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Libraries have evolved but still hold charm

POSTED: October 2, 2013 4:45 p.m.
 

Did you grow up, as I did, visiting the public library with your mother and siblings?

I have always enjoyed libraries and books in general. As a little girl, I loved picking out piles of books, finding a cozy spot in the children’s section, and reading for what felt like hours.

When my mom came to collect me, she would say those dreaded words, “You can only check out three books.” Oh, the agony of having to choose just three.

Sometimes she would forfeit her allotted books to check one of my books out as if it were hers.

I recall how librarians of that era were, for the most part, spot-on with the stereotype. To my little girl eyes, they all seemed to be older ladies, glasses on a chain around their necks and frowns on their faces — especially when children raised their voices.

Of course, I’m sure there were nice librarians out there. They just didn’t happen to be at the libraries we frequented.

Flash forward a few years to the libraries here in Forsyth County. One word can sum them up: Amazing.

When our children were babies, I remember venturing out to the library in Cumming. I think it was the only one we had at the time.

The librarians were always pleasant. I have even run into a few of them recently and they remembered my frequent visits with the young brood.

They probably remember how crazy it was when I arrived with my bulky double stroller, a newborn and a 13-month old or, a few years later, with two toddlers and expecting a third.

Nonetheless, we loved picking out our piles of books and movies. Our children never had to agonize over choosing three books since there was pretty much an unlimited amount that could be checked out.

I used to cap it at about 10 per child, just so I could keep up with them. Though I always had good intentions and many systems for keeping up with our library books, none really succeeded. 

I don’t want to know how many fines we paid over the years, but I used to rationalize it to Paul by saying we were supporting a good cause.

When we outgrew our first home and moved to another, the trip to the library was a little farther, but we still went regularly.

The opening of the Sharon Springs branch cut down our travel time and it became our home library. And a home it really was.

There were kind and helpful librarians, awesome children’s programs (including summer ones that probably saved my sanity on more than one occasion), and plenty of fantastic books, movies and music selections.

On that note, have you been to our county’s new library on Post Road? If not, you simply must go.

I missed the grand opening, but understand there were about 1,800 people there. Wow!

I recently toured the facility with Ann Decherd, the branch manager, and Laura Bradley, program manager.

The building is beautiful from the outside, but nothing short of spectacular inside. The ambience feels more like a cozy bookstore than a library.

There are plenty of places to sit, including quiet rooms, meeting space, study areas and a fantastic children’s spot, complete with tablets and computers.

There is even a room for teens that has a white board for those who want to work math or science equations.

Speaking of technology, this is the most high-tech library I’ve ever seen. All of the rooms are wired and ready for you to plug in. Forgot your laptop? No problem. You can rent one.

Thanks to Laura, there are so many fabulous programs for everybody. I love the Books & Babies offering. It was heartening to see how many moms and babies were there that day.

If you have children or grandchildren, you really need to take advantage of all of the resources that are available.

In addition, the library’s website is awesome. Very user friendly, you can search for items, reserve or renew them and much more.

I also love the fact that the new library is completely green and LEED certified. That means it has a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, which encourages sustainable buildings.

When you visit the new library, be sure to check out the artwork by local artist and photographer Bryan White. The historic collage of the 1900 Drew Community, which tells the history of the area with pictures, is particularly impressive.

In today’s fast paced, almost frantic feeling world, our libraries are all wonderful places where you can go to relax (or work) and your children can develop a love of books and all things having to do with the library.

We are lucky to have four fantastic facilities in our county.

 

Adlen Robinson is author of “Home Matters: The Guide to Organizing Your Life and Home.” E-mail her at contact@adlenrobinson.com.

 

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