SOUTH FORSYTH -- The state’s busiest library is about to get an upgrade.
Patrons and members of the community are encouraged to attend a groundbreaking ceremony Monday, Nov. 14 at 2:30 p.m. that will commemorate the start of an expansion and renovation project at Sharon Forks Library.
The library, located at 2820 Old Atlanta Road in south Forsyth, has seen a 300 percent increase in its patrons since opening in 2000 as the county’s second library branch.
Of the four branches in the library system, Sharon Forks is the smallest in terms of square footage, yet Sharon Forks checked out more materials than any other library in Georgia in 2015 —for the fiscal year that ended on June 30, the branch alone had more than 1 million checkouts.
“With so many Forsyth residents using the Sharon Forks Library, it became clear to voters than an expansion would be necessary and $2.8 million for construction was pledged in SPLOST VII,” Library Director Anna Lyle said.
Forsyth County impact fees will provide $2.1 million for construction, and a state grant will deliver about $2 million — combined, the funding will allow for a “comprehensive expansion” of the library.
When construction is complete, the library will be nearly double its current size.
“During the planning process, we conducted surveys and talked with patrons, staff and volunteers to learn which features should be prioritized,” Lyle said.
The finished facility will feature a larger meeting room, more parking, a dedicated teen room, six new study rooms, a hot spot area similar to the one at Post Road Library, a bigger Friends Bookstore and an automated drive-through book return.
Construction is expected to take just more than a year and will be completed in phases.
The expansion will be constructed first. Once that is completed, the library will move its existing services and materials into the new portion of the facility while the current area is renovated.
Then, new furnishing, equipment and materials will be installed throughout the entire facility, and outdoor landscaping and parking lots will be completed.
Lyle said the staff will maintain a focus through the process to “minimize disruptions to library services during construction.
Patrons can stay up to date on the construction by visiting forsythpl.org/sharonforks, where they can view photos of the work in progress and receive updates about upcoming phases and how it may impact services or access to materials.
Patrons can opt-in to receive email announcements and text message alerts on the Sharon Forks website.
“For example, many students come over to Sharon Forks from South Forsyth Middle School in the afternoons,” Lyle said. “If there is an interruption in internet or other utility services, especially if it requires the library to close for safety reasons, we want parents and students to know as quickly as possible so they can plan accordingly.”