Rutherford County is reading country

May. 18, 2013 @ 04:53 AM

It’s time we herald a very special but overlooked benefit of living here.

We’re a veritable utopia for bookworms!

I should know; I’ve been addicted to reading all my life. And I can tell you our county has all the necessary traits conducive to curling up with a good book.

First and most obvious, there’s access to libraries.

I recently compared how many there are in Rutherford County compared to the county we moved from in Colorado. It’s almost even, with 10 branches in the Jefferson County, Colorado public library system and seven in Rutherford.

However, Rutherford County is considerably smaller in square miles, so access to a library is generally closer here. My own family no longer has to drive four miles to check out a book; we can just walk four blocks to the Spindale Library.

Actually, such a stroll is possible in several of our county’s towns where the libraries are located right on or near their respective Main Streets. And whoever’s in charge of marketing Rutherford County to prospective residents should make a point of mentioning this.

There’s something so classically All-American about a leisurely walk to the town library.

Most of our libraries also have regular story times and summer reading programs. A friend of mine says her little boy so loves Mrs. Amberleigh’s story time at the Spindale Library he plans his whole week around it.

I was thinking wistfully the other day that come this fall, Sage and I won’t be attending these anymore. He’ll be in kindergarten. But then I was told about the “Battle of the Books” contests in our elementary and middle schools where students compete to correctly answer questions about different books.

And you thought Soccer Moms were intense. I’m already envisioning myself cheering loudly for Sage after he correctly guesses the rat’s name in Charlotte’s Web.

Rutherford County is also a treasure trove of well-preserved vintage and antique books. My own collection is small but growing, thanks to our thrift stores and library book sales.

I’m particularly proud of my latest acquisition, a 10-set vintage volume of art books, complete with vividly colored illustration plates. The stock of paper is clearly superior to what such a set would be printed on today.

I got it for practically free at the Rutherford County Library book sale.

Other finds include a vintage copy of the complete works of Kipling, an antique Latin grammar book, an antique copy of Aesop’s Fables, and many vintage school books, including a 1940’s North Carolina history book for children.

This is just a sampling of some of the literary treasures I’ve found. It doesn’t even include the dozens of issues I’ve added to my collection of vintage magazines.

As I immerse myself in this reading material from bygone eras, I think about writing a book myself one day. Perhaps one that takes place in North Carolina’s storied past or even Rutherford County’s.

Funny, but I never considered writing a novel before moving here. Then again, I’d never written a newspaper column before, either. I mainly wrote sales and marketing material.

But it turns out Rutherford County isn’t just a good place to be a reader. It’s also a great place to inspire a writer.

 

Stephanie Janard is a mother and full-time copywriter. She lives in Spindale. To reach Stephanie, email sjanard@msn.com