Towns County Library celebrates Branch Manager Debbie Phillips


HIAWASSEE, Ga – Sole Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw acknowledged Towns County Library Branch Manager Debbie Phillips’s service to the community during the December meeting.

Phillips retired from the library after serving 30 years in the Mountain Regional Library System. During her time with the library, she served on statewide PINES committees, the Board of Trustees advisory council as branch manager, bookkeeper, and she’s assisted the library board as well as friends of the library.

“I want to congratulate Debbie. She’s been an outstanding public servant,” Board of Trustees Chair Barbara Hale said. “I can tell you right now, Debbie’s work is more than dedication, it’s more than duty, it’s more than responsibility, she loves this community.”

Phillips sought to take care of Towns by providing them with the necessary tools in their library. Her entire family also contributed to her dedication to the role.

“There’s no one more honest, more diligent, more dedicated than Debbie. I love her and she loves this community. This community is really going to miss her. The vision that she had for that library and saw through to fruition,” Hale stated.

Bradshaw expounded that Phillips’s dedication to the library was “unbelievable.” She would call him for anything the library needed.

Towns Branch Manager Debbie Phillips and Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw

Towns Branch Manager Debbie Phillips and Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw

Hiawassee Mayor Liz Ordiales also praised Phillips and her willingness to always help out the city.

“She always took care of that building and of course, the citizens were her first love,” Bradshaw said. “I’m sure there are more things you’re going to do in the community as we go forward.”

Of her time at the library, Phillips said, “I’ve enjoyed every minute. I’ve had a vested interest in the library. Most of us in our jobs if we stay that long, we love what we do or we wouldn’t do it.”

She acknowledged she would miss a lot of things such as the people but would still be around when necessary.

Mountain Regional Library System appoints new director

Mountain Regional Library

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – On Feb. 18, Towns County Public Library Chair Barbara Hale announced that a new director of the Mountain Regional Library Board would be formally appointed the following day at a meeting in Fannin County.

“The Mountain Regional Library Board will be having a meeting to officially select, or appoint, the new director,” Hale said. “The person is presently branch manager in Ellijay. It’s a man by the name of Heath Lee. I have not met him but the president of Friends of the Library of Towns County and I are going to that meeting tomorrow and we’re going to introduce ourselves to him together because we’re going to be working with him.”

The Mountain Regional Library System maintains and operates four public libraries located in the counties of Fannin, Towns, and Union. The libraries are in the towns of Hiawassee, Young Harris, Blairsville, and Blue Ridge. The four branches service a population of just over 58,000 people.

“It was very necessary for us to have a new director. Let me tell you, things were not in good shape and we’re very fortunate that we have a new set of officers in the regional board and I confess that I had a little bit to do with making that happen although I’m not on the regional board,” Hale explained. “There’s three officers; the president or chair, a vice-chair, and the secretary and all three of them are from Towns County. So I’m proud of that because they’ve gotten things done. I’m so grateful because the situation was so impossible. So many of us knew it but there was nothing that we could do to make it better, and now things are better.”

The Mountain Regional Library System is governed by the Georgia University Board of Regents and is managed locally by the Mountain Regional Library System Board of Trustees. The Board meets a minimum of four times per year.

Featured Image: Towns County Public Library Chair Barbara Hale (left) announcing the upcoming regional chair appointment at the Towns County Courthouse.

Career Coach to visit Towns County Library

Community, News
Towns County Career Coach

Author Kim Terry holds book signing at local library

Community, News
Kim Terry author

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Towns County Library held a book signing Monday, May 13, for Kim Terry, the author of the debut novel, From Her Mother’s Arms. Terry explained that she began scripting the novel in 2009, sharing that the story is the first in a continued series.

“Mona Lisa, abandoned at birth and renamed ‘Rona’ by a couple claiming to be her birth parents,” the blurb on the book’s jacket reads. “When she turns seven, she finds out from the woman’s sister that the Fergusons have not only been lying to her but, also, that their sudden deaths have helped to close the ‘Case of the Missing Mona Lisa.’ When the aunt dies and leaves Rona alone, her death catapults the girl into the foster-care system until a soft-spoken man at a support group leads her to a place of peace and, quite possibly, reunion.

“Bo, older brother of Sybil Stevens, has remained his sister’s closest confidante throughout their lives. When ‘Sister’ turns up pregnant, he finds out that the baby’s father is none other than his high-school buddy, Damon, a rakish quarterback with a score to settle.

