As a Charlotte native, the Library has always been a huge part of Alexis Anderson’s life. She grew up less than five minutes from the Allegra Westbrooks Regional Library on Beatties Ford Road, and the Library became a second home to her. “My grandparents were educators and took my brother and me weekly to storytimes and to check out books in the summer,” Alexis recalls. “What I didn’t realize at the time was they were laying the foundation for a lifelong love of reading that has continued to serve me today.”
Alexis relocated to Durham, N.C. for college in 2014 and, while the city offers a plethora of library resources to serve its numerous college and university students, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library continues to stand out above the rest as an invaluable resource for Alexis. “I am currently a Master of Arts in History candidate at North Carolina Central University writing my thesis on Black student education in Charlotte from 1956-1971. There’s so much history to cover with this topic even in this relatively short time span. Compiling my research and finding primary sources has proved challenging at times,” she states.
As any good researcher would do, Alexis turned to the Library.
She sought the assistance of Sheila Bumgarner, a librarian in the Library’s Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room (RSCR) and made an appointment to meet with her on one of her visits to Charlotte. When she arrived, Sheila was prepared with several research volumes, documents and scholarly articles she and Alexis combed through together. Alexis was able to find what she needed. “Shelia was a great help and gave me a plethora of sources to use for my thesis. The Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room also provided a quiet area to study, and I returned there day after day while I was home,” Alexis says.
Just as Alexis started to dive deeper into her research, the Library closed due to rising health concerns with the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the lack of physical access to the Library’s study rooms and materials did not slow her down. Instead, she turned her attention to digital e-books and resources through apps available including hoopla, Libby and NC Live. Alexis continued to access three of the texts needed for her thesis courses, along with digital versions of the textbooks, scholarly articles and documents she viewed in the RSCR. All of this was available to her with her Library card account and the click of a mouse.
“I would highly recommend the use of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library to any Charlottean or visitor,” Alexis says. “My experience has been nothing short of phenomenal thanks to my Library card.”
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This blog was written by Darrell Anderson of Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.