It came as no surprise to me to learn that the DeKalb County library system had been named Georgia Library of the Year by the Georgia Public Library Service. I have been a patron for thirty years and the excellent resources of the various branches have helped me get a Phd., do valuable research for historic preservation projects for the City of Atlanta and write numerous academic and popular articles. In addi-tion, I have worked with Decatur library professionals for over ten years as a volunteer for the Friends of Decatur Library. The programs and resources made available to library users have always been outstanding.
The award recognizes the system for “offering public programming that embraces the county’s community.” This success is especially noted by the Library Service for programs designed to serve the “underserved communities throughout DeKalb.” As county CEO Michael Thurmond commented, “DeKalb County is extremely proud of our public library system and the critical role it plays in promoting life-long learning.” As a 71 year old who uses the library multiple times each week, I can verify that that is certainly true.
Along with the thousands of books available in all subject areas, the libraries also provide music CD’s and videos to check out along with ebooks and computer access. The last includes free connections to such websites as ancestry and many others. In addition, various branches offer films, group activities and even musical programs for all ages. It also hosts [at the Decatur branch] the Georgia Center for the Book which brings noted local and national authors every month for book signing/events as well as readings by Atlanta’s best poets via Poetry Atlanta.
Library Director Alison Weissinger stated, “DeKalb County Public Library is a system of individual library locations serving diverse interest and needs.” One of the programs she is most proud of is the Read More Campaign whose slogan “Read More, Play More, Make More, Get More” highlights the seemingly endless activities available every month fulfilling a “common goal of promotion, outreach and unity.”
Just a few of the other programs include the Prime Time Pre-School for 3-4 year olds, Fine Free Summers for juvenile readers, a Senior Advisory Board, and the Human Library Project where individuals share life experiences. With a newly increased budget in 2018 [up $2.2 million] and an increase in mini-mum wage for employees, there are even better opportunities for all library users than ever before. Pro-grams are also enhanced by patrons via several “Friends of the Library” organizations dedicated to raising additional funding for special programs at individual branches.
For more information on the DeKalb Library system, go to www.dekalblibrary.org Or visit your local branch for printed information on all activities there and county-wide.
– Dick Funderburke