Troutman's first public library, which opened its doors in June 2010, will be formally dedicated Dec. 3 during a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
The festivities, which will begin at 2 p.m., are being sponsored by the Troutman Friends of the Library, a group of volunteers who raised $725,000 over five years to pay for construction of the building at 215 W. Church St.
Why did they wait almost 18 months to dedicate the library?
"When we first opened in 2010, the county was contemplating deep cuts in their library budget," said Winkie Powell, chairwoman of Friends of the Library.
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"With all that uncertainty, we just didn't think it would be the right time to have an official dedication."
Eventually, the county resolved its budget issues, placing the Troutman branch on a Tuesday-Saturday schedule.
"With the funding issues resolved, we feel it is now an appropriate time to celebrate this wonderful addition to the Troutman communuty," Powell said.
The town of Troutman provided the land and managed the construction of the project. The Iredell County Library System pays for its day-to-day operation.
"We really only have two full timers," said Powell. "The remainder of our operations are handled by a group of about a dozen dedicated volunteers, who really do a great job."
The facility's official name is the J. Hoyt Hayes Memorial Library, in honor of Hayes, a self-taught horticulturist who spent his final years in Troutman. His family arranged to give cash and stock amounting to $310,000 toward the project.
The 7,000-square-foot library has 15,000 new books, public computer stations and a dedicated computer workstation with software for the vision-impaired.
The library's catalog of books, movies and audio books is available on the library website: www.iredell.lib.nc.us.
At the website, people can search the library's collection, view book covers, read online book reviews and summaries, create personal booklists and reserve items for pickup. They can also check their account and renew items online.
Library users have access to reference resources on the Internet, including NCLive, Learning Library, Heritage Quest Online and Reference USA.
Through the interlibrary loan service, users can also borrow books from hundreds of libraries across the United States, including older books no longer in print. The only charge is for postage to return the book to the lending library. (The charge depends on the weight of the book but averages $3.)
Interlibrary request forms are available at the library.
A Troutman Local History Collection is stored in a locked bookcase at the library. Staff members and volunteers collect materials from newspapers and unpublished materials, including files on Iredell County history and families, local churches and cemetery indices. The public is allowed limited access to the materials.
Powell urged Troutman residents to come in and use the library.
She also is looking for additional volunteers.
"We really hope that the dedication, designed to celebrate the new library, will help attract new members to our organization."