Many of the adults, said Assistant Manager Janice Burrell, are searching for work. Others come by to access the complete collection of state and federal tax forms the library keeps on file.
Computer sessions totaled at 29,529 last year, according to performance indicator numbers provided by the library.
April marks national library month, and the Calhoun-Gordon Council For a Literate Community, along with the Calhoun-Gordon County Library staff, is recognizing it with a “communities thrive at your library” theme.
A pure love of reading still makes the library a big draw. The current card holder total is 31,307.
“I bet I’m here twice a week,” said Calhoun resident Fred Penick.
The hushed atmosphere and volume-filled shelves are often a haven for those just looking for relaxation.
“It’s been kind of my second home,” said Kristina Ames, a volunteer at the library since last August.
A longtime patron before she became a volunteer, Ames works up to twice a week at the library, filing books or unloading new deliveries, like the tax forms.
“Sometimes it’s just a matter of organization,” she said.
Part of library month includes staff appreciation and recognition. Burrell said patrons are invited to fill out a library appreciation form available at cgcl.org and let the library know which staff member went the extra mile to help them or what they appreciate about the library in general.
The library employs four full time employees; five part time employees, plus two students; and 15 volunteers.
Libraries still provide access to many valuable resources, virtually for free. Library cards, Burrell said, are free; replacements are $2. Patrons can check out up to 20 items at a time, including books, audio books, videos and some magazines.
Even fines can be easily avoided these days, she said. Patrons need only to call in and renew a book, provided it has not been requested by someone else, when they know its return date is approaching.
Yet funding for libraries on a national scale has seen threats in a bumpy economy.
Here, a regional van service that provides for 19 homebound residents in the Northwest Georgia Library system, was discontinued, in March, said library board member Wayne Minshew. The system includes the Calhoun-Gordon County Library, as well as the Chatsworth-Murray County and the Dalton Whitfield County Libraries.
Another service that allows seniors to check out books from a selection brought to their homes has also been suspended, he said, but “there’s a chance they’ll get it back.”
The library staff has taken budget adjustments in stride, according to Minshew. “It’s a good, competent staff and they’re adjusting,” he said.
“Libraries are in a perfect storm,” American Library Association Chapter Relations Office Director Michael Dowling said. “They are busier than ever helping families survive during these tough economic times, yet public, school, and academic libraries are facing closures and elimination of librarians and library workers — the people who help those with a job application, teach 21st century skills, and nurture the love of reading in kids that will serve them the rest of their lives.”
The American Library Association has created an “action alert” initiative that allows library users to easily contact their area legislators and tell them how important libraries are locally.
Dowling urged library users to use the “action alert” feature on the ALA Web site to contact their representatives.
Learn more about this initiative, visit georgialibraries.org.