This week, let’s celebrate the power of the book

From Lee Keesler, CEO, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library and Molly Griffin, Chair, Library Board of Trustees:

This week is National Library Week, an occasion our community will celebrate by coming together to read and discuss Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury’s 1950s novel that explores themes of reading, education and intellectual freedom. Charlotte Mecklenburg Library is joined by educational, public and community partners to host events and create a community dialogue inspired by the book. Community members are invited to participate in “One Book” by reading the book and joining in fun events and discussions found at

When people gather together to read and discuss a book, good things happen. Community happens, as people connect and engage when our popular culture seems to separate and divide us. Literacy happens, the foundational skill set required in the toolbox of life. Lifelong learning happens, preparing people for enriched and productive lives. Goals and dreams happen, as the written word in various media inspires readers of all ages with what they can achieve.

Likewise, when communities visit their local library in person or online, more good things happen.

Learning to read becomes a family affair; middle and high-schoolers get homework help; people find jobs and start businesses; scholars research, writers write, and readers read; and people stay connected in an increasingly digital world. One in four Mecklenburg residents currently uses the Library actively in these and other ways, and that number continues to grow as our community grows.

Our Library is strong again with positive operating momentum, good direction and a unique vantage point to serve Charlotte-Mecklenburg from the intersection of community, literacy and information.

Based on significant public input gathered during our 2013 strategic planning process, we are focused on increasing community engagement and awareness of the Library’s impact and offerings; innovating to broaden 21st century access to the Library; and strengthening our operational excellence, fiscal stability and sustainability. We aspire to being an increasingly relevant, engaged, accessible, digital and sustainable contributor to our community.

The Library is grateful for patrons who use our libraries, staff and volunteers who make the library experience a good one for their fellow citizens, public and private stakeholders who provide us with financial resources, and partners who collaborate with us to serve the community. Special thanks go to our partners at Mecklenburg County for their critically important financial and technical assistance.

With continued support from these and other sources, we intend to fulfill this promise to the community: Accessible and welcoming to all, our public library celebrates the joy of reading, fosters learning and growth, connects people to each other and the world and inspires individuals with what they can achieve.