as listed in his executive order, but if you have a condition that keeps you from wearing a mask, we encourage you to use our curbside service.”

The library’s expectations are that library visitors come into the building with a mask on, that it securely covers nose and mouth, and it is worn for the duration of the visit.  We request that if you are sick – especially with a fever, cough, or shortness of breath -- you do not enter the library.

ARL libraries have implemented all the recommended safety precautions, plus some. Staff wear masks at all times, wash hands frequently, and work at least six feet apart. Frequently touched surfaces are disinfected often.  Free or low-cost masks are offered to library users. Libraries have marked six-foot distances and one-way directional arrows on the floors where appropriate so that library users are reminded to keep their distance from one another.  When library materials are returned, they are quarantined for several days before being put back on the shelf.   Library users are encouraged to make their visits short, or to use Curbside Service and have their materials delivered to them in the parking lot.

Blackburn’s final comment: “We welcome library users to visit our libraries, but remind everyone:  Wear It Like You Mean It. Help us keep our communities safe and healthy!”

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Holiday Events and Activities at Ashe County Public Library


Stop in the library and pick-up Ornamentality Kits for kids, teens, and adults; December 7 - 12.  All you need to create a special homemade ornament for your Christmas tree!

Take your family on a Virtual Expedition to the North Pole with Sigmon Theatrical at 5:30 p.m. on December 8 - LIVE on Ashe County Public Library’s Facebook page.

Take a break from the hustle and bustle of the holiday rush and pick-up a Holiday Tea Take Home Kit; December 11 & 12.  Enjoy goodies and hot tea at home with a good book to read. What could be more perfect?

Join us for a Virtual Holiday Cook-along at 5:00 p.m. on December 12. This is a unique opportunity to cook together from the comfort of our homes while we garnish our dish with advice and stories from ‘beloved Southern food writer,’ Sheri Castle.  LIVE on Ashe County Public Library’s Facebook page.

Winter Holiday Kits are available for kids beginning December 14 – 23.  This is something to keep young ones busy while waiting for Christmas to FINALLY get here!

Visit Ashe County Public Library’s Facebook page for a Virtual Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas Event with Sigmon Theatrical, 5:30 p.m. on December 17.  Fun for the whole family!

Plan a family movie night with a little help from us!  Winter Family Movie Kits: A Christmas Carol, starring George C. Scott are available for pick-up December 16 – 23.

Keep reading over the holidays and win prizes with the Kids Winter Break Reading Challenge; December 18 – January 5.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Ashe County Public Library joins public libraries nationwide in digital reading program Sept. 14-28, 2020


Ashe County Public Library is joining public libraries across the country in offering access to the same ebook for a two-week period through the Libraries Transform Book Pick. The ebook selection is Lauren Francis-Sharma’s epic saga “Book of the Little Axe,” published by Atlantic Monthly Press, an imprint of Grove Atlantic.

During the lending period, Sept. 14-28, ebook copies of “Book of the Little Axe” will be available without waitlists or holds through U.S. public libraries using OverDrive. Readers will only need a library card and the Libby app to borrow and read the ebook.

Ambitious and masterfully wrought, “Book of the Little Axe” is an incredible journey, spanning decades and oceans from Trinidad to the American West during the tumultuous days of warring colonial powers and westward expansion. In a starred review, Booklist said Francis-Sharma “offers fascinating characters across the broad sweep of the American continent at a time of great tumult, warring colonial powers, the spread of slavery, and expansion West” and described the story as a “compelling saga of family bonds, ambitions, and desires, all subject to the vagaries of powerful historical forces.”

The selection of “Book of the Little Axe” for the Libraries Transform Book Pick was made in consultation with experts at Booklist. Atlantic Monthly Press is providing this title to public libraries for simultaneous use for two weeks at no cost.

“We chose Book of the Little Axe by Lauren Francis-Sharma because it is a strikingly original and richly compelling historical novel which illuminates the roots of America’s dire systemic racism. Francis-Sharma’s profoundly relevant saga will surely inspire meaningful discussions. Book of the Little Axe is also exquisitely well-written, and features a strong and fascinating woman protagonist.”

— Donna Seaman, Editor, Adult Books, Booklist


Ashe County Public Library will be hosting online discussions surrounding Book of Little Axe and other complimentary topics as part of Involving Books programming this fall. Several copies of Book of Little Axe have also been added to the library’s permanent print collection.  For more information about the Libraries Transform Book Pick, and additional programming please visit https://arlibrary.libguides.com/involvingbooks.  You can also follow the Libraries Transform Book Pick on ALA’s Facebook and Twitter and join the discussion on social media using the hashtag #LTBookPick.

