Library celebrates National Park Service centennial with Kennesaw Mountain Program

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If Bartow residents can’t go to the mountain, then the mountain will come to Bartow residents.

As part of its “Celebration Summer” program, the Cartersville Public Library is hosting “The National Park Service and Kennesaw Mountain: A Centennial Celebration” program Thursday from 5 to 6:30 p.m. in the Nathan Dean Meeting Room at 429 W. Main St.

The presentation is the result of a partnership, announced a few months ago, between the National Park Service and Georgia public libraries to celebrate the NPS’s centennial and the libraries’ summer reading programs.

“We were already planning to highlight the National Park Service’s centennial with our ‘Celebration Summer’ adult summer reading program, and when I spoke with Benita Duling of Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park, she was very enthusiastic to join us and present a program,” said Adult Services Coordinator Amanda Monson. “I believe many people have memories of visiting National Park Service locations growing up, and most of us are familiar with the major sites, like Yellowstone and Mount Rushmore. We have an opportunity with this NPS partnership to bring the NPS to our libraries, so our patrons can discover more about what’s here in Georgia [that] they can take advantage of and gain a greater appreciation for the National Park Service.”

Duling, education coordinator at Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park, will do a presentation on the history and preservation of the Civil War battlefield as well as the National Park Service centennial celebration taking place this year.

“My presentation will answer the question of ‘What is the National Park Service?’” she said. “So many people confuse national and state parks, and this is an opportunity to explain the similarities and differences. I'll also be discussing why Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park is a national park site, how that came to be and what significant event took place here that is nationally important.”

The “talk will be pretty low-tech,” Duling said, but she will have displays and handouts on the centennial of NPS, which turns 100 years old on Aug. 25.

The program will expose national parks to people who may not have ever visited one.

“I truly believe park rangers providing programs at local library branches is a great way to bring national parks to library patrons in the comfort of their own community,” Duling said. “Not all patrons are aware of the number of national parks — 10 — in our state or the variety of educational opportunities we offer. Taking national park learning opportunities to the potential visitor has great benefits versus us waiting for the visitor to come to us.”

Monson and Duling met at a press conference at Kennesaw Mountain to announce the partnership between Georgia's national park sites and the Georgia Public Library Service, according to Duling.

“The Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park and the Southeast region of the National Park Service have a partnership with the Georgia Public Library Service, the state agency which oversees our state’s library systems, to engage in educational exchanges,” she said. “The seven participating national parks here in Georgia are actively providing educational programs to nearby libraries, advertising library programming and supporting library-card registration. The libraries, in turn, support Georgia's national parks by advertising and participating in park-based programming.”

After their meeting, Monson invited Duling to speak at the main branch as part of the adult summer reading program, “where they are celebrating big anniversaries, the National Park Service's anniversary being among them,” Duling said.

She also said she has “not done this particular presentation in this format anywhere else.”

“My outreach has been on a variety of subjects and typically draws a good number, ranging from as few as 10 up to over 100,” Duling said. “It all depends upon the venue and the type of audience. I'm excited to share with an audience what we do as a federal agency and how it benefits Georgia.”

She added she provided educational programs to two other libraries in June and has another scheduled for this month.

“I encourage Bartow County libraries to invite other local NPS sites to library branches,” she said. “We're happy to come.”

Monson said the Cartersville branch will be hosting a weekly viewing of selections from the Great Courses lecture series “Wonders of the National Parks” through the end of August.

“Each lecture is about 30 minutes long, and patrons can learn more about the geology and history of a variety of national parks,” she said, noting the viewings will take place every Tuesday at 3 p.m. through Aug. 23.

For information on any of the national parks programs, call 770-382-4203 or visit www.bartowlibrary.org.