The year 2020 marked Henderson County Clint W. Murchison Memorial Library's 100th year of service to the community. Director Michelle Zenor Director topped off the centennial celebrations by burying a time capsule Tuesday on the library’s grounds.

The capsule documents the past century and contains mementos of this very unusual year,” she stated. “Many extraordinary things happened at the library in 2020.”

One of the Centennial additions included a beautiful custom-designed stained glass window, commissioned by the Friends of the Library and installed in the transom over the front doors. The colorful likeness of a shelf of books books now glow as the sun comes through the main doors.

The library did not let the pandemic cancel all of its plans for 2020 and adapted its programs to continue to serve the community.

When COVID restrictions forced the library to suspend in-person programs in the spring, the library started a YouTube channel and became a geocache site,” Zenor stated. “Geocachers can visit the library and pick up a token representing the library.”

When summer arrived along with the summer reading program, the library was unable to host events, so Zenor made arrangements to partner with the East Texas Arboretum holding educational performances in the outdoor pavilion. Clowns, puppet shows and story time were hosted with chairs set six feet apart. The modifications made a way for the children to still enjoy the program that normally has great participation. A Halloween costume parade for the children finished the activities.

Libraries are full of books, educational materials and knowledge. Building on this, educational opportunities and contributions were pursued in an effort to continue assisting Henderson County residents in new ways. Friends of the Library created a new scholarship to assist future librarians with their education. The library also partnered with the Athens Farmers Market for a children’s book giveaway making them available to anyone that requested one. 

We want kids to read, that is what we do,” Zenor said. 

For the young at heart, the second-annual Comic-Con was hosted in October at the Texan where cosplayers mingled with local authors and artists showcasing their crafts. Comic-Con was the creation of Renotta Mayo, the assistant library director, and has been very successful. Hundreds of people dressed up and attended the annual event.

In 2020, the library loaned more than 24,000 books and more than 12,000 electronic books to residents of Henderson County,” Zenor stated. “The library remains dedicated to improving literacy skills of all members of our community and looks forward to providing accredited library services far into the future.

The library offers a great escape for those who are still sheltering in place, for children doing virtual learning and a host of resources for the community. Libraries in modern times offer more than books both physically and electronically. They offer the community resources and socialization including internet, computer services, clubs, children’s activities, audio books and for some a warm place to come in out of the weather. 

Visit the library from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday at 121 S. Prairieville St. Library cards are free. Visit www.hendersoncountylibrary.com for upcoming events.

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For a brief history of the Henderson County Library, view a previous article at: https://www.athensreview.com/news/henderson-county-library-turns-100/article_0b922956-33e1-11ea-ab8b-73922abefc71.html

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Geocaching is the worlds largest treasure hunt. Geocachers can visit numerous sites to collect tokens from each place. A Geocaching account is free to set up and apps are available on both Apple and Android platforms. More information can be found here, https://www.geocaching.com/play

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