Twenty years ago this summer, Forsyth County launched its own independent library system. With just one branch located at what is now the Cumming Library, patrons checked out over 560,000 books, tapes, and other materials.
Today, the Forsyth County Public Library manages a system of four branches, plus an administrative headquarters, and serves over 71,000 library cardholders. These days, the Sharon Forks Library alone circulates over 1,023,000 materials and is recognized as the busiest library in Georgia.
Forsyth County Public Library will host a 20th Anniversary Celebration from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, August 25 at the Cumming Library, 585 Dahlonega Road.
The event is free and open to the public.
“Circulating over a million titles in a year is a big achievement for our branch, and for the system as a whole,” says Sharon Forks Library Branch Manager Mendy 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 is helping patrons find those materials to expand their reading preferences, whether they’re reading for pleasure or for educational purposes.”
When asked if the 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 facility is under construction.
Work on the expansion and repurposing of the Sharon Forks Library 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 several sources, including SPLOST, impact fees, and a construction grant from the State of Georgia.
Library leaders will be at the 20th Anniversary Celebration to talk with patrons about how the system has grown. Gunter is particularly excited to tell patrons the new amenities coming to Sharon Forks, including new study rooms, an 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.
“We’re so pleased to share these milestones in the library’s incredible growth with our community,” says Library Director Anna Lyle. “The 20th Anniversary Celebration at the Cumming Library offers patrons an opportunity to learn more about their library system and see what goes on behind the scenes to bring so many materials and resources to the public.”
Cumming Library Branch Manager Denise Leeson will lead behind-the-scenes walking tours of the Cumming Library and the IT and Materials Departments in the adjacent Jon McDaniel Administration Building during the 20th Anniversary Celebration. Participants will learn about the services offered at the library, such as study rooms and meeting areas, and learn about the inner workings of library technology and materials processing. Tours will depart from the Cumming Library’s Meeting Room at 5:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.
At 5:30 p.m., Lyle will be joined by Library Board Chairman Mary Helen McGruder for celebratory remarks about the library’s history and plans for its continued growth. Cake and light refreshments will also be served.
Then, families are invited to visit the children’s section of the Cumming Library at 6:30 p.m. for a special Spanish/English bilingual storytime featuring Llama Llama, the beloved children’s book character created by Anna Dewdney.
For more information about library services or upcoming programs, please visit www.forsythpl.org.