If there’s one thing Margaret Houston, Kathy Kitts and Beth Tallent are, it’s determined. These three ladies are leading the effort to open a library in Midland, and each of them assured me: “It’s going to happen.”
Kitts said she has been dreaming of a library in Midland for eight years, even before she was elected mayor of the southeastern Cabarrus town. Since the bookmobile went away years ago, “we have nothing,” she said. “If you look at county services south of Highway 49,” she added, “there’s nothing here.”
Tallent agrees. “We have to go so far to get to a library.” When her children were in school, she recalled driving at “breakneck speed” to get to a library before it closed. The nearest libraries are in Mount Pleasant, Harrisburg and Concord, which are more than 10 miles away.
The dream of a library in Midland started its journey toward reality more than a year ago, with a plan to add a second story to the new Midland Town Hall. With that space designated for the library, support from County Library Director Dana Eure and promises from the county commissioners, folks in Midland began to plan, and the Friends of the Midland Library was formed.
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Library Friends groups exist to support local branches of public libraries. Along with advocating for libraries, they raise funds to pay for programs, technology, materials and furniture – basically whatever the library needs.
In Midland, the town will construct the building; the county will provide the staff; and the Friends group is responsible for everything else: from shelving and carpet to toilets and computers.
Houston said their fundraising goal is $200,000. She became president of the Midland Friends last month and is determined to get as many people to support the library as she can. “The library is for everybody,” she said.
Tallent, who heads up the fundraising committee, figures that since the library is going to benefit everyone, everyone ought to have an opportunity to contribute to it. So she’s planning fundraisers to appeal to “every demographic.”
Kitts added that the committee wants to do community service projects, as well as regular fundraising.
From 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Aug. 23, the Midland Friends are sponsoring a Brown and White Recycling Community Event at the Midland Fire Department on N.C. 601. Residents can drop off hazardous materials, electronics, appliances and similar items.
Tallent said they’ll make money from some of the items, but primarily they want to provide a service to Midland residents and simply let them know that the Friends of the Library exists. They’ll also be selling Krispy Kreme doughnuts.
There have been a few bumps in the road for Midland’s library supporters. Construction was delayed, and questions about county commissioners’ support arose. But none of that matters to these three ladies.
"It’s going to happen,” Houston said.
“I know we’re going to do it,” Tallent added.
“We will persevere,” said Kitts. “I’m excited. … We’re going to make it happen one way or another.”