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Library board grateful for system's 'Friends'
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Forsyth County News

Summer reading

The Forsyth County Public Library's summer reading program allowed local children and students to keep track of the books they read over the summer. More than 3,000 youth signed up and have recorded reading 26,416 books, said Vanessa Cowie, programming coordinator. Prize books have been provided by the FCPL Friends & Advocates.

-- Alyssa LaRenzie

Library board members on Tuesday thanked the Forsyth County Public Library Friends & Advocates for the organization's numerous contributions to the system.

Most recently, a $3,182 donation will go in part toward the purchase of a license to show movies at the Hampton Park library branch in north Forsyth.

The library will open the free series with a showing of "The Wizard of Oz" in September.

Money from the nonprofit local group has also gone toward bringing in professional performers, such as a magician who visited some local branches last week.

Mary Helen McGruder, who chairs the library board, brought her grandchildren to see the performer and said the event was well attended.

She thanked the group for the many programs, which also include book clubs and events for adults.

"In these budget times, I don't think the library could afford to do all the programming without the Friends," she said.

The library, which just wrapped up its fiscal year, saw more checkouts despite staggered open hours implemented in January.

"We increased the checkouts by 16 percent," said Director Jon McDaniel. "We're still growing."

The checkout process grew easier this year as well, with self-checkout stations at each of the system's three branches.

The machines are expected to help reduce dependence on staff, which will allow the system to continue using employees' time wisely, McDaniel said.

The library will begin an educational campaign on how to use self-checkout in August to boost the rates of those using the stations.

Vanessa Cowie, programming coordinator, said the machines have been well-received by library users.

"A patron said, 'My 2-year-old son can do this. Anyone can,'" Cowie said.

Moving forward, the library board expects possible budget cuts from the state and requested the bare minimum of funding needed from the county government.