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Bookmending for the WPA

As part of the Works Progress Administration during the Great Depression, the Book Repair projects gave employment to needy economic heads of families while saving public schools and public libraries thousands of dollars through the "reconditioning of books which have become too dilapidated for use." This photo shows African-American women mending books in Guilford County as part of the WPA book mending project. It's interesting to note the name on the box they're using next to the worktable.

This photo is part of the Public Library History Files at the State Library of North Carolina.

To help celebrate National Library Week, each day we’ll run a historical photo of libraries and library services in North Carolina’s past.

The photo below shows Alamance County women working on the book mending project there. This site looks a little more rural, but both sets of workers enjoy pretty flowers on the tables.

The Decemberists carry on

When the Decemberists play in Raleigh next weekend, they'll be without founding member Jenny Conlee -- who is undergoing cancer treatment and is "at the beginning of a long road," says bassist Nate Query. But the band still has shows to play, so they've drafted a new member. Sara Watkins from Nickel Creek and WPA has signed on as a touring member of the Decemberists, which involves doing a little of everything (including parts from the band's new album that were originally performed by high-profile cameo guests).

"Sara Watkins is the sixth Decemberist for 2011," Query says. "We've got her doing fiddle and vocal harmonies. And Gillian Welch's vocals. And Peter Buck's baritone guitar. I'm not sure she knew what she was getting into, but she's a great sport about it all."

For details on the show and and lot more talk about that new album, see the preview from Sunday's paper.

The Old North State: Norlina

See photos from the town of Norlina, once a hub for travelers along U.S. 1. Photos by staff photojournalist Corey Lowenstein.

The Old North State: Caswell County

See a gallery of photos of Caswell County, including historical images from The Library of Congress.

The Old North State: Apex to Lockville

See photos from the area of Wake, Chatham, and Lee counties profiled in 1939 in the WPA's "Guide to the Old North State".

The Old North State: Liberty to Buies Creek

See a gallery of photos taken along the route of Old 421 from Liberty to Buies Creek. Photos by staff photojournalist Robert Willett.

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