Beginning at 3 p.m., elected officials, former employees and members of the public are invited to the library for a two-hour celebration organized by the Sequoyah Regional Library System, Friends of Cherokee County Public Library and the Woodstock Public Library.
Sue Stephens, branch manager, said she opened the event to the public because she wants everyone to feel welcome, and that it is their celebration, too.
“Without the public helping us along with donations and using the library, there would be no need for it,” she said. “The main thing we want to convey to the public is to show them how the library has been needed year after year, and a way has been made through generous donations of property to build on.”
Stephens said the largest donors to the library since its inception were Woodstock husband and wife Elizabeth Johnston and Smith Johnston Jr.
In addition to donating the property for the library, Elizabeth Johnston, who died in December 2013, also served on Cherokee County library boards from 1964 to 1991, including boards for the Woodstock Public Library, the R.T. Jones Memorial Library and the Sequoyah Regional Library System. Her titles on the different boards included chair, vice chair, corresponding secretary and member.
Stephens said after welcoming speeches in the Meeting Room, the celebration will move to the Special Collections Room, which will be rededicated to Elizabeth Johnston.
Family of the Johnstons will be present to witness the rededication.
In total, the Woodstock Public Library has had four locations, and Stephens said the Johnstons were “instrumental in seeing that there has been a place each time to house the library.”
Juanita Hughes, former branch manager, said during her 20 years at the library, she saw many changes and transformations, including shifting from paper-and-pencil checkouts to a digital system.
“But one thing that hasn’t changed is that the library’s main focus is still for people to get information and services not offered by any other entity,” she said.
Other festivities during the event will include various children’s activities, a performance by a local children’s choir, a skit by the Elm Street Players and special exhibits. There will also be readings by two award-winning Georgia authors, Southern fiction-writer Mary Hood and children’s literature author Carmen Agra Deedy.
Anita Summers, director of the Sequoyah Regional Library System, said she hopes the event raises awareness about the library to the public.
“We’re very excited to celebrate the Woodstock Library and the history it has in the community,” she said. “We’re very thankful for the public support that the community has shown over the years.”
In 1964, the Woodstock Public Library was the second to open in Cherokee County after joining with Pickens County and Gilmer County to form the regional system in 1958.
In its first year, circulation was about 7,500 items. But as the community grew and the number of patrons, as well as the services offered by the library increased, circulation rose to more than 254,000 items and more than 154,000 patrons visited in 2013.
Within Cherokee County, there are six library branches, including Woodstock, Hickory Flat, Ball Ground, Rose Creek, a law library at the courthouse and R.T. Jones Memorial, where the headquarters for the regional system is located.
“The library is an important part of the community because it provides such a variety of educational opportunities for everyone in the community, from children to adults,” said Elaine Hubbard, who serves on the library board.