18:00 PM

Community Impact: Local Libraries

Paper and Pixels to Support Young Readers

Librarians are busier than ever, according to Beth McIntyre, regional director of Piedmont Regional Library System, which oversees libraries in Banks, Barrow and Jackson counties.

Since awarding its first grant to the library system in 2006 for the purchase of $15,000 in children’s books, the Jackson EMC Foundation has contributed $85,000 to the Piedmont Regional Library System to build the children’s book collection and to accelerate the system’s e-book program.

“Brain development begins at birth, and reading to young children has been shown to increase brain development at those imperative early stages,” says McIntyre. “A variety of books is essential at this level of development.”

"Especially in the summer, we can’t keep enough children’s books on the shelves; they fly out the door,” says McIntyre. “The Jackson EMC Foundation grants help us serve more children."

As the only public institution that offers books year-round, the public library plays a role in preventing summer slide— the summer break when many students lose retention of the previous school year’s learnings.

McIntyre doesn’t see the demise of hardback or paperback books anytime soon. In the meantime, more than 2,000 e-books were checked out during a recent month.

Most importantly, she reiterates, is that the communities are served with plenty of options for book reading. Of the 160,000 people who reside in the three counties served by Piedmont Regional Library System, more than 55,000 are library card holders, according to McIntyre. That’s a lot, but she’s eager to hand out more.

To learn more about the Piedmont Regional Library System, go to prlib.org.