The Tallapoosa Library serves more than 22 thousand patrons a year with a multitude of innovative services including job fairs, computer classes, pre-school story time and summer reading clubs, according to Branch Manager Karen Boling.
“Since opening in April 1991 in a new 4,000-square-foot facility with a 12-thousand-volume capacity, we have seen many changes. Recently, thanks to the State of Georgia and the City of Tallapoosa, we added 1,200 square feet to the library,” Boling said.
The cost of the addition was $467,000, according to Mayor William “Pete” Bridges.
“We now have in excess of 21,000 volumes and 21,863 items on the shelves. Old library cards were converted to automated, and circulation became a part of two networks: the five-county West Georgia Regional Library System and the statewide system called Public Information for Electronic Services (PINES),” said Boling.
The West Georgia Regional Library System includes Carroll, Douglas, Haralson, Heard and Paulding counties, and PINES includes 275 libraries in 140 counties.
“We now have a new microfilm reader, a new copy machine, a total of 20 public computers, and we’re adding new smart TV power point projection capability,” Boling said. “We have expanded our large-print book inventory to over 600, and audio books to over 1,000. We have videos, cassettes and tapes, which see frequent use. We also will be adding movie time.”
However, Boling says funding is hard to come by.
“There is no money for programming, and the economic outlook is bleak,” admitted Boling. “We received $1,730 [budgeted funds] this year for across-the-board purchases of materials. That is 17.8 cents per person, compared to 60 cents per person in 2008. We have to rely on local help from the Friends of the Library and other civic groups and individuals. If it weren’t for them, we’d be broke.”
Friends of the Library (FOTL) President Barbara Bridges said, “We have donated as much a $6,000 per year to the library. Every single penny we raise goes for books.”
A regular FOTL source of income is the used book sales at the Cultural Arts Center on Thursdays from 1 to 4 p.m. and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., said Bridges. “All books are $1 each. We have a fantastic group of volunteers who work at the store. We welcome financial donations as well as good used books,” said Bridges, who stressed the importance of books in a free society.
Bridges said the FOTL group has several fundraisers throughout the year, including raffle sales for a chance at a $50 gift certificate donated by Backwoods Restaurant; photos with Santa at Christmas; beverage mug sales at the Dogwood Arts & Crafts Fair in April, and sales from cookbooks.
“We have 50 members of the Friends of the Library, and annual membership dues are only $10. Of course, we welcome new members. We meet every quarter at the library to review our activities, and we encourage suggestions from our members and the public,” Bridges said.
Other FOTL officers, now in their second two-year term, include Vice President Sue Muse, Secretary Carmela Lyons and Treasurer Sheila Sporri.
Bridges and Boling encouraged the purchase of books to honor or memorialize a loved one. A donation of any size will pay for the book and the imprinting of the names of donor and honoree, both of whom will receive a letter of acknowledgement.
If interested, contact Boling at 770-574-3124, or visit library at 45 Bowdon Street.