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Debbie McLean, assistant librarian at Morrison Public Library, keeps the selection of the latest
books up to date and in order near the entrance to the library.
Photo by Matthew Hundley

Originally published: 2012-06-28 09:58:54
Last modified: 2012-06-28 10:03:03

Avery County Great: Morrison Public Library

Given how much information has changed in the past decade, it can be easy to forget what a public library can do for its community. More than just a place to borrow books, Avery County’s Morrison Library provides a broad range of opportunities for all of Avery’s citizens.

Debbie McLean, assistant librarian at Morrison Library, sat down with The Avery Journal-Times to describe some of the services that Avery County residents would have to do without if the library was not there to help make Avery County Great.

At the heart of a library are two services: access and opportunity. Both of those encompass a wealth of services that the people of Avery County, thankfully, do not have to do without. 


Morrison Public Library provides its patrons with access to a wealth of materials, many of which may be surprising to some. 

In addition to its broad collection of books with content ranging across the centuries, the library also provides information to help keep its patrons up-to-date, including a current collection of magazines (which are also available for borrowing) and newspapers, which range from you own hometown newspaper, The Avery Journal-Times, to The Wall Street Journal and USA Today. 

For those who prefer peering into the past, Morrison Library houses a special collection in its North Carolina Room. This special room contains the essential materials for in-depth genealogical and local research. With its extensive census, historic and genealogical records, Morrison Library’s North Carolina Room is a treasure trove for the family or local historian.

Internet access, including wireless, is still one of the most crucial services the library provides. 

“So many people do not have access to internet. It is too costly or it’s just not available,” said McLean, explaining the value of the service to the community. 

Besides getting patrons online, the library also provides additional services once they get to the library homepage, including a language learning program and access to NCLive, a massive database of informational and technical resources, as well as entertainment such as downloadable books and audiobooks. 


All of that access to information would be futile if the library did not also provide opportunities for patrons to pursue their democratic duties, educational goals and hopes for their children.

One of the most important services that the library provides to promote democracy and open discussion is access to its meeting room, which can be reserved in advance for meetings that meet a few simple criteria.

“It is a meeting room for cultural, civic and educational purposes,” explained McLean.

The library also provides opportunities for parents to promote literacy in their children through various children’s programs, including an extended summer program that runs through July and a story hour for pre-school children during the school year.

“We are such a hub for everybody,” said McLean, reflecting on the libraries broad range of services. “We are trying to be everything that we can be.”

Whether or not they are registered patrons of Morrison Public Library, every citizen in Avery County benefits from the institution. By promoting literacy, democracy, discussion and research opportunities, the library helps build Avery County’s future through its youth, government and community. 

“I think that the library is the gem of Avery County. It is one of the most important things we have,” said McLean. “I don’t know what the county would be like without a library. I wish there were two.”