Monday, November 20, 2017

Librarian Picks: Perfect Gifts

Recently Sharon Forks library staff shared some of their favorite new releases with book lovers at Sexton Hall Enrichment Center.  Here are some of the titles that were suggested as popular gifts for adult readers on your holiday list this year.

The Almost Sisters by Joshilyn Jackson

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

The Horse Dancer by Jojo Moyes

The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See

Friday, November 17, 2017

Mrs. Claus to Visit Early Literacy Storytime at Medical Center

Local children are invited to celebrate the holidays with a special early literacy program hosted by Forsyth County Public Library (FCPL), Georgia Highlands Medical Services (GHMS), Literacy Forsyth, and Forsyth County Schools.

‘Tis the Season for Stories will be held in the Training Room at Highlands Medical Plaza, 475 Tribble Gap Road, Cumming, on Tuesday, December 5 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

The program will include stories and songs in English and Spanish, as well as a puppet show and crafts. Children can also meet Mrs. Claus and receive free children’s books. Admission is free and, while the program is designed for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers, children of all ages are welcome to attend with a caregiver.

The purpose of the event is to help families understand the importance of encouraging early literacy skills starting in infancy.

“We feel strongly that literacy skills are an important part of a child’s cognitive development and our physicians tell parents that it’s never too early to start reading to their children,” says Yolanda Nabors, Chief Operations Officer of GHMS.

Several simple early literacy practices will be demonstrated for caregivers during the program to show how easy it can be to incorporate reading and language learning into everyday activities at home.

“For example, families love to tell stories and share their memories around the holidays,” says Julie Boyd, Youth Services Supervisor at FCPL’s Cumming Library.

“Including young children in these walks down memory lane not only helps them learn about the family’s culture and traditions, it also expands their vocabulary and helps them learn the give-and-take of participating in a conversation,” explains Boyd.

Repetition also helps young children learn new words, adds Pamela Burlingame Miller, Executive Director of Literacy Forsyth.

“Holiday songs are full of repetitive phrases – and the songs themselves are repeated on the radio, on television, and in stores – so children can use all that repetition to practice coordinating their lips, tongue, and teeth to pronounce new words,” says Miller.

Speaking frequently to a young child about their activities and surroundings, or including them in family conversations, are among the early literacy tips that event organizers will share with parents and caregivers during ‘Tis the Season for Stories.

“When we tell traditional stories or sing traditional songs at the holidays, we’re often using words that aren’t as common in our speech at other times of the year,” says Amy Chang, Title I Director of Forsyth County Schools.

“Learning these less common words increases a child’s vocabulary, and that becomes a predictor of reading readiness and success for children as they enter elementary school.”

Following the stories, songs, and puppet show, participants can make reindeer crafts to take home as they wait to meet Mrs. Claus and receive a holiday treat bag of children’s books from Barnes & Noble at The Collection at Forsyth.

“The staff at Georgia Highlands Medical Services is looking forward to hosting ‘Tis the Season for Stories for our youngest patients, their families, and for the whole community. We wish everyone a very joyful holiday season!” add Nabors.

More information about ‘Tis the Season for Stories is available at

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Librarian Picks - Perfect Gifts

In Iceland it’s traditional to celebrate Christmas Eve with an exchange of books and then spend the evening reading them. The custom is so popular that book catalogs are distributed at the start of the season. I love the idea of giving books as gifts but it can be a bit challenging to find just the right one when you're buying for someone else. Here are some adult books recommendations that are suitable for gift-giving or for your own enjoyment this season.

The Blinds by Adam Sternbergh

The Blinds is a modern western with a unique premise. The forty-eight citizens of Caersura, Texas are all either convicted killers or in witness protection. They've agreed to have their memories erased so no one knows if they are one of the guilty or innocent.  A fast and engaging read!

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

An eye-opening autobiography from the host of Comedy Central's The Daily Show about growing up as a biracial child in post-apartheid South Africa.
The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip by George Saunders

This modern parable by Booker Prize winner George Saunders is full of compassion and karmic justice with beautiful illustrations by Lane Smith.  A great gift for anyone young at heart!

The Witchfinder's Sister by Beth Underdown

A novel based on the reign of terror of Matthew Hopkins, England's self-appointed Witchfinder General in the 1640s. Fans of historical fiction or suspense will enjoy this mesmerizing story.    

Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer

Science fiction fans and conspiracy theorists on your list will enjoy learning all the intricacies of Annihilation's mysterious Area X before the film hits theaters in early 2018.

Since We Fell by Dennis Lehane

Dennis Lehane's latest novel offers fascinating characters and heart-pounding suspense.  It's a must read for fans of literary thrillers!

Alicia Cavitt
Information Specialist

Library "Draws Blood" in Competition with Neighbor

This might be the season for giving thanks, but two local libraries hope their communities will help make it a season for giving blood, as well. Post Road Library, a branch of the Forsyth County Public Library, and the neighboring Milton Library, a branch of the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System, will host a blood drive challenge on Wednesday, November 29 from 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Give Blood, Get Bragging Rights

Each branch will host its own blood drive with the American Red Cross and the total number of pints donated will be tallied at the end of the event. The branch with the most blood donated will win the challenge, and the bragging rights.

“We’re so grateful to our patrons for their support of our blood drive programs. We hope others in our community will stop by the library, check out a book, and settle in to help someone in need with a life-giving blood donation…and help us beat the Milton Library. We’d really like to win those bragging rights,” exclaims Decherd.

The Need is Constant

Even though the challenge is a bit of lighthearted fun between local libraries, the need for blood donations is serious.

“Every two seconds someone in the United States needs blood,” said Cheryl Mahan, donor recruitment account manager, American Red Cross Southern Blood Services Region.

“Blood donations are needed every day for patients with many serious medical conditions. Accident and burn victims, heart surgery patients, organ transplant patients, and those receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer, or sickle cell disease may all need blood.”

“As a national network, the Red Cross has a unique responsibility to help ensure blood is available for patients whenever and wherever it is needed. By donating blood through the Red Cross, donors may be helping patients in their community or patients across the nation,” added Mahan.

You Can Help, Even if You've Never Donated Blood Before

American Red Cross blood donations go to hospitals and medical facilities to help those organizations save lives and care for their patients. Donating blood is a simple four-step process: registration, medical history and mini-physical, donation, and refreshments.

“Every blood donor is given a mini-physical, checking the donor's temperature, blood pressure, pulse and hemoglobin to ensure it is safe for the donor to give blood. The actual blood donation typically takes less than 10-12 minutes. The entire process, from the time you arrive to the time you leave, takes about an hour and 15 minutes,” explains Mahan.

Decherd invites all members of the Forsyth community to consider giving blood at the Post Road Library’s blood drive, especially those who have never donated before.

“This blood drive challenge is a perfect opportunity for someone who hasn’t donated blood to learn about the process. You can make it a date with your special someone or think of it as a little ‘me-time’ as you pay it forward and help a patient who needs life-giving blood,” encourages Decherd.

Thank You for Giving Blood

“While winning the challenge would be wonderful, the ultimate goal for both libraries is to educate the public about the on-going need for blood donations and to make it more convenient for patrons and visitors to donate blood,” says Decherd.

For more information on the donation process, please visit For more information on upcoming blood drives and other programs at Forsyth County Public Library, please visit