Steeped in history and rooted in community, the Weaverville Library’s centralized location downtown is fitting to its role as a centerpiece of the town. Adjacent to Main Street and residing in the historic First Baptist Church of Weaverville since 1979, this branch’s proximity to the main throughfare creates a foundation for being a focal point of residents and passersby alike. Librarian Ruth Van Sickle notes the branch’s visibility helps draw attention. “Everyone who comes through town sees the library and many stop in. We have regular patrons and out-of-town guests come in to use our computers, shop the used bookstore, and to see inside the 1920s church,” says Ruth. Proximity to downtown’s hustle and bustle certainly helps bring in the foot traffic, as Librarian Meredith Eudy observes, “We have many patrons who come in multiple times throughout the week, some stop by daily, even if only to say hello as they are passing by,” she says. “We are a small library, but we are not a quiet library. We stay surprisingly busy and serve as a social hub for the community. We often witness friends and neighbors running into each other or children squealing because they spotted a friend from school.”
Adorned with a stained-glass window and light fixtures from the original church, along with a table once belonging to famous writer O. Henry, this branch is where the past is honored and the present needs of the community are met. From computers with Wi-Fi to myriad programming for babies, toddlers, and kids; the Weaverville Library works to provide traditional services while being responsive to the needs of their guests. “The collection, physical space, and staff are all a direct reflection of the community. We serve the town of Weaverville and quite a bit of the surrounding area, including parts of Madison County,” says Librarian Stephen Bakes. “But despite that large patron base, Weaverville library keeps the feeling of a small-town library.”
So, what makes a small-town library? Librarian Kristina Vassallo says the branch’s welcoming feel creates a unique atmosphere. “I love seeing all our library users and saying hello when they walk in… Talking book recommendations with patrons or just friendly chatting about crafts, gardens, baking, and much more. This all creates the community feeling of the library, which is the magic of libraries if you ask me,” exclaims Kristina. Piggybacking on that sentiment, Branch Manager Jesse Figuera says it’s everything from having “lush and happy plants” throughout the space to a “dedicated and sincere” staff. It’s also about finding unique ways to meet needs. “I like to surprise patrons with new programs and services. I most enjoy trying different ideas out to see what resonates with our community. Patrons come in often just to see what’s happening,” explains Jesse. “I’m proud and grateful every day to be a part of this wonderful team working in a library that means so much to our small town.”
And what’s going on is a diverse and robust number of services from a house plant exchange to the clean slate craft swap, and the take and play game and puzzle library to the seed library; the number of interests represented is a testament to the staff’s interactions with their patrons. A large part of that patronage are the youngest of library visitors. “We offer two weekly story times at the Weaverville Library. Baby story time is always a full house and one of the sweetest parts of the week. I have seen many new parents meet and make genuine connections with one another that continue to grow outside of the library,” says Meredith. “Preschool story time is also a very joyful part of the week. Every week I choose books and songs to fit a theme and finish off with a fun craft. We have been hosting tiny tots yoga twice a month for about six months now, and it has been so popular that it will likely be a permanent fixture at our library.”
Of course, a major driver in helping fund all the unique services and programming is the dedication and hard work of the Friends of the Weaverville Library (FOWL). “They show up every day to assist us in countless ways. They run the used bookstore, which is on the lower level of the library and open to the public four days a week,” says Jesse. “The money they make goes directly to library materials and programming. FOWL helps make our dreams come true.”
While the Weaverville Library embraces its small-town identity, it’s evident that it always seeks to keep growing its resources, programming, and services to epic proportions. In fact, Jesse says the library’s unofficial slogan is: “Weav Got a Lot Growing On!" So come on down to Main Street and find out how the Weaverville Library will continue to be a resource as you grow and learn throughout your life.
Weaverville 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: Jesse Figuera, Meredith Eudy, Kristina Vassallo, Ruth Van Sickle, and Stephen Bakes
Resources, services, and offerings: Book club, story times, computer access, free Wi-Fi, printing and copying, faxing, research help, hotspot lending, ongoing used book sale.
Unique services and hidden gems: Puzzle and board game check out, house plant exchange, seed library, tiny tots yoga, watercolor class, magazine exchange, baby story time, preschool story time, clean slate craft swap, kindergartners and first graders walk up for story time and story telling once a month from the local Weaverville Primary School,teen Dungeons & Dragons here 1-2 x monthly, Weekly Outreach to the Senior Meal Site next door at the Weaverville Baptist Church.
Additional thoughts from staff:
- “Miss Jesse is extremely active in the community and works with key library staff on outreach programs, including setting up a table at the tail gate market and bringing hand-selected reading materials for the Senior Meals Site program at the church next door.” – Stephen
- “Our library is an active part of our community; we strive to reflect the support we feel from our community members and our hard-working Friends of the Weaverville Library group. Our staff are dedicated and sincere. I say we make up for our lack of parking with excellent customer service.” – Jesse
- “The Weaverville Library is special because of the community we create here. This branch has a happy and welcoming feel where all members of the community come to enjoy the space. From seeing our youngest patrons coming for baby time or our long-time patrons talking about how long they have been coming to the library. Even to our new members of the community that are just setting up library cards for the first time, which is one my favorite things.” – Kristina
- “Patrons often greet or ask for us by name. Everyone on staff here transferred from different branches or roles within the past three years, several either just before or during the COVID lockdown. When we reopened our doors, the patrons returned to all new faces with several of the previous librarians having retired or transferred elsewhere. It took a little time for patrons to adjust, but we have truly been graciously embraced by our community. Everyone currently on staff lives either in Weaverville or very close to Weaverville. It really is a special experience to serve the community in which we live. I get spotted in the wild by patrons, especially children, all the time. I feel grateful to be here.” - Meredith