“Damon has caught his girlfriend with his arch nemesis, Jett Davis. When Prom Night rolls around, he invites Jett Davis’s innocent ex-girlfriend, Sybil, to Prom. Clueless about the ‘footprint’ he has left behind, he finds his memory drifting to one reckless night in 1950. When he flies in to attend the funeral of another friend from high-school, he crosses paths with a distraught green-eyed woman at a gas station…”

The scene takes place in the 1950s in Lamesa, Texas, when the teenaged girl becomes pregnant and is forced to give her child up for adoption. “The book tells the story from the baby’s point of view,” Terry said. “The story continues, but I felt this portion deserved a book of its own.” Terry’s sequel is expected to be released in late-2019 or early-2020, a murder mystery entitled, By Her Daughter’s Hands.

Kim Terry shared that she began writing poetry at a young age, then ventured on to suspense and mystery genres. “My mother was a writer so I guess you can say its in my DNA,” the author said with a smile. “My mother wrote poetry, camping articles, religious articles, and so forth.” Originally from Fort Worth, Texas, Terry and her husband, Jeff, now manage a second season at Appalachian Campground in Hiawassee.

Career Coach to visit Towns County Library

Upcoming Events

Towns County Career Coach

“Libraries Rock!” summer program encourages young readers

Community, News
Towns County Library

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Towns County Library Summer Reading and Story time Program, “Libraries Rock,” is in full swing, and Thursday, June 14, featured a live production of “Treasure Island.” The interactive play was presented by Hampstead Stage Company, to the delight of children and parents alike. Popcorn was served from an old-fashion popping machine by Branch Manager Debbie Phillips.

The 8-week session features different themes on Thursday mornings at 11:00 a.m. On June 21, children are invited to participate in rock painting. Supplies will be provided, as well as refreshing “library lemonade.”

The following week, June 28, Mountain Regional Puppet Company will present a live puppet show, based on the popular children’s book “Where the Wild Things Are,” while the Friends of the Library host a bake sale at the Hiawassee branch.

Kids are encouraged to get crafty with Mason Jars on July 5, and Georgia Mountain Falconry is scheduled to present a program on the nature of birds July 12. Live birds and owls will be available to view and touch. The program concludes the following week, July 19, with a pizza party at Towns County Beach Park, featuring entertainment by the children’s band “The Sock Rockerz.” Prizes will be awarded and the winners of contests will be announced. In addition to “concert tickets” awarded through the library’s reading program, which are traded for kid-friendly items from the library’s souviner store, children’s names will be added to a prize drawing each time that they wear a tie-dyed shirt to storytime, a hands-on art project created the first week of the program.

For every ten books read during the program, two tickets are awarded. A “Top Reading Rock Star” will be announced during the beach party. Pizza, chips, ice cream, and lemonade will be served for lunch. Children also receive a bead for every book they read so that on the final day, they can see who read the most.

“I think it’s wonderful to have something like this in our town,” the grandmother of a child who attends the programs told FetchYourNews, “It gives the kids something to look forward to each week, and it promotes a love of learning.”

Ferst Foundation

Ferst Foundation Chair Janice Cochran provided information on the early literacy project

In addition to the play presentation, Ferst Foundation for Childhood Literacy volunteers were on hand to encourage the parents of preschoolers. The non-profit public foundation aims to make a difference in the early lives of children by “providing books for local communities to prepare all preschool children for reading and learning success.” Books are mailed, free of charge, on a monthly basis to each registered child from birth until the age of five. The books are selected annually by a panel of experts in the field of early child development and education. The statewide project was founded in 1999 by Robin Ferst, and the foundation has mailed over 4.4 million books to children since inception. Program Chair Janice Cochran explained that the local initiative is supported by the Towns County Rotary and Young Harris Pharmacy. Donations are appreciated, as $36 provides books for one child for a 12 month period. Additional information on the program can be found at

Autumn Activities at Towns County Library

Upcoming Events
Towns County Library

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Towns County Public Library has announced several upcoming Autumn events at the Hiawassee Branch. Library staff asks for participants to register by calling 706-896-6169 in order to ensure enough materials are available. The activities are free unless otherwise noted.

October 11 at 4 p.m. – Children are invited in bring pumpkins to create a character of their choosing, with supplies furnished by the library. The pumpkins will be displayed until Oct. 29, and judged by age category. Children can pick up their creations on Oct. 29.