Programs like the Libraries Transform Book Pick help showcase how libraries are continuing to serve their communities during challenging times by providing digital content and virtual services people need now more than ever. Over the last few months, Ashe County Public Library has expanded access to electronic content by adding 3,000 digital magazines to its online collection and offering  Kanopy, a collection of critically acclaimed movies, inspiring documentaries, award-winning foreign films and more.  Kanopy Kids offers unlimited plays so kids are free to explore enriching, educational, and entertaining films and TV series.  Ashe Library is also finding innovative ways to continue virtual programming and other services, like chat reference on the library’s website.

The Libraries Transform Book Pick is a collaboration between Booklist, the book review magazine of the American Library Association; Libraries Transform, the American Library Association’s public awareness initiative; and OverDrive, ALA Library Champion and lead sponsor of Libraries Transform. 

Ashe County Public library promotes knowledge, reading, and imagination; supports and encourages life­long learning; and contributes to the sense of community and the economic well­being of Ashe County.

Friday, August 28, 2020

Library cards empower students and fuel academic success

September is Library Card Sign-up Month, a time when Ashe County Public Library joins the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries nationwide to remind parents, caregivers and students that signing up for a library card is the first step on the path to academic achievement and lifelong learning.

There is nothing more empowering than signing up for your own library card. Through access to technology, media resources and educational programs, a library card gives students the tools to succeed in the classroom and provides people of all ages opportunities to pursue their dreams and passions.

Libraries offer everything from early literacy programs to virtual homework help, helping to transform lives and communities through education. At Ashe County Public Library, you’ll find a wide variety of educational resources and activities, including quiet study spaces and technology to help out with online learning.

“Libraries play an important role in the education and development of children,” said Ashlin Edmisten, Youth Services Librarian. “Our library activities serve students of all ages and backgrounds and their families. Some of our most popular events are story times to build early literacy skills and get kids ready for school; hands-on maker and STEAM activities to encourage critical thinking and collaborative skills; wellness programs for body, mind, and spirit; cooking demonstrations; book clubs; teen club for ages 12-18; and many other programs to encourage exploration and discovery of the world around them.”

Ashe County Public Library, along with libraries everywhere, continues to adapt and expand services to meet the evolving needs of our community. To sign up for a library card or to learn more about the library’s resources and programs, please visit ashelibrary.com 

This year, DC’s Wonder Woman is embarking on a mission to champion the power of a library card as Library Card Sign-up Month Honorary Chair. In her new role, Wonder Woman will promote the value of libraries and encourage everyone to get their very own library card. During September, the Ashe County Public Library will host a Library Card Sign-up BINGO activity: Pick up your Bingo card along with your library card and join the fun.
  If you already have a library card, you can still participate.  As in any Bingo game, once you fill in five squares in a row (down, across, or diagonal) you will be eligible for cool library prizes. 

#LibraryCardHero Social Media Promotion

Having a library card makes you feel like a superhero with all the amazing things it gives you access to, including technology, media resources, and educational programs. This Library Card Sign-up Month, we encourage you to strike your best superhero pose with your library card and post to Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #LibraryCardHero. One randomly selected winner will receive a $100 Visa gift card. Entries can also be submitted by posting as a comment or wall post on the I Love Libraries Facebook page.

This promotion begins Tuesday, September 1, at noon CT and ends Tuesday, September 22, at noon CT. All librarians and library lovers are encouraged to participate.

Since 1987, Library Card Sign-up Month has been held each September to mark the beginning of the school year. During the month, the ALA and libraries unite together in a national effort to ensure every child signs up for their own library card. 

Ashe County Public library promotes knowledge, reading, and imagination; supports and encourages life­long learning; and contributes to the sense of community and the economic well­being of Ashe County.

Friday, May 29, 2020

Special Programming for Mental Health Awareness Month

In recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month in May 2020, NAMI High Country (The National Alliance On Mental Illness) began a partnership with Watauga and Ashe County Public Libraries to host an initiative called ‘A Reason to Grow.’ The goal of the initiative is to broaden our communities’ commitment to inclusivity through reading and discussion. Inclusivity is the practice of welcoming people into a community who may otherwise have been excluded or marginalized.

