Library Closing Limits Access To Services

Library Closing Limits Access To Services

5:05pm Aug 06, 2014
Denise Louis-Juste and 3-year-old daughter, Bianca, relax outside of the Forsyth County Central Library. They're homeless and rely on the library's resources as Denise searches for a job.
Kathryn Mobley

FC Central Library to close; impact felt by homeless and low-income residents. 

Outside the Forsyth County Central Library, Denise Louis-Juste sits on a bench with her three year-old daughter, Bianca.  Four months ago, the pair moved to Winston-Salem from Orlando. They live in a nearby shelter and Denise is struggling to find work.  They walk to the library almost every day where Denise fills out job applications.

The single mother says when this location closes, she’ll lose access to support she really needs. “Everyone just watches out for each other here because it’s almost the same people who come here every day. It’s like a family.”Forsyth County Central Library will close this fall for two years while the 5th Street building is completely renovated. Staff and most of the programs and resources will be dispersed among the nine branches.Damon Sanders-Pratt is Forsyth County's deputy manager and oversees the library system. He says people will have access to free computers and other library resources without traveling too far.

“Within five miles there’s another four branches that people can take advantage of, they're on bus-lines and will provide similar services as the central library,” says Sanders-Pratt.

But Stephen Henderson says he doesn’t always have enough money to ride the city bus. He regularly walks to the library and relies on its resources.

“I use the computers to file for social security support, also to apply for jobs," says Henderson. "So if it shuts down for two years, it’s a long time.”

Library administrators are fine tuning how it will continue operations while the downtown location is under construction. Sanders-Pratt says several other matters connected with the project have to be resolved before a final closing date is set.

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