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Supporting Our Local Library in Swain County, NC

Milestone Press may be an outdoor publisher, but not all our work—and not all our discoveries—happen in the great outdoors.

Last weekend we participated in our local library’s Read Local Book Fair, where library patrons get a chance to peruse books written about and produced in the local area, and meet the authors. About 12 other authors participated, and we were in good company: among others, our friend George Ellison, historian, essayist, poet, and naturalist, was there with his latest book, Literary Excursions in the Southern Highlands. Marianna Black Library is in the process of raising funds—and consciousness—for a new library building. All the books on the author tables were for sale, with a portion of the proceeds going to the library fund.

Besides all the positive energy that was generated talking with authors about the Southern Appalachians and local writing and publishing in general, not to mention the possibility of a new library building, we got a chance to talk about Jim Parham’s forthcoming guidebook, Mountain Bike Trails: North Georgia Mountains & Southeast Tennessee, which will be released in April. And of course we got a chance to appreciate again the value of our little local library and the part it plays in the greater Fontana Regional Library framework.

Walking through the library stacks to stretch my legs, a book on Ancient Greece for young adults caught my eye. Before a trip to Greece 3 years ago, I did a lot of internet research to prepare. But I didn’t think of using the library as a resource–and how I wish I’d read this book before we left; I would have better understood what we were seeing. It had great pictures and gave short histories of many of the sites we visited, all in one concise volume. I took it with me back to the Milestone Press table, and at the end of the book fair, I couldn’t resist checking it out and taking it home.

Our local public library: you never know what you’ll find there. What would we do without it? As Thanksgiving approaches, it’s just one more reason for gratitude.

Above, Jim Parham chats with Jeff Delfield, Marianna Black Library’s head librarian.