“Inclusivity is a big circle with many dots, welcoming diversity and embracing different perspectives uncritically, with acceptance and sincerity. And that’s what NAMI does better than any other organization through its many programs for peers and family members,” says Karen Gross, contact for the grant. “NAMI is the quintessential inclusivity organization.”

Progress toward increasing inclusivity requires champions: people and organizations that identify it as a fundamental need and continue pressing for change because they understand communities have the potential through increased awareness to heal hearts and transform destinies.   Inclusivity is a feasible alternative to inactive and isolated lives and is often described as a medical necessity. “People don’t need more referrals to mental health services; they need referrals to life and community.” (Well Together – A Blueprint for Community Inclusion, http://www.tucollaborative.org/sdm_downloads/well-together/ )

Information on available books, Let’s Talk virtual book discussions, and play-shop interplay activities can be found on the libraries’ websites. These activities are designed to connect participants to creative movements which teach us that we can learn to play, not struggle, with our experiences, and thereby help to foster inclusivity in our communities. Additionally, we are scheduling some author interviews on the topic of inclusivity as well as offering an internet class on self-determination which when completed will qualify participants for a certificate.

To support this initiative, books, ebooks, digital audiobooks, DVDs, and a limited number of Spanish language titles are available through the libraries. Some of these titles are available to be mailed to your home while others are available for curbside pickup at the libraries. You must call ahead to reserve a copy. Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me: A Graphic Memoir by Ellen Forney, Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain, and Everything Here Is Beautiful by Mira T. Lee are all recommendations included in Oprah’s Mental Health Awareness Month book list. Little Panic by Amanda Stern, Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb, and Hidden Valley Road by Robert Kolker are all recommended by the National Network of Libraries of Medicine.

The first author talk, by Dr. Xavier Amador, will take place at 4:00 p.m. on June 16 via Zoom. Dr. Amador is an internationally renowned clinical psychologist, forensic expert, and sought-after speaker. He is also a family caregiver of two close relatives with schizophrenia and another with bipolar disorder. He will be sharing information from his book I Am Not Sick, I Don’t Need Help! The primary reason millions of people with serious mental illness refuse treatment is because of anosognosia—a neurological symptom that renders a person unable to understand that they are ill, resulting in conflict, isolation, and treatment refusal. They don't think they're sick, so they don't accept treatment. Without treatment, symptoms can worsen, the mind can deteriorate, and the results can be devastating. Learn how to create trusting relationships with people who have serious mental illness that can lead to treatment and recovery. We welcome you to join this conversation by contacting Karen Gross, karengross@skybest.com, for a link to this virtual event.

Monday, May 11, 2020

Ashe County Public Library's Re-Opening Plans - Phase One

In accordance with North Carolina’s plan for phased reopening, Ashe County Public Library plans to resume limited public services on May 19, 2020. We encourage our patrons to adhere to the guidelines for the relaxed Stay at Home Order. When you must leave home, Know Your Ws: wear a cloth face covering, wait six feet apart, and wash your hands often or use sanitizer.

In phase one of our reopening plan the library building remains closed to the public, but curbside delivery of library materials and printed items will be offered Tuesday through Saturday, 11 am to 4 pm.

Below is a list of services available at the library and via our digital collections. We encourage you to connect with us on social media and contact us through phone and email if you need information. We are saddened by the need to be physically distant from our patrons but are confident we can find alternate ways to serve our beloved community during this time of crisis. 


Ashe County Public Library Online: https://arlibrary.libguides.com/acpl-online

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/ourstorieslastforever/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Ashe-County-Public-Library-379422518832559/

Email: ashereference@arlibrary.org or arly@arlibrary.org 

Phone: 336.846.2041 x105 for questions about kids events and materials OR 336.846.2041 x111 for everything else


  • Currently, due dates for all library materials have been extended until June 30.
  • If you would like to return items you have checked out from the library, you may return them to the book drop located at the front of the library. 
  • All events and meetings scheduled to take place in the library have been canceled through June 30.
  • All appointments for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program have been canceled. We do not know whether we will be able to resume this service in 2020.
  • If you do not have a library card and would like to request one, visit https://appalachian.nccardinal.org/eg/opac/register and complete all required fields in the form. A library staff member will contact you during service hours to verify additional information so we can activate your account.



