FCPL Friends & Advocates (FCPLFA), a local charitable organization that supports library and literacy initiatives in Forsyth County, received the Fabulous Friends Award from Friends of Georgia Libraries. The Fabulous Friends Award is presented to a local Friends group that accomplished outstanding advocacy and support for their library.

The group was nominated for the award by leaders at the Forsyth County Public Library.

“We’re so proud of the Friends & Advocates, President Jodie Barger, and all the Friends volunteers for their service. We’re so pleased to see their efforts recognized by Friends of Georgia Libraries,” says Library Director Anna Lyle.

Since 1996, when Forsyth County Public Library became an independent public library system, the Friends contributed more than $420,000 for the purchase of books and materials, as well as supporting events, author talks, and other literacy programs. Of this remarkable total, about 70% was contributed in the last eight years, since the first Friends Bookstore opened at the Cumming Library in 2012.

“Now we have Friends Bookstores at the Cumming Library, the Post Road Library, and the Sharon Forks Library. We’re grateful to the Friends volunteers who give so freely of their time to sort donated books, keep the shelves stocked, and help bookstore shoppers,” says Deputy Director Stephen Kight.

Donations from the Friends fund a wide array of projects, including early literacy computer stations and enhancements to the library’s collections, such as picture books and large print materials. Friends donations supplement programs that support the library’s mission to champion literacy, lifelong learning, and personalized service to all patrons.

The Friends’ generous sponsorship of the annual Summer Reading Fun program enables the library to hire professional performers and provide prize books and other incentives to increase participation and enthusiasm for reading among children and teens. Other youth programs that receive support from the Friends include Books & Babies, STEAM programs, a multicultural series, and Leap into Literacy, an early literacy outreach initiative.

The Friends’ support of adult programs includes computer classes and the popular Forsyth Reads Together series, a community reading program that encourages everyone to read and discuss the same book. Their support has helped to bring world-renowned authors such as Kathryn Stockett, Dennis Lehane, Gregory Maguire, and Martha Hall Kelly to Forsyth County.

In addition to being fabulous friends to the library, the Friends are a positive influence in the Forsyth County community.

The group supports community literacy initiatives to provide gently used juvenile and teen books to the Forsyth County Juvenile Court for distribution to young readers. The Friends also donate gently used paperback books to inmates at the Forsyth County Jail.

“Over the last two years, Friends volunteers have worked with our staff and the jail to provide more than 3,400 books to inmates,” says Kight.

The group also supports the library’s outreach to Jesse’s House, an emergency shelter for teenage girls. Each time a resident of Jesse’s House participates in a program or event at the library, they can choose a free book from the Friends Bookstore to keep for their own personal library.

“We are very grateful to the Friends for their assistance in serving community members who might not have access to books. We appreciate all the Friends do to encourage reading and we’re honored to be a partner,” says Lyle.

For more information on the FCPL Friends & Advocates, to become a volunteer, or to make a contribution, please visit forsythfol.org.