The Peachtree City Library is much more than a “nice to have” place. It is a vital part of our community.
The library is essential to children whose school libraries are open for only 30 minutes or so after school hours and not at all on weekends.
The library’s 96,000 books, music CDs, movies on DVD, and audio books are checked out nearly a half a million times each year by the more than 250,000 people who visit the library.
The 2011 Vacation Reading Program saw 1,921 children and teens sign up, to read more than 15,000 hours and over 240 books, respectively.
The library is a gateway to the Internet, with 17 hard-wired terminals and a WiFi system for folks with iPads and laptops. The staff expects to establish a record of more than 33,000 Internet log-ons this year.
A card from the PTC Library can open a world of wonder, including audio and print books downloadable to MP3 devices and most e-book readers.
Your library card opens free access to databases as diverse as Ancestry.com, Chilton Auto Repair, and SAT Preparation. Your library card also provides access to the collections of nearly 300 other libraries throughout Georgia.
The library’s subscriptions to the Wall Street Journal, the Atlanta Journal Constitution, USA Today, Consumer Reports and Value Line Investment Survey are read by dozens of patrons each day. The library is also a distribution point for local newspapers including The Citizen.
Despite the increasing emphasis on electronic books, there is still a place for print books: picture books by Dr. Seuss that little hands can hold; obscure but important books that won’t make the e-book lists; worn paperbacks that can be taken to the beach without having to worry about sand or water; and more.
With the increasing emphasis on electronic research, the Reference Staff fields hundreds of requests for assistance and provides hours of individual computer help to folks doing research and writing resumes. The Reference Collection of real books includes many that simply aren’t on the Internet, and is used by teens and adults researching school projects, job prospects, genealogical information, and more.
The library is a place for socialization and interaction. It hosts two book clubs, a circle of experienced and fledgling writers, and so far this year, programs featuring more than 20 local authors. The Children’s Department has conducted 77 programs with nearly 3,500 participants in just this summer. Each year, more than 350 meetings of homeowners associations, scout troops, language classes, health education programs, and sports groups are held in the library’s classrooms and meeting rooms.
The library offers volunteer opportunities to Boy and Girl Scouts, members of Beta and Key Clubs, and other teenagers who are working on service awards, as well as scores of people who simply want to give something to their community. In this fiscal year, 81 volunteers have contributed more than 3,000 hours of service to the library and the patrons it serves.
The library reflects the values of the people of Peachtree City. National average library circulation per person is 7.28; in Georgia it’s 4.69; in Peachtree City, it’s 12.28.
Libraries are among the most efficient of all public services. The Peachtree City Library offers all its services for less than 4 percent of all tax dollars. The national average per person cost of a library is $31 each year; the Peachtree City Library does that for $28 a year — about the cost of a single hardcover book.
In the spirit of full disclosure, I have been a volunteer at the library for about three years. I serve as secretary of the Friends of the Peachtree City Library. Please accept this as the basis of a qualified opinion rather than as evidence of bias.
The Peachtree City Library Corporation was chartered on May 7, 1973 by a group of citizens who were dissatisfied with the once-a-week bookmobile service, all that was available at the time. When the current library was built in the mid-1990s and turned over to the citizens of Peachtree City, the Library Corporation became a Friends group.
In the past two years, the Friends have bought $6,000 worth of new, educational computers for the Children’s Department and have donated or purchased more than $50,000 worth of books to the library. We are committed to ensuring a first class library in Peachtree City.
We ask the City Council and the people of Peachtree City to share that commitment. To join us, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. To send your message to the City Council, use email@example.com.
Paul W. Lentz, Jr.
Peachtree City, Ga.