Spring events are popping up right along with the brightly colored tulips. Before long, we’ll be dying eggs, hosting Easter egg hunts at various parks and churches and awaiting May’s arrival. But for now, I’ve included a few bits of information and upcoming events throughout the area in honor of the turn of the seasons.
• Tennessee’s current gas price average is $3.96, according to the American Automobile Association. The Kingsport and Bristol average is $3.89.
• Natural Tunnel will host Spring Bird Walk and Guided Wildflower Walks starting Saturday. For more information, go to https://www.dcr.virginia.gov/state-parks/natural-tunnel.
• The new Scooter’s Coffee will host a ribbon cutting event on Friday at 11 a.m. The drive-thru coffee spot is located at 4287 Fort Henry Drive. Guests will earn 50 bonus “smile” points when paying or scanning during the grand opening.
• Keep Kingsport Beautiful will host a spring cleanup in the Riverview area on Saturday from 9 to 11 a.m. Volunteers are to meet at the Splash Pad. For more information, go to https://www.facebook.com/KeepKingsportBeautiful.
Notes from the field
When you drive through any given town, big or small, you usually find a courthouse, a post office, police and fire stations and, the most entertaining option of them all, a local library.
This week is National Library Week. That got me thinking about what really makes a library a special and needed place — specifically nowadays.
Decades ago, a library was the place to land information. Stacks of various books, encyclopedias and librarians busy assisting eager learners throughout the shelves were at our disposal. Today, we pull our phone from our pockets, mindlessly type in whatever question we have (and, at times, whatever keywords we carelessly manage to string together) and we have thousands of results at our fingertips. It’s a true blessing that we have these devices that can get us most any information we may need or want in a moment’s notice. But libraries are still needed for various reasons in our society.
The biggest reason might just be accessibility. This year’s theme for National Library Week is “Connect with Your Library,” which promotes a library’s ability to connect people to technology through broadband and to provide computer access for all.
For those who think libraries will die off, I believe that like any newspaper that wants to make it in 2022 and beyond, libraries only need to shift with the times. Internet connectivity is certainly a shift in the right direction, along with audiobook alternatives and other growing markets.
Libraries are also community driven spaces. You can host meetings, study groups, attend events and take a short trip to your nearest public library for weekend entertainment. They also host a slew of events throughout the year for all ages. Just this week the Kingsport Public Library will host a Bookopoly event with a giant book-themed Monopoly board, various story time readings for kids, a terrarium “craft and chat” event and more. (A full event calendar can be found at https://www.kingsportlibrary.org/event-calendar/#/events/)
Libraries are also great educational tools for all, including homeschooled children, which is a group that is only growing; According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 5.4% of U.S. households with school-aged children reported homeschooling between the end of April and the beginning of May in 2020. By the fall, 11.1% of households with school-age children turned to homeschooling.
Libraries are also filled with history that remains unchanged, which can offer a few positives. The information you find was typically collected long before 2022 and its shifting political sphere, agendas and ideologies. Physical books might not offer the most recent information, but where subjects such as history are concerned, that aspect of a library can offer a different perspective than that of the online world full of biased and removed information.
Libraries also offer a different kind of connection — one that links us to the past. It’s the perfect place to find books on local and regional history along with other gems you won’t find elsewhere , such as a history of Ridgewood Barbecue in Bluff City. (No joke. Here’s hoping the local library still has that one on the shelf.)
This week, I challenge you to consider going to your local library in honor of National Library Week and seeing what’s changed, what’s coming up and if you still happen to have your old library card somewhere in the depths of your wallet.
Who knows, you might just happen upon resources and specific books you just can’t find anywhere else.
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