The Sammy Brown library in Carthage, Texas, is a beautiful two-year-old facility that was founded by the service group called the Carthage Junior League. Building this library was a huge endeavor, completely supported by volunteer labor and donations. Now co-owned by the city and the county, it is an incredibly important part of this small community and a beautiful, welcoming building that made me, for one, excited about reading.
Carthage is a town where the love of reading is nurtured and fostered. Although fewer than seven thousand people live in the area, the circulation of this small-town library matches that of Longview Texas, which boasts 81,000-plus residents.
Story time is every Wednesday at 2 o’clock throughout the year and is actively supported both by preschoolers and a substantial group of home-schooled children.
Each year during summer vacation, the library features special programs to keep kids involved in reading. Children’s Coordinator Kim Speer-Turner encourages young readers to keep a reading log in order to track the time they spend reading. They collect stickers for time spent reading, and when they accumulate a full log of stickers, they receive a prize. Prizes are also given out for returning books by their due date. Author visits are sponsored by Chevron International during the summer months to give kids a personal experience with the writing world.
This summer’s theme is “Superheroes: Every hero has a story.” My book Superhero was one of the books featured in July. I was invited to do a reading of Superhero and share a presentation about another hero of mine, Sir Kaye, the Boy Knight. The young attendees and their parents joined in the discussion about life in the middle ages, castles, and what makes a person a hero. It was a lovely, attentive group, and the gracious residents of Carthage made me feel right at home.
I want to commend this charming small-town library for its stellar staff and their excellent work in cultivating a love of reading and books. It was a pleasure to see the results it has had on the kids of Carthage!