By Curt Yeomans
The headquarters branch of the Clayton County Library System has held several "how to" classes for adults this year, teaching people how to do everything from baking a cake, to breaking into the recording industry.
Next month, headquarters branch officials will hold another pair of free, "how to" classes, but this time, they will look introspectively -- they will be classes on how to use the library.
Library officials announced the classes this week, and are taking reservations for them. Sherry Turner, the managing librarian for the headquarters branch, said she will lead the classes.
Turner said the idea for the classes came from questions she has faced regularly at the library's information desk. "We've actually had several requests for this class," she said. "Then, one day, I was showing some people how to use the card catalog system, and I started thinking, 'It's been a long time since we did this class, and I've had a lot of requests for a class on how to use the library, so, maybe, it's time we did this class again.'"
The classes are scheduled to be held on Jan. 12, from 3 p.m., to 4 p.m., and on Jan. 13, from 7 p.m., to 8 p.m., at the headquarters branch, which is located at 865 Battle Creek Road, in Jonesboro. Turner said she will be able to accommodate between 25 and 30 people per class.
In the last year, Turner said, despite the loss of Clayton County's C-Tran bus service, the number of people using the headquarters library branch has held steady at 1,200 to 1,800 people per day. She said that surprises her because C-Tran had a bus stop across the street from the branch, and library patrons regularly used the bus.
"I thought it would have dropped off when the bus stop went away, but it really hasn't [decreased] at all," Turner said.
Still, she said the consistency in the number of patrons coming to the library has not translated into consistency in who is using the library branch. "What surprises me is the constant new faces I'm seeing in the library all the time," Turner said. "Usually, in a community library, you see the same faces over and over again. It's just been a constant stream of new faces."
Turner said the most common things for which people seek assistance from librarians, are: job-search information, and where to find books explaining how to do something. "Probably, the job [web] sites, and what resources we have for any topic are what people ask us about the most," she said.
She added that the headquarters library branch also has some new resources people can use. One is the library's "Mango Languages" computer program, which she compared to the Rosetta Stone language program.
She also said automotive repair guides are now posted on the library system's web site, so people doing work on their cars can have easier access to needed information.
For more information on the "How to Use the Library" classes, call (770) 473-3850.