Sharon Forks Library, a branch of the Forsyth County Library System, turns eleven years old this year. Opened in November 2000, Sharon Forks was designed in the Arts and Crafts style, featuring mullioned-window interior walls, overhead mosaic panels, and furniture reminiscent of Stickley handicraft. Patrons find the vivid jewel-tone colors warm and welcoming.
The 23,000 square-foot branch was designed for a capacity of 100,000 users each year and a collection of 96,000 items. At that time, this was more than sufficient for the demand. In the past ten years, both Sharon Forks users and the collection have grown to 180,000 users annually and a collection size of 107,424 items. The greatest increase has been in circulation. Sharon Forks checked out 248,138 items in fiscal year 2001 compared to 857,668 in FY2011, a 246% increase!
To address this growth, Forsyth County Public Library is planning an expansion and renovation project for the Sharon Forks Library building. Voters approved the extension of a county SPLOST on November 8, 2011. The library’s portion will be $2.8 million when revenues are collected. The following changes are proposed:
- Up to 5,000 square feet additional public space
- An increase in parking from 150 spaces to 170 spaces
- Expanded adult and children’s collections
- A single-point-of-service public help desk
- Additional soft seating and study tables
Although the interior window-walls add to the charm of the design, they reduce flexibility in growing and shifting collections. Some of the walls will be removed. Staff workrooms and offices occupying the core of the building will be relocated to allow for a merging of the Circulation and Information departments into a central service desk.
Like so many other systems, FCPL has implemented self-check systems to supplement staffing dollars. Sharon Forks currently has three self-check units and more will be purchased with the renovation. An automated materials handling system is slated for installation to reduce check-in duties for staff.
Even though there will be many changes in the construction project, the nostalgic Arts and Crafts design and inviting color scheme will continue to welcome visitors. A patron commented recently: “Have I told you all how wonderful this library and staff are? I just love this place.” We certainly don’t want to change that response!
For more information on the Sharon Forks Library, please visit http://www.forsythpl.org/