Rep. Patrick McHenry (R, NC-10) spent his Tuesday morning touring the Charles A. Jonas Public Library in Lincolnton.
During his visit, McHenry spoke with Lincoln County Public Library director Jennifer Sackett about the library’s current initiatives, as well as the programs being offered, including job-training and technological skills training.
McHenry also met two of the Lincoln County student library ambassadors.
“I wanted to see Lincoln County Library’s kids programs and outreach in action, especially their summer offerings,” McHenry said.
Sackett started off the tour by sharing with McHenry some of the recent renovations and resources that have been added to the facility. Over the past two years, the library has purchased kid-friendly furniture and lower bookshelves.
Through federal grants, Sackett has acquired additional digital resources, e-books, self-checkout technology and desktop computers for the library.
With the library’s last grant, Sackett purchased smartboards as well as laptops and iPads so each branch could have a mobile technology lab.
“Without having a facility for a lab in any of our branches, we figured a mobile cart could be charged and go into a vehicle to be taken to any branch library,” she said. “They could also go into the community, say, if there was a church or organization that wanted us to come to a class. We could put it in the vehicle and roll them out to them. We thought that made a whole lot more sense.”
Using the mobile technology lab devices, the library branches have been able to offer resume classes as well as early literacy and technology programs.
“A lot of people think the libraries are dying,” Sackett said. “But really, I think we’re in a transition…realistically, I think books and digital texts will continue to co-exist.”
“I’m a big believer in libraries…it’s important funding, and the impact you have with a relatively small dollar amount is outstanding,” McHenry said.
Congressman appointed chief deputy whip
As newly appointed chief deputy whip, McHenry hopes to use his leadership position to rally his fellow congressmen behind beneficial legislation.
“Being a part of the House leadership, I am able to more effectively bring forward conservative ideas…it enhances my ability to get things done for the region and the state and put good ideas into effect,” he said. “There are a lot of different opinions in Washington, and we are trying our best to move the ball forward with conservatism and getting good ideas put into law.”
According to McHenry, as chief deputy whip, it is the highest appointed position within the House Republican Conference, and in the organization charts, it is the fourth highest leadership position.
“On a daily basis, you try to move forward the policies and legislation that the House Republican Conference wants to get done,” he said. “You have to work to bring consensus in order to get a bill on the House floor, and you have to help the majority whip and leadership team reach those goals.
“It is an honor to live in Lincoln County, and it is a real privilege to represent Lincoln County and the district,” McHenry said. “I am always happy to be home, and my wife and I are blessed to be starting a family here.”