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New library branch opens this week

Take a behind-the-scenes peek at Post Road facility

POSTED: August 19, 2013 12:30 a.m.
Jennifer Sami/

Bryan White’s “tree of dreams” artwork hangs above the children’s section at the new Post Road Library. The branch is set to open Aug. 24.

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Stephen Kight walked around the Post Road Library with the excitement of a new home buyer.

He smiled while pointing out its features and talked with enthusiasm about the technology plans.

“It’s just a very attractive branch,” said Kight, the library system’s assistant director of public services. “I think people are going to love being here.”

The 23,500-square-foot facility, slated for a grand opening at 10 a.m. Aug. 24, sits on 4 acres at Post and Kelly Mill roads in west Forsyth. It will be the system’s fourth branch, and first since 2010 when Hampton Park opened in north Forsyth.

Funding for the new library, which totaled about $7.2 million, came from the 1-cent sales tax program approved by voters in 2008 and a $2 million state construction grant. The county is slated to provide the funding to operate it.

The facility will debut with more than 60,000 new items on its shelves, which Kight said may eventually grow to about 90,000.

“They’re all just new and clean and exciting,” he said. “The shelves are never going to look this good again. We’re also going to use a lot of technology in this building ... we’ve got kids tablets ready to go and we’ve got different kinds of tablets.”

The Windows 8 tablets can be checked out and used anywhere in the library, including the quiet and hot spot rooms, café-style tables or any of its many soft-chair seating areas.

“There are going to be a lot of places in this branch where people can find a nice quiet cozy corner to sit in,” he said.

The tablets are a pilot program at the new location. If successful, the Sharon Forks branch will be the next to acquire it.

There will also be traditional desktop computers, as well as laptop hookup stations, throughout the Post Road library.

One of the new features of the library is a teen room — a completely separated hangout-style area with swivel desks, young adult books and laptop connections.

“The teen space is actually our very first room devoted entirely to teens in our system,” he said. “We have teen areas at other branches, but this is the only room.”

With bright red coloring and modern furniture, Kight expects the room to be popular for teen gatherings. There also are four study rooms that can be reserved in advance and a lab room, where small classes and lectures can be conducted.

Kight also noted the visual aesthetics of the facility, which sports a lot of color, unique wave-style furniture in the children’s section and historical artwork panels throughout by Bryan White.

The children’s section has a White creation called the “tree of dreams” featuring a collage of local kids.

Not far from that is the Friends & Advocates Bookstore, which initially opened at the Cumming branch. Lynn Pansen, president of the organization, said there were “so many donations that we couldn’t put them all in one store.”

“They’re accumulating in a warehouse, so we’re opening this second store,” she said. “That one is much bigger and it has nonfiction and other things. This one has adult fiction and children’s mostly.”

One of Kight’s favorite features is the automated materials sorter. With one drop-off panel at the front of the building and two on the inside, returns will be immediately scanned into the system and sorted into separate bins. A see-through window inside lets “kids see the process. It’s going to be really cool.”

“We’ve been having a lot of fun playing with it,” he said. “But because of this, we’re actually able to hire fewer shelvers for this location, so it’s going to be a personnel savings in the long run.”

The building is also LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certified, meaning it’s environmentally sustainable. In earning the certification, the staff portion of the library has a full shower for those choosing alternative transportation to work, such as walking or riding a bicycle.

Taking in all the new features, Kight noted that staff members have had “a lot of people asking us when it’s going to open. I think going to be busy right from the get-go.”

 

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