In Honor of: 
Public Library of Johnston County and Smithfield
Smithfield, North Carolina, USA
Why I Love My Library: 

The Public Library of Johnston County and Smithfield should be a wonderful example to other libraries how a building meant to house books can instead house a community. Don't get me wrong, the books are an important part of the service provided by this library, but I would say that they're nowhere near the most important part.

The staff of the Public Library of Johnston County and Smithfield has cultivated an important place in the community, for residents of both the town and county, that offers so many more educational opportunities beyond those typically afforded by a library. In the next two weeks alone, they will be offering an event so that patrons can learn about the library's new e-book system, an internet basics class, and an origami class. These are in addition to their ongoing book clubs, children's programs, a monthly needle-in where people can learn about knitting, crocheting, and quilting, and an active teen program that includes book clubs, literary events, and SAT/ACT prep, among many other things.

Beyond its educational offerings, the Public Library of Johnston County and Smithfield offers community events to bring people into the library, such as an annual Christmas-time Gingerbread Festival, which features very impressive entries from throughout the community. Food for Fines Week is popular at the Library, which offers patrons with overdue materials to bring in non-perishable food items to satisfy their fines; the food is then donated to the Smithfield Rescue Mission. The gallery in their entrance features a rotating display of art from local and prominent artists, as well as exhibits about the area and its history.

In a day and age where (almost) everything can be found with a quick Internet search, the Library still attracts people to do their research, both in the Library's materials and online, school-aged children to do their homework, and some daily patrons just to read the newspaper.

The Library plays an important role in the lives of many people here, and I am glad to be one of those, since the late 80s when my mother would bring my sister and me to the Library for story time and to check out books, which we would devour within a few hours. While my usage of the Library has changed over the years, I can honestly say that they provide as much, if not more, service today as they did when I was little. As they continue to change with the times, I can't wait to see what's next!

Sarah