To say the staff, especially the library director, Jennifer Sackett, are excited about what the new library in the western end of the county will have to offer would be an understatement. Construction is close to being finished and now Sackett and Phillip Overholtzer, the Lincoln County Public Library’s program and outreach coordinator, want to get children engaged in the opening of the new library.

To do this, the library is launching a bookmark contest where children will be able to design a bookmark which will be made part of the grand opening of the library.

“We want to find out why they think the library and reading is important to them and what it means to them,” Sackett said. “This is a neat way to let them express their creativity as well as their passion for reading in the library. We’re asking kids to express how they view the library and reading through a creative bookmark contest.”

In designing the bookmark, children can’t use any copyrighted material such as superheroes, Disney princesses or the like. They can use anything else that they imagine – what it is that draws them to books and reading.

“So rather than buying a pre-printed bookmark, we thought this would be a neat opportunity to showcase what kids think about reading,” Sackett said. 

Overholtzer added that the library wants to partner with schools in Lincoln County as well as homeschool groups to allow children to have some sort of ownership in the new library.

“We want this to be a building that glues the community together, especially with the schools being so close to it,” he said. “We’re really hoping that this will show that the libraries and schools will be working together, not only now but in the future to come. This is just the beginning of it.”

The new library will be located on Shoal Road in Vale and it’s designed differently than any of the other libraries in the Lincoln County system. 

“It still has books, obviously, which are central to our literacy mission, but it also has learning spaces and collaborative spaces,” Sackett said. “It offers the opportunity to not just go in and absorb information but to meet, collaborate and create. That’s the goal, moving forward, is that patrons who walk in here won’t just learn from what’s here, but they’ll actually contribute to that knowledge base. Not everybody learns the same way. This is going to give them the opportunity to not only see things but to try them.”

There will be a children’s program room, a maker’s space which will cover everything from arts, painting and crafts to technology. There’s also a dedicated teen area which will be the first of its kind. The library will be partnering with Lincoln County agencies like the Department of Social Services to provide office hours at the new library. There will be meeting rooms available to the public as well as quiet study rooms. One of the rooms is a large community meeting room which can hold up to 100 people.

The Lincoln County Parks and Recreation Department will be starting their phase of the project soon. When the land was donated, it was donated for a library with a passive park on the land. There will be no ball fields but there’ll be trails, a multi-age playground, a picnic shelter and open lawn space. Phases later on in the project will include an amphitheater which could be used as an outdoor classroom.

“We’re planning a grand opening event to showcase what the library can do,” Sackett said. “I’m excited and hope the community is too.”

The deadline for the bookmarks is Jan. 15. Entries must be turned into the main library in Lincolnton. They have to be drawn on the form below. It’s also available online and at all library branches. There are four categories, kindergarten to second grade, third through fifth grade, sixth through eighth and ninth through 12th. Questions can be directed to any library branch. The winning bookmarks will be available at the grand opening. The winners will be gifted a pack of the bookmarks.

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