he organized the Watauga County Spring
Festival for arts and crafts. Also at the university,
he worked on an oral history program and a
community health program. Every summer, he
led trips to Washington, D.C., with 16 students
selected by their teachers for scholarships. In
2010, Morgan was given the Great Friend to
Families Award by the Children’s Playhouse for
his commitment to volunteering.
Spreading the words
The Morgans also began a program called
Reading and Rolling, which he calls “Meals on
Wheels, only with books.” Every summer, volunteers deliver 10 books to children every two
weeks. Parents can fill out a survey to specify
their children’s reading levels and the kind of
books they prefer. In 2011, about 60 kids participated, most of whom wouldn’t have had access
to the library otherwise.
“Both parents might be working, these kids
might be taking care of themselves, or parents’
schedules are so horrendous that they just don’t
have time” to go to the library, Morgan says. “I
think all parents want to get their kids to the
library, but by the end of the summer they realize
it just hasn’t happened. We make it really conven-
ient for them.”
Laura Johnson, a teacher at Cove Creek
Elementary School, has been involved in the
Reading and Rolling program from the begin-
ning. “It’s upped the circulation of our library,
put books in the hands of kids and made per-
sonal contacts in the community,” she says.
“Knowing somebody cares how they do is
At the end of the summer, $15 is donated to
the elementary school library of each child who
participates in Reading and Rolling, courtesy
of the Friends of Watauga Public Library. Last
year, Cove Creek’s library received $300,
Morgan says. On the inside cover of the books
purchased with that money, the name of the
school and the child is printed, and two local
newspapers carry the photos and names of the
students as public recognition for their success.
“I think the joy of reading has evolved with
me,” Morgan says. “I wasn’t read to as a kid, and
a lot of the joy of reading has come from read-
ing to others.”
Every week, as “Mr. Morgan” turns the last
page of a book and reading time comes to an
end, he looks up over his bifocals to peer at the
children nestled at his feet.
“Now what am I thinking?” he asks.
In a chorus, they respond with the mantra
they’ve known since kindergarten: “Don’t watch
too much television. Have a friend over to play.
If the friend can’t come over, play by yourself.
And get a good book from the library and read,
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