Library patrons are continuing their tradition of making June and July the busiest months for Columbia County libraries.
With the increased patronage comes demand for the county's new library, scheduled for construction later this year.
Director of Library Services Christina Rice says, "We expect a groundbreaking sometime in November. We'll be doing fundraising in the meantime."
Norma Hickman, president of Friends of Columbia County Libraries, is hoping to get new memberships this summer to help with the expenses of the new building, among other projects.
"We raise funds to help the library," Hickman says.
Friends holds monthly book sales, and the proceeds go to the libraries. The next sale is scheduled for the Gibbs Library Annex on Saturday, August 3, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Hardcover books are priced at $1.00 and paperbacks are 50 cents.
"We have made and given $25,000 to the Library Foundation in the past three years," Hickman says.
The funds have been used to help purchase equipment and have contributed to the summer reading program.
The prices for membership in Friends increased July 17. An individual annual membership is $10, family membership is $15, and the cost is $100 for a lifetime membership. As an added benefit, members receive a 20 percent discount at Borders Books, Music, and Cafe. Corporate memberships and sponsor positions are also offered.
Friends' fundraising helps the libraries fund their activities, especially during the busy summer months in which children's activities increase to meet demand. There are story times for children available for different age groups, and school-age children are taking a trip around the world - on paper - by 'visiting' a different country every week. Parents must call their local library to register for this program.
In addition, every Wednesday in July Friends sponsors a craft workshop for children at Gibbs Library. Parents can call Gibbs at 863-1946 to register; spaces are limited.
Pam Link, who is in charge of the summer reading program, says the program is very successful this summer. Last summer more than 2,000 children completed the program in the county. The program ends July 26, but children can still pick up a folder at the Gibbs, Harlem or Euchee Creek branch to participate.
Beginning readers or children who are still read to are asked to read 20 books. Third-grade readers and up are asked to complete 10 hours of reading. After completing the program, children are rewarded with prizes. Among the goodies offered are two tickets to a GreenJackets game, a certificate, and coupons redeemable at various fast food restaurants for free food.
The children's names are also sent to their schools for recognition once summer is over.
"We really encourage kids to participate, especially beginning readers, to keep their skills up over the summer," Link says.
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