Monday, August 1, 2016

Georgia's Busiest Library Checks Out Over 1,000,000 Books

There’s a good reason that the Sharon Forks Library was recently named the busiest public library in the state by the Georgia Public Library Service: its patrons checked out 1,023,042 books and physical materials plus 45,199 eBooks and eAudiobooks in the 2016 fiscal year that ended June 30.

“Our patrons are voracious readers,” says branch manager Mendy Gunter, “and when they heard that our staff had set a goal to reach one million checkouts this fiscal year, they supported our efforts with enthusiasm.”

Regular visitors to the Sharon Forks branch can attest to how busy the library is, with a full schedule of programs and storytimes for children, book clubs and craft events for adults. All those visitors to the library are encouraged to browse the ever-growing collection of books, magazines, music, and film and take a few selections home.

“Circulating over a million titles in a year is a big achievement for our library branch, and for the system as a whole,” adds Gunter. “It shows that our team of material selectors are doing a good job of finding books that appeal to our patrons and that our staff in the branch are helping patrons find those materials and expand their reading preferences, whether they’re reading for pleasure or for educational purposes.”

When asked if the Sharon Forks branch will set a more ambitious circulation goal for the 2017 fiscal year, Gunter says it would be difficult to top one million checkouts while the branch is under construction.

Work on the expansion and repurposing of the facility is scheduled to begin in the fall and is expected to nearly double the size of the current building, as well as add more parking. Funding for the project comes from a construction grant from the State of Georgia and from local SPLOST revenues.

“Patrons who want to learn more about the expansion and repurposing, as well as see artist’s renderings of how the library will look when construction is complete, should visit the Cumming Library for the system’s 20th Anniversary Celebration on Thursday, August 25 from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.,” explains Gunter.

Gunter and other library leaders will be at the 20th Anniversary Celebration to talk about how the system has grown and share concept drawings of the expansion. Gunter is particularly excited to tell patrons about the new study rooms, the expanded meeting room, Friends Bookstore, reading nooks, a new room dedicated to teens, and a brand new Children’s section that includes an activity area for preschoolers to play and learn basic concepts.

Library staff will work around the construction team to keep the collection accessible to the public while the Sharon Forks Library is undergoing its expansion and repurposing. So, patrons will still be able to find and check out the materials they want. It might just be possible to beat this year’s one million checkouts after all.