  • Wi-Fi will be available in the library parking lot 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Reference Assistance & Readers Advisory

  • Librarians will answer questions, locate information, help you navigate our online collections, and more when they are available. Contact us by phone or email for assistance.

Curbside Delivery of Library Materials

  • Contactless curbside delivery of library materials is available Tuesday through Saturday, 11 am to 4 pm.
  • Patrons must place materials on hold either online or by calling the library during our limited open hours.
  • Patrons will be notified when their items are ready to be picked up.

Curbside Delivery of Printed Items

  • Contactless curbside delivery of printed items is available Tuesday through Saturday, 11 am to 4 pm.
  • Information for requesting print services can be found on the library’s website or by calling our reference line 336.846.2041 x111


Visit the Ashe County Public Library Online website for a full list of online collections and resources, awesome activities and virtual events for kids, important information and virtual events for adults, the latest library news, and more. While library services remain limited due to the impact of COVID-19, we will endeavor to make this virtual space as welcoming as our brick-and-mortar building. Visit us at https://arlibrary.libguides.com/acpl-online for reliable information and valuable (but free) resources. A few examples of what you’ll find here are Maker Monday Home Challenges and the Stay Home & Read challenge for kids; Ashe Seed Library By Mail; COVID-19 Tax Relief and Economic Impact Payments; and a list of where to find ebooks, audiobooks, and films in our digital collections.


We will still offer summer learning programs for children and teens, but they are going to look a bit different! We hope to combine the best aspects of our traditional summer reading programs with virtual and remote techniques to encourage kids to enjoy reading and keep learning throughout the summer months. Other scheduled events, such as our Saving Seeds Mini Conference, will also be held online. We hope you will let us know what kinds of virtual events you really hope to see, and which ones you hope to never see (or see again)!


Monday, April 27, 2020

A Different Kind of Library Workers Day


Last Tuesday was National Library Worker’s Day and this is the first year in my life as a librarian that the library was closed to the public.   When the governor issued a COVID-19 shutdown order we all began working remotely from home.  It seems when weighing the importance of what is necessary and what is not, libraries are listed as ‘non-essential.’  I can definitely understand the danger in staying open amidst a pandemic crisis, especially since libraries are gathering places and house materials shared by a community.   Even so while the doors are shut there is still a lot of work going on … SO with a look at what goes on behind the scenes I can’t brag enough on our library’s wonderful staff. 

Our librarians have been working to compile a comprehensive guide to informational, educational, and entertainment resources that includes ways to access free ebooks and audiobooks, virtual field trips, crafts, work from home software, and more. Visit the library website at ashelibrary.org and click on the "Stuck at Home" banner to access this wonderful website!

Virtual training opportunities with library associations, Zoom meetings, and teleconferencing are being utilized to keep us all connected from a distance.  While we all miss physically interacting with the public there are plenty of things to do remotely.  Staff are even organizing and leading programs from home!  Check the library’s website for information about joining a virtual Slow Jam (May 2 & 16) and meeting with The Talking Service Book Club (May 8). 

If you can’t connect at home, wireless internet access is available in the library parking lot 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Simply select the "Library Guest" network and accept the terms of use to connect. No password is required. 

Follow Ashe County Public Library on Facebook for the Book-a-day Giveaway and win a book to be mailed to your home. Each contest is posted as an event that begins at 5 pm and ends at 5 pm the following day. To enter, simply answer a simple prompt (past questions include "What's your favorite book and why?" and "What is the most fun you've had while staying at home in April?"). Librarians will choose a winner and request your mailing address. You must be 18 or older to enter and must be an Ashe County resident. We are enjoying this unconventional way of connecting with our community!

Since the library’s temporary closure, total collection inventory is nearly done!  This is project would take months during opening hours. 

The Youth Services department has been posting interactive programming to engage stay-at-home students with STEAM activities.  Check the website every week for a Maker Monday Challenge!  

If you haven’t tried the Ashe Library Reading Challenge, it isn’t too late to jump in (also on the library’s website).  There is even an ARLY version for young readers.  Reading challenges are great ways to discover new books and authors.

Reopening plans are under way and will be implemented in phases as North Carolina begins to lift restrictions.  More information will soon be shared in a formal press release.  We do want everyone to know that the due date for borrowed materials is extended until May 15 and items returned are quarantined for 72 hours before going back into circulation. We are using our shut-down time to sanitize and organize in efforts to protect the health of our community.  Looking forward to seeing everyone again soon!