In the days following New Year’s Day 2020, Facebook was full of people dressed in 1920s attire. Women wore “flapper” costumes to New Year’s Eve parties, with long necklaces, sparkly headbands, fish-net stockings and  knee-length dresses with dangles, and of course, sporting long cigarette holders. Men wore “gangster”, double-breasted suits, hats, two-tone shoes  and coordinating ties and bow-ties.

Life has changed so much in the last 20 years, not to mention the last 100. Twenty years ago, social media, texting and apps hadn’t been invented, although we could call on cell phones.

Today, everyone is “hooked up” with the latest electronic gadget, allowing the consumer instant access to news, shopping, books, movies, sports and more through the internet. Twenty years ago, the internet was mostly dial-up and it took several minutes to connect. Now, connection is instantaneous.

 There are apps for everything on cell phones. Parents can keep tabs on their children at all times, through the app, “Find My Friends.”

Many first graders in Wilkes County asked Santa Claus for tablets in this year’s “Letters to Santa.” Not a writing tablet, but a tablet on which to play games and watch videos.

Library’s 20th

On a local note, the Wilkes County Public Library is celebrating its 20th anniversary at the 215 10th Street, North Wilkesboro location. Prior to that, the library was housed at 913 C Street, where the Wilkes Art Gallery is located.

The library kicked off its month-long celebration Jan. 9, with a reception, including birthday cake and coffee.

Jan. 11 at 1 p.m., William Ritter will present, “Songs, Stories and Seeds.” Refreshments will be provided.

Bestselling author Diane Chamberlain will be at the library Jan. 18 at 2 p.m. to discuss her new book, “Big Lies in a Small Town.”  She is the author of 26 novels, which have been published in more than 20 languages. Books will be available for sale and signing and refreshments will be provided by the Friends of the Library.

Tickets are available for a fundraiser for the library’s Imagination Cafe Summer Lunch program. The fundraiser, which will be held Jan. 19 at 2 p.m. at the Yadkin Valley Event Center, will feature the music of The Copper Creek String Band. Tickets are $35 each and are available at the library. A catered meal will be served.

Over 1,900 meals were served in 2019 and the library hopes to surpass that in 2020.

Library thoughts

One of the hallmarks of a vibrant community, I think, is the local public library. Wilkes County wisely invested in its future in building the new library 20 years ago.

As I recall, there was much discussion about where the new library would be housed and whether the location on 10th Street would have enough parking for patrons.

Although parking is a bit squeezed at times, especially if an event is happening, the “new” library has proven to be spacious, welcoming and an asset to the community, I think.

As a child and as a parent, I visited the library’s C Street location many times. The children’s section was at the back, and the circulation station was in the middle of the library. Any noise by children was frowned upon. It was very difficult to keep children “in line,” because they were excited about being at the library and about the books they were checking out.

 As a parent, you want them to be excited about books and about coming to the library.

The new library offers many activities for people of all ages and is a bustling, happy place. The research, “quiet” area is located upstairs, so parents don’t have to be as concerned about noise.

It was a thrill for me when I got my own library card in elementary school and was able to pick out my own books. During the summers, my brother, Chuck, and I accompanied our mother to her weekly hair appointment, which was on Main Street in the building the McElwee Law Firm now occupies, and were allowed to walk to the library by ourselves.

So much has changed in the last 20 years and I can’t envision what the next 20 will bring.

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