MINT HILL, NC – Have you heard about the great things happening at the Mint Hill Library?
“People don’t realize what the library has to offer!” says Community Library Manager Anne Mavian. “A lot of times they think of the library as ‘Oh, storytime. I remember going there as a kid.’ But there’s so many resources available for adults. That that’s really a word we want to get out.”
One important resource the library provides for adults is job help. They offer one-on-one online support as well as a completely free resume writing program. The library also has many resources for businesses. A large part of Mavian’s decision to join the Chamber of Commerce was bringing these resources to our local small businesses.
In its current location since 1999, the Mint Hill Branch of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg library has been an active partner in the Mint Hill community since it opened in the strip mall near Mint Hill Barbershop more than 60 years ago. This was the library’s second year participating in the Scarecrow Decorating Contest, and they’ve also been a part of the town’s annual parade and Discover Mint Hill.
After a long period of closure followed by limited hours and services during COVID, the Mint Hill Library is now fully open for use. “Right now, you can come in, you can browse, you can check out books, you can hang out at a table,” says Mavian, noting that you must wear a mask at all times in the building. However, there is no in-person programming currently happening at the library with the exception of Family Storytime outdoors at Veterans Park on Thursday mornings at 10:00 am.
Throughout the pandemic, the library has continued offering a full slate of virtual programming ranging from storytimes and book clubs to writing groups and more. The Mint Hill Branch hosts four different book clubs; they’re all currently meeting virtually, but Mavian looks forward to a time when they can hold book clubs in person again. “We really want to ramp those up again when we can have in-person programming because people like community activities,” says Mavian. “Book clubs are as much a social thing as they are a study of literature.”
Charlotte Mecklenburg Libraries also continues to offer a wide selection of virtual storytimes. “There are ‘storytime lives’ going on all the time!” says Mavian. “You can access them all very easily through Facebook, and you can also find recordings of them on our YouTube station.” Broadcast live from the Mint Hill Branch are Puppet Show Storytime and Stories in 2 Languages. They also offer American Girl Book Club and a drawing class for children online out of the Mint Hill Library.
One thing that’s important to Mavian is making the library accessible to the community, even those who can’t get there in person. Before COVID, they would visit assisted living centers to show them resources or host book clubs. The library is also an important partner with all CMS schools. “One of the cool things right now is that all CMS students, their student ID number is a library card number,” says Mavian. “When kids come into the library, they all know their student ID number so they can check out a book. It’s really great because then when they are in school, the teacher knows that every single kid has a library card, so if she wants to use some of the online resources we offer like TumbleBooks, she knows everybody can access it.”
One important thing to know about Charlotte Mecklenburg libraries system-wide is that the main library uptown is currently closed in preparation for replacing the existing structure. The new, five-story building attached to McGlohon Theater promises to be a “destination” with event spaces, a roof terrace, cafes and plenty of meeting rooms.
The new Main Library will be a sight to see, but sometimes you just can’t beat your hometown library. “The staff here is very much a part of the community,” says Mavian. “Some of staff lives here, and some of them have worked here for a really long time. I think that’s part of the charm of this library is that you’re going to see some familiar and friendly faces, and and we do feel like everybody who walks in our building is our neighbor and our friend, and we’re here to help.”