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Naming of new library, renovations of Cumming branch focus of meeting
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The Forsyth County Public Library held a board meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 20, at Sharon Forks Library. Among the topics of discussion were the renovation at the Cumming Library, the naming of the new proposed library on Fowler Road and the 2022 budget.


Cumming Library renovations

The Cumming Library began renovations in 2019 when new carpet, paint, tiles, fixtures and lighting for shelves were installed. Now, the library is nearing its final stages of renovations, and some of the finishing touches were presented to the board by Holly Barfield, information technology and facilities manager for the Forsyth County Public Library.

The renovations will include new outdoor entry surfacing, new focal points and destination elements in the children’s area, a new service desk and a conversion to LED lighting. The budget for this phase is $400,000 with $360,000 in state Major Repairs and Renovation grant funds and $40,000 in library funds. 

“We really tried to look at Sharon Forks [as an] example in terms of the service desk and in terms of the children’s destination area, but [Cumming Library] is a smaller space,” said Anna Lyle, library director. “We had to look at what works and … how we could try to have the same destination experience on a smaller scale. I think we got to a good point with this [project].” 

Other renovations will include new paneled light fixtures with sound-deafening panels throughout to help with sound levels in the building. 

Themes of yellow, green and soft blue will adorn the children’s area along four load-bearing columns. Barfield said that with the added nooks and crannies for children to read and play in, along with benches for adults, the columns would not stand out like before.

The new service desk will be custom made and ADA accessible. The desk will also feature a shorter side, about kid-height, where children will be able to go and ask questions. 

After the presentation, Lyle said that bids would be sent out and would return before the board later, likely at the March 2021 meeting. Lyle said that while the finishing date on the project was set for late June, it was likely that the project would be completed by fall of 2021.


Naming of new library

The board also took action to name the new library that is planned on Fowler Road. There was discussion between the board members to decide between two names – Denmark Library or Fowler Road Library.

Board member Tim Plotner was for the Fowler Road name, saying that namesake was consistent with the other libraries, like Post Road Library. Plotner also said he did not relate to the area off Fowler Road as being Denmark.

“I just don’t relate to [Denmark] at all. Granted, I’ve only been in Forsyth County for 15 or 20 years, but I have not met anybody who related to that name,” Plotner said. “I get that it might someday become a recognized feel of an area, and maybe we [will] contribute to that, but … I just dislike that name, … but I will get used to it if that’s the way the board wants to go.” 

Denmark ¬was named after the late Leila Denmark, one of the first female pediatricians in Georgia. She lived near the site.

Kristin Morrissey, secretary and treasurer, advocated for the name Denmark, saying she wanted to help the community of Denmark grow in its identity.

“To me, [this area] is like the Denmark community, it’s like branding,” Morrissey said. “They have an identity over there, it’s going to become that [Denmark] area.” 

Other board members were ambivalent to the name suggestions, though Chairwoman Mary Helen McGruder said she liked the name Denmark after hearing that the future adjacent park would also be bearing the same name as the high school.

“If you look at the [surrounding] area, it’s McFarland, and that [isn’t] going to work,” McGruder said. “That’s what the character area is. The other road that adjoins it is Mullinax … but the access is from Fowler Road, so that would be confusing. Basically, the choice comes between Fowler Road and Denmark.” 

The board voted in favor of naming it Denmark Library. The vote was 4-1 with Tim Plotner voting against the motion.


Library budget approved for 2022

The board approved the fiscal year 2022 public library budget at the meeting with a unanimous vote, 5-0.  

The total expenditures for 2022 will be $8,263,931, which will be an increase from the 2021 expenditure budget of $8,107,767. The budget breaks down as $6,107,611 for personnel; $933,303 materials; and $1,223,017 for operations.

Personnel include employee salaries and additional benefits. Materials encompass all adult, youth and electronic materials, as well as other miscellaneous materials and operations will include services such as advertising, cleaning and grounds maintenance. 

The total revenue for the FCPL in 2022 is estimated to be $8,105,154 which is an increase from the $8,025,310 in revenue from 2021.