Hot Story Time

I suppose some of you clicked on the title hoping for a hot story?  Well, maybe you can find one where I’m about to send you: The Chapel Hill Public Library.

While we swelter or cope with tropical and copious rain or smile at a surprisingly cool morning, reading stays hot at the library with a cool (sorry!) summer reading program for kids, teens, and adults.  Each group has it’s own set of rules and you read independently and keep track of your hours online (for kids and teens) or submit reviews (adults).  

I believe a good book is its own reward but the library has sweetened the pot, coming up with the possibility of prizes along the way thanks to the Friends of the Chapel Hill Public Library and many local retailers.  And there’s a chance at one of three grand prizes:  The Chapel Hill Public Library Foundation (of which I am a member) has donated three Kindle Touch e-readers for one lucky participant from each age group.  The winner will be selected from a random drawing of readers who have reached his or her reading goals.  

If you’re concerned too much of the summer calendar has turned, no worries!  You can join and be eligible.  Just stop in the library, still at its temporary location in University Mall, or click here for more information.

Some of you regular readers may smile – or roll your eyes- at how I twist some of these columns into pretzels to fit within my topic of “savvy spending”.  Is there any resource as precious as time?  Are there many better ways to spend it than to lose yourself in a well-written story?  Or to learn something brand new?  Or to finally understand something that’s eluded you?  Or to see an idea from a new perspective? Or to put your troubles aside and escape into a fairy tale?  I submit there’s no asset so filled with riches as are books. 

Losing myself in a book has saved me from going nuts during long airport delays, nerve-wracking doctor’s office waits, and even from the tension of a less-than-peaceful home growing up.  But I am grateful to books not just for what they’ve taken me from but also for what they’ve given me.  I’ve learned about centuries I’ll never see, countries I may never get to visit, and sensibilities that wouldn’t have occurred to me.  My favorite gift from books is the characters I’ve met who are now part of my world and enrich it long after I’ve finished their stories.  

I’m so happy to see my son shares this love of reading and I know it will nourish him forever.  I’d love to take credit either through nature or nurture but, like many parents, I have J.K. Rowling to thank!

The love of reading is a gift I wish all of you.  If you need some prodding to dive in to this terrific world, check out the Chapel Hill Public Library’s Summer Reading Program.  Let me know if you do and what good books you find.  Leave a comment below or write to me at

Ensuring Excellence

Somewhere close to a year from now a jewel of our community will reopen: The Chapel Hill Public Library, newly renovated and expanded.  It will offer more than 62,000 feet of Wi-Fi space available for meetings and programs, high-tech instruction, reading advancement, teen initiatives and, of course, a larger collection of print and non-print materials for all.  

(Click here for construction photos)

The Chapel Hill Public Library Foundation is embarking on an ambitious effort to support the library’s growth and renewal with a campaign to raise money to augment the collections and programs as well as contribute to the furnishings of the renovated building.  

What is the Library Foundation?  The Library Foundation provides private support to enhance programs and services, with a special emphasis upon enriching collections. This private support supplements what the town spends to run the library.  

I’m fairly sure that when I write of the library, many of you reading this will know all about it.  Why?  Because Chapel Hill’s library is the most used public library of its size in North Carolina, setting a record each year for the largest circulation per capita state-wide.  

As public budgets tighten, more people turn to the library for more kinds of materials, programs and services.  They include the expected books (print, audio, and electronic), access to computers and e-readers, CD’s and DVD’s, and many databases. 

So while it’s a healthy list of what each patron can get from the library; let’s take a look at what the community as a whole gets:  an institution that goes a long way to creating well-informed citizens. Sociologists tell us that creates better educated and more prosperous families, and a skilled workforce prepared to compete in a knowledge-based economy.

It is then obvious why the foundation would call its campaign “Ensuring Excellence.”  Here are the ways in which your gift can ensure excellence:

  • Collections Fund:  This fund supports the acquisition and accessibility of print and non-print materials for our adults, teens, and children. 
  • Program Fund: Supporting educational, civic, cultural, and recreational programs for all though there’s a special emphasis on programs for children and teens. In today’s world students have many choices on how to allocate and spend their time. Research proves that those who choose to read have better test scores and are more likely to succeed in the workforce.  Initiatives supported by this fund will also go toward encouraging critical thinking among students who now use the internet as their primary resource. 
  • Digital Initiative Fund: Supporting the exploration, implementation, and expansion of emerging and existing technologies.
  • Furnishings Fund: Furnishings and art for the new Library with an emphasis on the teen and children’s spaces.                                                     
  • Library General Support Fund:  Supporting all aspects of library service.  
  • Foundation General Support Fund: Supporting the annual operating costs of the Foundation. 

Your donation will be recognized and all gifts to the Chapel Hill Public Library Foundation are charitable donations and are tax-deductible under the full extent of the law.  Click here to find out how to give.  

I’d love to hear from you about how you use the library.  Leave a comment below or write to me at  By the way, full disclosure: I’m on the foundation’s board.  But I’m participating because I absolutely believe that investing in minds is the best investment any of us can make.  That’s some Savvy Spending!