Black Mountain library prepares to celebrate 100 years of service

Ezra Maille
Black Mountain News
The Black Mountain Public Library prepares to celebrate 100 years of service in July by collecting historical artifacts and outlining what the future holds for the department.

The Black Mountain Public Library outlined plans to celebrate 100 years of service to the community in July 2022 by looking at the department's past, present and future.

"We would like to stay in the building, on this parcel of land, but have some much needed improvements," said Melisa Pressley, the Black Mountain Library branch manager. "For staff and patrons."

Chronicling the library's history, from when it began in 1922 and then moving to multiple different locations throughout Black Mountain, remains a priority for the librarians. Pressley said for the anniversary, the library aims to showcase its history as well as where the library staff hope to take it in the future. 

Since it was decided that the library should remain in its current location, the librarians want to show what the future will look like. 

The main improvements the town and staff would like to see, based on surveys that were sent out during the pandemic, include better lighting within the building, remodeling the bathrooms to be more ADA accessible, creating a separate room just for younger readers and expanding to provide small, quiet areas for community members to study and conduct meetings. 

Pressley said the education room in the building has a capacity for 120 people, a size she said feels like a good amount for the community. 

Melisa Pressley, branch manager of the Black Mountain Public Library, outlined her goals for the celebration in July as well as where she hopes to see the library in the future.

"We want to be able to continue to let groups use the room for free for their meetings and events," Pressley said. "We don't have a lot of spaces in Black Mountain for people to meet." 

In addition to improvements for patrons, the seven library staff members share a small office and could use a separate work space to process materials and have more room for desks. While staff has found virtual meetings to work well, the format requires more privacy than the space allows. 

The virtual library "went through the roof" as a result of the pandemic, according to Pressley. In the department, virtual meetings allow much more flexibility for staff who no longer need to travel in-person to other branches. 

Pressley asked that community members submit anything related to the Black Mountain library, from any time period, for the anniversary in July. Things such as remnants of the original circulation desk, made from paneling from the old bowling alley that closed, as well as any other historical memorabilia, Pressley said, would be welcomed through June. 

"Just anything," Pressley said. "Pictures, letters, newspaper clippings, anything."