New Pages, New Faces at the Library

Sundae Horn
Mary poses with her favorite of the series: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Mary poses with her favorite of the series: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Ocracoke Library welcomes new librarian, Mary Bryant, and new books, too!

Mary started in her new position as head librarian on Monday, February 9th, and is hard at work improving the library for Ocracoke residents and visiting patrons. Stop by and introduce yourself! 

Mary is open to book suggestions, open to program ideas, open to creative use of the library – actually, she's just open. As in, open regular hours. You can expect to find her at the library during the posted hours of Monday – Friday, 3 – 7pm (on Wednesday, there's an extra hour 3 – 8pm). Jim Borland will staff the Saturday hours, which are changing to 3 – 7pm as of this weekend. Easy to remember, easy to find: you'll know the library is open when the blue flag is flying.

Her first achievement was to revive the Ocracoke Library Book Club! All are welcome on Tuesday, March 17th to discuss The Bookman's Tale by N. C. author Charlie Lovett. Stop by to check out a copy. Lovett will visit the library on March 24th and speak at the Friends of the Library annual meeting that evening. Mark your calendars!

Get your copy today!
Get your copy today!

Mary is eager to hear from patrons about books they want the library to purchase. Ocracoke Friends of the Library pays for a book subscription service so that Ocracoke can have the latest bestselling fiction and non-fiction hardcovers. She wants you to take advantage of it and let her know what you want to read.

As for Mary, she loves Harry Potter, history, biographies ("I've always liked biography – I read one of Sophia Loren when I was a kid."), children's books, and fiction ("John Grisham is my easy read, my comfort food in a book form.") And libraries, of course.

"Every city we lived in, I had a library card," she said.

Ocracoke is no exception (except for the city part – we're a village); Mary visited the Ocracoke Library shortly after moving to the island in July, and started working the Saturday hours in August.

Come on in!
Come on in!

Mary came to Ocracoke with her husband, Richard, when he was assigned as the new pastor at Ocracoke United Methodist Church. They arrived on Ocracoke by way of another magic isle – Ireland! – where they lived for two years while Richard pastored Methodist churches there. They were married in April 2011, and Mary says that the move overseas was her idea because Richard had lived and been so many interesting places (England, West Africa, Russia, and more), and she wanted to travel, too.

Mary's an East Carolina girl, born and raised New Bern, where she still has family. She majored in painting and art education at East Carolina University, attending college as a young mother. She has six kids – the three youngest, Jordan, Caroline, and Kenzie, attend Ocracoke School, but the other three have already left the nest. Mary's sons, Chip and Donnie, live in New Bern and her oldest daughter, Amber, lives in New York with her own kids, Gabriel, 8, and Lily, 6.

After graduating from ECU, Mary started working part-time in the WIC program in Craven County. She liked that work, especially the nutrition counseling, and eventually did it full-time in Craven and then Wake County before the move to Ireland. 

Their neighborhood library in Ireland was about 1/4 mile away from the parsonage, and it also had a performing arts center. Mary and the girls visited the library at least once a week, and their entire family enjoys reading. 

Mary likes getting book recommendations from friends and patrons. At the suggestion of his soulmate (me), she's going to try a Nick Hornby novel. His latest, Funny Girl, is one of the brand new books on the shelves. There's a bunch of new adult fiction and non-fiction books – go check them out! The library also has a nice selection of DVDs, and more new ones on the way.

In addition to updating the library's collection, Mary is busy beautifying the space and organizing the books we already have. She tackled the used-and-donated-books closet on her first day! She chose some for the collection, and put out some others for sale (proceeds benefit Friends of the Library, which in turn benefits the library). 

She is giving the library a mini-makover with new bulletin boards and seasonal decorations, and new book displays. She hopes to find some donated or loaned artwork to liven up the walls. 

The Ocracoke Library serves a dual purpose for the school and community. The community library is part of the tri-county, eight-library BHM system, which employs Mary. The school shares the space and has library classes there during the day.
New Pages, New Faces at the Library

Allison Moote is the Ocracoke School librarian and is nearing the end of a three-month leave of absence. She'll be back at the library on March 2nd, and both women say they are excited to work together. Expect to see great new changes in the children's room!

Another new service at the library is that Mary will teach you how to navigate the BHM website so you can log into the online catalog and manage your account yourself. You can put books on hold, pay your fines, and even renew books all by a few keystrokes or taps on your smartphone. Who knew?

Mary's hatching ideas for special library programs – perhaps one on internet use for older people, or resume-writing and help with job applications. She'd like to do arts and craft at the library, and get programs going for middle school-aged kids. When school lets out, she'll organize the annual Summer Reading Program, a celebration of books and fun. This year's theme is Every Hero Has a Story – a perfect fit for a Harry Potter fan. 

Mostly, she also loves welcoming people to the library and making it a friendly place to visit.

"I'd like to see more families come in," she said. "The library should be a place for families."

Lachlan poses with two of the books his donation purchased.
Lachlan poses with two of the books his donation purchased.

One of the library's most-devoted patrons is Lachlan Howard. He recently donated $53 to Friends of the Library from money he earned selling shells last summer. Shell stands are a lucrative business, as many an island kid has learned. (His bestseller is the Scotch Bonnet. Going rate: $2 each, $3 for the really pretty ones.) Lachlan's parents, Amy Howard and David Tweedie, strongly encourage (read: require) that he donate 10% of his profit to a good cause. 

"I've been doing it for a few years," he said, when asked about his generosity. With his donation, Lachlan provided Friends with a list of suggested books and magazine subscriptions for the library, and was excited to see some new books he wanted on the shelves. Why did he choose the library for his charity of choice?

"It's a huge selection of books that you can read for free as long as you don't get them overdue," he said, already on his way out the door with two new books in his backpack.

New Pages, New Faces at the Library



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