The mission of the High Point Public Library is nurturing the joy of reading, sharing the power of knowledge, strengthening the sense of community, and enhancing cultural and economic vitality. It’s a mission that Children’s Services Manager Jim Zola takes to heart.
“We’re very focused on outreach through our bookmobile and other programs,” Zola said. “We’re very involved with voting and early literacy, for example. We’re also working with the schools through our KinderCard program. We want every kindergartener in High Point schools to have a library card.”
The pandemic has naturally affected this outreach. “I do storytimes for one and two-year-olds and miss those in-person events,” Zola said. “We’ve done virtual and recorded storytimes on Facebook, but I miss the interaction with the children and their parents and caregivers. When the weather’s nice, we’ve taken our programs outdoors, so we’ve been able to keep it going. Our take-home kits have been another way to connect with families.”
The library’s bookmobile has been an essential part of this outreach. “Our bookmobile goes to home child care centers in the mornings to bring books and share storytimes,” he said. “In the afternoons, the bookmobile goes out into the community, where we partner with Growdega mobile pantry to visit neighborhoods that have low incomes, transportation needs, and food insecurity. Our bookmobile not only provides resources they need, in book and program form, but it’s also a wi-fi hotspot neighbors can access while we’re there.”
Zola has been looking forward to February when the High Point Library plans to resume in-person programming. The programs will require registration so group sizes can be observed. The library will hold yoga for kids and programs around Valentine’s Day and Black History Month this month.
Partnering with Ready for School, Ready for Life (Ready Ready) and Reach Out and Read, Zola and the library staff are working on a program that would connect with local hospitals to provide books for parents of newborns. “We want them to have a little backpack with board books and information about early literacy, including The Basics Guilford, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, and Reach Out and Read. We hope to encourage them to come to the library with their little ones.”
Zola points out that library programs extend beyond providing books on shelves inside a building. “We’re really concerned about health and do programs about nutrition for children and adults. We’re concerned about the homeless population – we serve breakfast in the library one morning each week so we can keep in touch and find out how we can help with needs like coats during the winter, for example.”
The library offers programs on finance and a business center to support High Point residents. “As a community, we won’t survive without unity,” Zola said. “We’re trying to help in all different ways, not just asking people to come in and check out books.”
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