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Books search for permanent home

KELFORD – A public library is taken for granted in many communities.

Not so in the northwest corner of Bertie County.

People in the Kelford and Roxobel communities, however, have taken matters into their own hands. They have formed a roving library that offers to meet the reading needs of residents in the area while still looking for a permanent home.

Saturday morning a group of youngsters gathered for a story time in the Kelford Community Building with retired children’s librarian Sherrie Bolton. While the children were participating in story time, adults browsed the library books to make their selections.

In all 44 books were checked out of the roving library, allowing Kelford and Roxobel residents to enjoy the same reading advantages of other communities.

“People come in and check out books and they can return them either at our next event or by returning them at one of the drop-off points located at each town hall,” said Lisa Briley, a member of the library’s board of directors.

The first event was held in January at the Roxobel Community Building. That first-time event drew a handful of interested residents, but the second event in Kelford drew even more response.

The dream of having a library in the two neighboring communities was first shared by two residents of Kelford – Edie Farris and Alice Parker.

“Both women saw the need for reading material in the Roxobel-Kelford area,” said Gayle Rimel.

Farris sponsored a church library at Kelford Baptist Church while Parker contributed books to Sandy Run Baptist Church in Roxobel. While the effort helped churches, it didn’t extend to the entire community.

In August of 2008, Pat Brogdan, Janet Boschen and Rimel met informally and discussed the possibility of starting a community library which would be open to both communities and others in the region. That led to a book swap at the annual bazaar held at Sandy Run.

During the event, Briley, Brogdan and Linda Pruden spoke to visitors about the long history of the region. They also received 35 boxes of donated books, including a truck load that was given by Pam Baker Ellis.

Briley followed up the donations with a phone call to Gary Hoyle, the Director of the Albemarle Regional Library System. Hoyle met with a group including Briley, Brogdan, Rimel and Ada Flood, in March of 2009 and encouraged them to start small and move forward.

The group went before the Kelford Town Council and the Roxobel Town Council and received support from both.

In August of last year, the library volunteers officially organized, becoming the Roxobel-Kelford Library Board. At that time they appointed Bolton as the head librarian.

That led to the two events that have been held this year as the fledgling library board works to establish a permanent home for their book collection.

“We have received quite a few donations from people who have given from their personal library,” Briley said. “Also, because of the first event, a Windsor couple donated a large group of brand new books.”

While the roving library concept has been successful thus far, Briley said the board is looking for a permanent home in Kelford or Roxobel.

“We have had shelving donated, desks, a copier, books – all we need is a building to put them in,” Briley said.

Once a permanent home is found, the library board hopes to provide computer access for children and a literacy program for adults. They also plan to have an extensive display about local history.

“We have several people in the community who have done research about our history and they are holding onto it until we have a permanent place to put it,” Briley said.

They also have a large collection of local artwork which would be displayed in a library building once they secure one.

Anyone wishing to contribute to the library should contact Flood at 344-9948 or at P.O. Box 61, Roxobel, NC 27872.

The next roving library event will be April 17 at the Roxobel Community Building.