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Overdue recognition
Residents drawn to library in hard times
Library 6 es
Joshua Wolff, 3, and his sister Brielle Wolff, 5, play on the children's computers Tuesday afternoon at the Forsyth County Public LIbrary Cumming Branch. - photo by Emil
With spring break looming, one Forsyth County Public Library official said residents are stopping by the system’s two branches to “stock up on good travel reading.”

Other items flying off the shelves in light of the upcoming school holiday include books on tape or CD.

“Families who are traveling together look for something to listen to on the drive,” said Vanessa Cowie, the library’s programming coordinator.

Looking beyond spring break, which runs April 6-10 for students in the Forsyth County school district, the local library system has a good bit going on for residents at both its Cumming and Sharon Forks branches.

The system’s demonstration series offers information on engine repair, which library staff will walk residents through via online resources. These classes are scheduled throughout April.

Following spring break, events include storytime for children ages 2 to 5 between April 13-30. Check the library’s Web site for specific dates.

The library also is working with Forsyth Reads Together to promote several Edgar Allen Poe-themed readings, exhibitions and films. Events for the annual reading initiative begin April 13 at the Cumming branch.

The system, like many other services, is adjusting in the face of the economic downturn.

In response to a large increase of systemwide visitors, the library plans to trim the checkout period for all materials from three weeks to two weeks.

The move becomes effective for all books checked out after May 1.

According to the library’s Web site, “in the face of increasing demand ... reducing the checkout period will result in more choices on our shelves for you and quicker turnaround materials placed on hold.”

Library Director Jon McDaniel said the number of library visitors increased by 22 percent in 2008, and the system’s Summer Reading program for children saw a 53 percent increase in attendance over the previous year.

“In this time of economic stress, Forsyth County residents have turned to the library in ever-larger numbers, especially for computers and technology,” McDaniel said.

He said needs continue to rise as “adults type resumes and research prospective employers, students use databases for homework help, people send e-mail to faraway relatives.”

Plans to open a third library branch are on track for early 2010.

Construction began in November on the 23,500-square-foot Hampton Park Library branch on Settingdown Road.

Local and state funding for a fourth library on Post Road was approved, and designs for the facility should be ready next year.

E-mail Frank Reddy at