The girl who hated reading
December 27 2002 by Tony Cartledge , BR Editor

The girl who hated reading | Friday, Dec. 27, 2002

Friday, Dec. 27, 2002

The girl who hated reading

By Tony Cartledge BR Editor

KANNAPOLIS - As a child and young adult, she didn't like to read and cared little for libraries.

So how did Vicky Morris come to be named media library director for the Baptist State Convention?

It's a long story that started with friendship, got a boost from guilt, and culminated in a transforming experience.

Morris didn't like reading, but she liked Blanche Robinette, a local schoolteacher who volunteered as church librarian at North Kannapolis Baptist Church in Kannapolis. Morris hung out in the library to socialize, but Robinette kept sending her home with books, which Morris would return, unread, the following week.

As Robinette aged and Morris grew into adulthood, the friendship continued. Robinette urged Morris to take over the job as librarian. "I told her I would help clean it up, but I didn't want anything to do with books and reading," Morris said.

Several times Robinette asked, and Morris always promised to help, but never followed through.

Several days after Morris' last promise, Robinette suffered a heart attack and died.

Morris is quick to admit that it was a mixture of both guilt and affection for Robinette that finally spurred her into action. She recruited fellow Sunday School class members to clean up the neglected library and sought in vain for someone to take over as librarian.

But, trained librarians were in short supply, and Morris soon realized it would be up to her to carry on Robinette's legacy. "But I didn't even know who Dewey was, much less anything about his decimals," she said.

Morris checked with public libraries and community colleges in search of a training class, but came up empty. A friend who worked at a nearby public library showed her some basics, and Morris began to attend meetings of the church media library organization in the Cabarrus Baptist Association.

There Morris found friends willing to share both enthusiasm and expertise about their jobs. They encouraged her to attend the state media library conference at Caraway, and "that conference changed my life," she said. "It was there that I realized that the library was not just a place to hang out, it was a ministry just waiting to bloom."

Morris soon saw the ministry flower. A man who drove his wife to church but didn't want to attend started spending time in the library, shelving books and assisting Morris with cleaning chores. He also read some of the books, and became an active member.

A girl whose mother was an unbeliever began checking out books to carry home as a means of witness.

"Things like that made me realize the library was a ministry," Morris said. "I felt like I was called."

But Morris' new ministry was put on hold when the church took over the struggling North Kannapolis Christian Academy. The library's room was pre-empted, and the books were put in storage.

Morris campaigned for a new space for the library, and got her wish when the church offices were moved to a new multi-purpose building, leaving the former office space for a new media center.

Morris now has 1,100 square feet of floor space divided into five rooms for the library's collection of 3,000 books, CDs and videotapes. The library also has a broader purpose, serving as a resource for the 180 student K-12 school.

Preparations included shelf building by candlelight after the Dec. 4-5 ice storm, but with considerable help from her husband, Wayne, and other church members, the library was readied for a Dec. 15 dedication as the "Blanche Robinette Library."

Denise Privette Sherman, daughter of Coy and Betty Privette, was on hand to sign copies of a children's book she wrote in collaboration with her mother, who provided the artwork.

Morris understands the importance of reading now, but she has not forgotten that it was the social atmosphere that first drew her into a library. So, she sees to it that the staff keeps a pot of Concord-based S&D coffee available for visitors.

Now Morris faces a problem she never expected to have. With a day job working for the city of Kan-napolis and the volunteer hours at the media center, she just doesn't have enough time to read.

To learn more about media library ministries, contact Cathy Hopkins at the Baptist State Convention by calling (800) 395-5102 or (919) 467-5102, ext. 435, or by e-mail at cathyhopkins@bscnc.org, or Dell Moore at dmcml1@aol.com.

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12/27/2002 12:00:00 AM by Tony Cartledge , BR Editor | with 0 comments
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