JOHNS CREEK, Ga. — Both libraries in Johns Creek will be closed for renovations for most of 2019, but a bookstore run by two local women is picking up the slack.
Johns Creek Books and Gifts opened in July 2018, fulfilling a lifelong dream of Tina Newman and Anne Hamilton.
The store specializes in books for students, young adult readers and book clubs, as well as carrying gifts and puzzles. Newman said shoppers enjoy the welcoming atmosphere and personalized recommendations.
“Everybody wants a local, community bookstore,” Newman said. “Once people come in, they come back. Once they know that we’re here, everybody walks out saying ‘this place is great.’”
Newman and Hamilton have been keeping the space busy with monthly book clubs, authors’ talks and charity drives. With the Ocee and Spruill Oaks Libraries closing this summer, the bookstore will take over hosting some of the community groups that normally meet at the public libraries.
“We thought it was a win-win,” Hamilton said. “Obviously as a bookstore we are book lovers, and as a new store we are still trying to get our name out into the community”
Some of the events the bookstore will host include yoga, story time, anime club, board games and the PAWS reading program.
“When people found out their libraries were going to be closed this summer, they were rightly upset,” Hamilton said. “The libraries weren’t given a lot of control, but with both Spruill Oaks and Ocee being closed this summer, that impacts a lot of people in this area.”
Many families rely on libraries to provide entertainment and education to their kids while they’re out of school for the summer.
“Elementary school kids that don’t read over the summer lose a lot of their reading skills,” Hamilton said. “I think having some of these library events will give kids things to do, yes, but then also encourage that love of books. Continuing their reading through the summer is very important for long-term academic success.”
On May 4, the bookstore will host internationally acclaimed poet Cecilia Woloch. She will present a reading and a workshop from from 10:30 a.m.to 12:30 p.m., presented by the Johns Creek Poetry Group and sponsored by Poets & Writers, Inc., and The Friends of the Northeast/Spruill Oaks Library.
“This is an event the library planned, and we feel very honored we get to host that for them,” Hamilton said.
Woloch is the author of six collections of poems and a novel. She is a Fulbright Scholar and the recipient of a Pushcart Prize, The New Ohio Review Poetry Prize and more.
Northeast Spruill Oaks Library, at 9560 Spruill Road, was scheduled to close April 15, but the closing has been delayed. The Dr. Robert. E. Fulton Ocee Library, at 5090 Abbotts Bridge Road, is scheduled to close June 3, and is expected to reopen January 2020.
The renovations are part of a $275 million Fulton County bond referendum passed in 2008 that funded creation of eight new branches and the renovation of 22 existing libraries.
Improving accessibility, modernization and sustainability are the aims of all the renovations. Both Johns Creek locations are pursuing LEED Silver certification.
The renovations for Spruill Oaks and Ocee will include repairs to exterior walls and the roofs; a refresh to paint and flooring; LED lighting; new furniture and updated technology, including self-checkout stations.
Both libraries are getting small study rooms for two to six patrons, a sale and storage area for the Friends of the Library groups, a café area in the lobby and a dedicated storytelling space in the children’s area.
Both renovations will include reconfiguring the parking lots to improve flow, with directional arrows, stop bars, restriping and crosswalks.
“We’re sad that the libraries have to close for the summer, but we think this is a way for the community to not feel that hole so much,” Hamilton said.
Johns Creek Books is at 6000 Medlock Bridge Road, Suite B500. For more information on events, visit johnscreekbooks.com.