October 23 at 3:30 p.m. – A handmade gift tags workshop will be offered to adults, hosted by Close to my Heart Consultant June Gottlieb. $7.00 will supply materials to create six gift tags and a card with an envelope.

November 1 at 4 p.m. – A family activity to craft a decorative jar luminary will take place. Materials will be furnished by the library.

November 13 at 3:30 p.m. – Close to my Heart Consultant June Gottlieb returns for an adult card making workshop. $7.00 supplies materials for two cards with envelopes.

November 29 at 4 p.m. – Families are invited to create Christmas wreaths using jar rings. Materials will be supplied by the library.


Georgia Mountain Falconry educates children at Towns County Library

Community, News
Georgia Mountain Falconry

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Falconer Buster Brown and his birds of prey visited the Towns County Library on the morning of Thursday. July 12. Brown, a former four-decade high school teacher and coach, holds the title of Master Class Falconer, and brought his expertise to the “Libraries Rock” Summer Program. The room overflowed with curious children, some carted by parents, and others by bus from the Towns County Child Development Center.

The presentation featured explanations of the characteristics of several live birds, and a short film explaining the raptors’ hunting techniques. The class concluded with an opportunity for participants to pose for a photograph with some of the milder-tempered winged creatures.

Buster Brown and his bird of prey

Brown owns and operates Georgia Mountain Falconry, a company offering one-hour to one-day educational seminars, complete falconry school, flight shows, hunting expeditions, and services to rid landowners of unwelcome visitors such as crows. Georgia Mountain Falconry are breeders of Aplomado Falcons and Harris Hawks, offering sale of the birds to licensed falconers.

Falconer Damon Lusky, owner of Alfa-Knife, accompanied Brown during Thursday’s class. Lusky patiently answered the children’s questions, and displayed a pygmy owl at the beginning of the presentation.

Before the class began, Brown told FetchYourNews that the most common owls found in North Georgia are Barred Owls and Great Horned Owls. “Barred owls, not barn owls,” Brown clarified.

Additional information on Georgia Mountain Falconry can be found at

(Feature Photo – Credit: Georgia Mountain Falconry)


Towns County Library offers scrapbooking workshop

Press Release, Upcoming Events
towns County LIbrary

Towns County Library announced that a scrapbooking workshop with Creative Memories Consultant Vickie Murray will be held Friday, March 1, 2019 from 2 – 4 p.m. at the Hiawassee branch.

In this workshop, participants will create a two-page layout with a travel theme so bring your pictures.

The cost is $10 for supplies and materials.

Towns County Library offers “Winter Wonderland” Reading Program

Community, News
Towns County Library

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Towns County Public Library is offering the community an opportunity to beat the winter blues by participating in an adult “Winter Wonderland” Reading Program. The goal is to challenge readers to expand their literature choices in an enjoyable way. The program is sponsored by Friends of the Libraries of Towns County, and will be held at the Hiawassee branch location.Towns County book club

“During the course of the program, you will read up to a total of 10 books,” Towns County Public Library Branch Manager Debbie Phillips explained, “You will be able to pick the specific book, but at least five of them have to be from a genre we have selected. The other five are your free choice.”

The five selected genres are: Mystery, Romance, Historical Fiction, Non-Fiction, and Western. Participants will fill out a brief book review card for each book read, and the cards will be entered into a special prize drawing.

A “Foreword Party” will mark the beginning of the program, scheduled for Jan. 4, at 3 p.m. Participants will receive an overview of the program rules and receive materials. Refreshments and warm drinks will be served. “The first 20 to register will receive a nice gift,” Phillips said, “Also, there will be a handmade bookmark make-and-take which is free to all participants.”

A “Mid-Chapter Party” will follow on Feb. 8, at 3 p.m. A second drawing will be held, and a workshop will be available on using Fantastic Fiction, Novelist, and the PINES Card Catalog. Additionally, there will be discussion on the program’s progression.

The reading program will end with an “Afterword Party” at 3 p.m. on March 15. Additional prizes will be awarded, and an open, overview discussion on the program will be conducted.

Although a sign-up sheet is available at the library, pre-registration is not necessary. The program is open to adults over the age of 18 with a valid PINES library card. Books must be read in a printed, bound version.

Happy Reading!


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