“Familiarity breeds contempt,” or so Aesop said.
If the old adage is true, maybe that explains why officials with the county’s library system find themselves constantly responding to queries as to whether libraries continue to be relevant.
The short answer obviously is yes.
Library officials, responding to such an inquiry from Commissioner Todd Levent, last week released statistics showing that nearly 2 million items were checked out from county libraries by more than 516,000 visitors last year. That’s an impressive number, especially considering that it was only in 2002 that annual circulation topped the 1 million mark.
Obviously a lot of folks still take advantage of the resources made available through the county’s library system.
We suspect that many of those who question whether public money spent on libraries continues to be a wise investment fail to take into consideration the changes library systems have made in recent years.
Simply put, our local libraries are a lot more than just shelf after shelf of hardback books, as once was typical. Today’s modern libraries have changed with the times, adding to their inventories ebooks, audiobooks, DVDs, music and computers for public use.
Libraries also take advantage of technology to make the user experience convenient and friendly, including online access to catalogs of library materials. And they offer opportunities to maximize public use, such as “storytime” for youngsters and book clubs for adults.
In an affluent county like Forsyth it is sometimes easy to forget that not every household has a computer for use, not every family budget can accommodate the purchase of a book, and not every student has ready access to resource information needed for academic success.
The county’s library system has repeatedly been recognized as the best in Georgia, earning that honor five times over a period of seven years, and is ranked among the top 12 in the Southeast.
It does, indeed, remain very relevant, and those responsible for its operation deserve accolades for their leadership.
And as for the origin of that Aesop quote? You can find it in a book — in the library.