You would not be surprised for me to write that public libraries exist to support reading and provide information to those they serve.

People read for many reasons. Some read to find information for their jobs or complete a school assignment. Others read to discover new things. Another group reads for pleasure and relaxation. Reading is a way to travel around the world without leaving your home. Reading permits you to view the world from another perspective besides your own. Whatever your reason for reading, Roanoke Rapids Public Library has something to fulfill your quest for knowledge or provide moments of escape and reflection.

In this column, I want to focus on our digital collections of materials for relaxation and information. We have three such collections free with use of your Roanoke Rapids Public Library card. One is the Home Grown e-Books Collection through NC LIVE. This electronic collection consists of more than 4,400 materials published in North Carolina. You may find this collection by going to the icon (image) on the bottom of our homepage.

OverDrive hosts the other two digital collections. One is OverDrive and contains material for all ages. Our library is part of a consortium of other public libraries called e-iNC. With this partnership, our library is able to offer a more comprehensive digital collection. The other collection is NC KIDS Digital Library. This collection is geared primarily for students kindergarten through fourth grades, although there are a few titles for older students. All NC public libraries have access to this collection. It is funded primarily with an appropriation from the North Carolina State Legislature. An easy way to locate these collections is go to the bottom of our library’s homepage on its website and click on the icon of OverDrive Download or NC KIDS Digital Library depending on which collection you want. Our website is youseemore.com/RoanokeRapids. For any of our digital collections, feel free to call the library at 252-533-2890 and select prompt 4.

The library will hold a Holiday DVD Frenzy for the remainder of December and all of January. This means with your library card you may rent one DVD and receive another free. Standard circulation policies still apply such as one-week checkout with one renewal, a limit of four DVDs on an adult card and two DVDs on a young adult card. DVDs generally are 50 cents each to borrow. During the Holiday Frenzy, you may borrow two for 50 cents or four for $1. It is hard to beat this price for family entertainment.

Because of the pandemic, we will not be doing a public reading of the Grinch story that has been popular at the library over the years. Instead, we encourage you to check out the Parks and Recreation Facebook page and see a performance by the library staff of “One Wild Christmas” by Nicholas Oldland. This narrated story includes action that surely will put you in the Christmas spirit if you are not there already. The library staff wanted to add holiday cheer to the season by doing this program.

Today, the library will hold a Holiday Treats and Books Event. This event will be between 2 and 5 p.m. Library staff will distribute a bag of treats, a candy cane donated by the Grinch, and a free book to children up to age 12 as long as supplies last.

The library has been collecting toys as part of a toy drive done annually by the Roanoke Rapids Police and Fire Departments. The last day to make a donation at the library is Friday. An ideal time to make a donation is when you come for the Library event today.

I wish each of you a Merry Christmas and the hope of a healthy, joyful New Year. We plan to continue offering through Roanoke Rapids Public Library collections, connections and community all for you.

Jeff Watson is the head librarian for the Roanoke Rapids Public Library. He can be reached at jwatson@roanokerapidsnc.com.

Jeff Watson is the head librarian for the Roanoke Rapids Public Library. He can be reached at jwatson@roanokerapidsnc.com.