Evelyn Johnson,

 Librarian, Watauga County Library, Boone, NC

interviewed by Maggie Bishop 

 Watauga County Library, Boone, NC1. What has been the biggest change in the library field in the last five years? 

The biggest change I have seen in the library field is patrons do not come to the library just to check out a book. Our library is constantly being used for computer use. We have 18 computers for the public to use as well as WiFi. We are always having a wide range of programs for adults and kids. We check out DVD’s, Books on CD and a new invention called Playaways. Plaways is like an Ipod with a book instead of music. One sad thing that has changed is I find that we rely on computers moreso now to find reference questions instead of books.

2. How is Watauga County Library, Boone, NC, funded?

We are funded by the State, County and Town of Boone and our Friends of the Library.

 3. How has the current economic slow-down affected the library? 

We are much busier so it has not slowed down with library use. We will know soon what our budget will be but I am afraid we will have to spend very wisely in the next year or so.

4. What types of books are the most popular with users? 

Bestsellers, mysteries, local authors and some nonfiction

5. How do you decide which books to buy for the library? 

I read reviews in library journals and we take patron suggestions

6. What do library volunteers do? 

They answer the phone, help with programs, shelve and help with different activities that are going on at the present time.

7. What is your earliest memory in a library? 

I have been at the library 31 years. I was hired to work for a summer and never left. Mary Sue Morgan asked the commissioners for extra funding to hire me so I owe it all to her. There were only 4 of us working at that time compared to 19 now. My earliest memories are going out on the Bookmobile with Mary Brown. We would deliver books throughout the community and had a great time doing it.

8. How did you get started in the library science field? 

I began taking classes part time at ASU after I began working here although I worked in the library at the high school. I loved to read. I grew up out in the community and there was not a lot to do except read. Again, Mary Sue Morgan was a big help getting me started with my classes. It was a long haul but I finally finished, getting married and two kids later.

9. What do you like to read? 

I am a mystery reader, yes I like the works of gory James Patterson. I do read a lot of Southern Authors.

10. Tell us about your pets. 

I am the grandmother of a wonderful Lab named Lucy. Lucy is my son’s dog but they both still live at my house. She is the smartest dog I have ever had and I have always had a dog. We also have a turtle named Raphael. Raphael is about 13 years old and will probably out live us all.

11. What do you like most about living in the North Carolina mountains? 

I grew up here so I can’t compare it to anywhere else but I love the closeness of the community where everyone knows almost everybody. I love helping others and I love my family and church. I love the way we can see the seasons change and I can’t think of another place I had rather be.

12. Who is your favorite southern author? 

Well, my favorite Southern Author is Lee Smith and my favorite book that she wrote is Saving Grace. I love the characters in the Karin Gillespie books as well.