More than 1, 350 Forsyth County residents and library patrons celebrated Saturday’s reopening of the Sharon Forks Library with tours, educational games, cultural performances, and family activities.
Boy Scouts from Pack 205 opened the newly expanded and renovated library branch with a flag raising ceremony and then music from the Lambert High School Orchestra’s String Quintet filled the adult section of the library as patrons began to explore their new library.
World Languages Collection Opens
In recognition of the new World Languages collection at Sharon Forks that now includes books in Mandarin Chinese, Hindi, Tamil, and Telugu, patrons participated in several cultural programs.
Instructors from the University of North Georgia spoke about the history of Chinese tea traditions and prepared five teas for patrons to sample.
Several styles of Indian dance were performed by Darshini Natyalaya School of Dance and Atlanta Nritya Dance Academy.
Chien Hong School of Kung Fu demonstrated a traditional Chinese Lion Dance.
Amid all this excitement about the collection, several patrons took a moment to express their appreciation for these new materials. One patron exclaimed happy surprise to see new books by popular Chinese authors and quickly checked out a generous stack of books. Another couple inquired about books in Hindi and gasped with delight to find hundreds of fiction and non-fiction books in their native language. Yet another patron complimented the library on acquiring such a great selection of non-fiction books in Tamil.
Kishore Devarapalli, his wife Jyothi, and their youngest son Krishna, have been patrons of the Sharon Forks Library for 11 years; but, if they wanted to read books in Telugu, they had to bring them back from India or purchase materials from their local temple. Krishna can now read and write in Telugu and Kishore and Jyothi plan to use the World Languages collection to share more of their family’s culture and history with their children.
“We will take just a few books this time and leave some for others, because we expect this collection to be very popular once people know about it,” says Kishore.
“We love this collection!” exclaims Veda Verisetti as she explores Telugu short stories and novels with her husband Suresh Dhulipudi, daughter Amrutha, and son Siddharth.
Veda teaches Telugu and is passionate about bringing her family’s culture and traditions alive through sharing the language. The children are also learning to read and speak Telugu and Amrutha will begin teaching it to others next year.
While the family has about 150 Telugu books at home, their collection consists mostly of novels carried over during their move from India, scholarly books acquired during college, and several things purchased from online retailers who carry books in Telugu.
“I’m so happy for this new space. It’s very nice,” Suresh says as the family selects a few books to check out.
Shyam Kasthuri and his wife Priya Narasimhan welcome the opportunities the World Languages collection will bring for parents to share their culture with their children, especially when frequent trips to India can’t always be managed.
“This a good collection and our parents will be so excited to visit and spend an afternoon surrounded by both familiar stories and popular new books in their language,” explains Shyam, who plans to check out books in Tamil.
Priya, who is fluent in Tamil and Hindi, says having a collection like this to share with her parents brings her family’s traditions closer to their new home while also sharing the culture with their children.
“When I speak to my children in my language, I am showing them my emotion,” says Priya, who believes that reading in Tamil is an important way to help her children learn new words and continually expand their use of the language.
“We’ve been reading online magazines in Tamil, but we don’t have access to very many print books. Now this library has a whole collection that we can use to share our culture and history with our children,” says Shyam.
The World Languages collection at Sharon Forks currently houses about 500 books in each language and adds to the growing collection of books in Spanish housed in the World Languages collections at the Cumming and Post Road libraries. To browse materials, visit catalog.forsythpl.org and select the World Languages tab in the navigation pane.
Library Tours & Storytimes
Throughout the day, library staff led behind-the-scenes tours, hosted storytimes with costumed characters from popular children’s literature, and assisted patrons with more than 600 inquiries.
By the end of the day, when Girl Scout Cadette Troop #15517 led a flag lowering ceremony, nearly 5,000 books and materials were checked out.
Opening day a wonderful success and a testament to the value the Forsyth community places on literacy, education, and diversity. Additional photos are posted in the Sharon Forks Library Grand Reopening album on the Library’s Facebook Page.