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Flying High: Leicester Library Provides Community Heartbeat with Distinct Views & Offerings

Leicester  Library

Go fly a kite. Seriously. Head to the Leicester Library, check out a kite, and enjoy one of Buncombe County’s most unique resources while taking in the tranquil rolling hills that make this location’s views among the best in our region. At just 20 years young, this branch fast became a vital part of the Leicester community. “Our patrons are the heartbeat of the library. The quirkiness of some, the happiness of others, the stressed ones, and the calm ones; they all add to the specialness of the library,” explains Librarian Hulda Pollock, adding that getting to personally know the patrons is a cherished part of the job. In fact, Branch Manager Anna Booraem says everyone feeds off each other. “The staff and the community have a great vibe. We all seem to have a healthy respect for our differences and an appreciation for this beautiful part of the County, as well as everything the library is about – books, community, resources, and connection,” she says.

In fact, it’s a consensus that this little library on the hill has a mutually complimentary relationship with its surroundings. “Leicester is such a tight-knit and welcoming community, and the library gets to be a reflection of that. Our patrons always seem genuinely happy to be here, which makes it a really positive environment for everyone,” notes Librarian Brady, who shares that beyond people power, the branch actually operates on solar energy. The future really is bright at the Leicester Library, and it’s largely because the staff never stops imagining new ways to be innovative and immersive with its community. Youth Services Specialist Jen Burger says one of the best parts of the job is positively influencing patrons’ lives through resources, experiences, and programs. “Interactions and relationships with kids, families, staff, and patrons is paramount,” she exclaims. And they’re always looking for ways to build on those relationships from unique programming to circulating relevant library displays. “The staff design amazing displays to highlight specific collections or commemorate historically, culturally, or socially notable events. These displays are always interesting and energize the space with materials (and knowledge) that might otherwise remain unseen and unappreciated in the stacks,” explains Jen.

The Leicester Library definitely takes advantage of its gorgeous campus for specialized  services and events. The Giving Garden is a volunteer-driven effort that donates its annual crop yield to local charities. It’s also a vehicle for fellowship and one of Librarian Monica Van Hall’s favorite assets of the branch. She says the quarterly family events associated with the Giving Garden are always appreciated. “Our last one was an outdoor movie night where families cozied up on the lawn with blankets and we served soup and snacks and watched ‘Encanto.’ Everyone had a great time,” shares Monica. And if that outdoor movie adjacent to the Giving Garden inspires your own green thumb, head over to the branch’s free seed library and mingle with the library at the monthly farmers market.

Back inside, the Leicester librarians work diligently to provide everything from rotating art displays to vital resources. “Many patrons do not have internet service, they appreciate our free Wi-Fi and also how we take time to help our patrons with anything related to technology,” says Librarian Melissa Ackert. She also shares a tip about weather watching from their unique perch. “The views of the seasons and thunderstorms are amazing here,” exclaims Melissa.

From the rolling thunder to the steady heartbeat provided by staff and patrons; the Leicester Library is always pulsing with creativity, passion, a desire to meet its community’s needs. Take a drive up the hill to discover what makes this branch a towering resource for Leicester and beyond.

Leicester Library overview

Hours: Tuesday 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Wednesday-Friday 10 a.m-6 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Staff: Anna Booraem, Branch Manager; Jen Burger, Youth Services Specialist; Hulda Pollock, Library Assistant; Brady, Library Assistant; Melissa Ackert, Library Assistant; Monica Van Hall, Library Assistant

Resources, services, and offerings: Art exhibit space, book clubs, computer access, free Wi-fi, meeting room, ongoing used book sale, outdoor seating, printing and copying, research help, story times and other programs for kids and adults.

Unique services and hidden gems: Giving Garden; outdoor space; kite check-out; seed library; local art display; Ms. Jen’s super fun scavenger hunts; booth at the Leicester Farmers Market (monthly); DVD collection; YMCA Mobile Market onsite once a month.

Additional thoughts from staff:

  • “The drive to work is pretty amazing – up there on the top of my list of job perks. But also the connections with our community through books and programs and my awesome, creative, and friendly coworkers.” – Anna
  • “The location Leicester Library makes it so unique. The building is situated on top of a hill and with a beautiful panorama of the mountains.” – Jen
  • “The seed library and the Giving Garden allow people an opportunity to grow their own food and eat locally grown produce.” – Hulda
  • “I love our staff picks and patron picks displays, they give both employees and patrons the opportunity to share our favorite books.” – Brady
  • “Patrons love our DVD collection and being able to order books and film from other locations.” -- Melissa
  • “Our library is a hidden gem, one of the more remotely located libraries in the county and thus one of the least-visited by community members who don’t live here. Our library is so tranquil, the location is stunning, and our patrons are friendly and appreciative of our services.” -- Monica

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Updated May 19, 2023 12:38 PM
Published May 10, 2023 07:00 AM

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