By Jerrod Moore
The Dekalb County Public Library System had humble beginnings, starting in Lithonia with Miss Lula Almand founding the Lithonia Public Library in 1907. Since then, that one library has flourished into the Dekalb County Public Library System, which now operates 22 library facilities throughout DeKalb County. As of 2019, the budget for the DeKalb County Public Library System was well over 19 million dollars. Unfortunately, it seems that not many of those dollars have matriculated to the Gresham Branch in Southeast DeKalb.
As a long-time resident of Dekalb County, I have utilized the services of various branches of the Dekalb County Public Library System, from the northern most part of the county to the southern most parts. There are vast differences throughout the library system, but there are basic commonalities that should be found, no matter where the branch of the library is located. The Gresham Branch is lacking much of what I have seen on the north side of the county. Not only does the Gresham Branch lack an adequate variety of books; but the landscape has been severely neglected. This is true of the outside and inside of the library. Outside the library, the paint on the drop box is chipping, and the parking lines in the parking lot can barely be seen. The exterior of the library building itself is in dire need of a pressure wash, and gives the aesthetic of a dank jail. It's no wonder that on any given day (and certainly the days that I visit), there is usually a maximum of 6 patrons inside the library, at any time during the regular operating hours.
A few years ago, a new building was made for the Scott Candler Branch and I expect that something similar needs to be done for the Gresham Branch. The branch is sandwiched between McNair Middle School and McNair Senior High School. At a minimum, renovations should be made because the area is growing in size and wealth. If you are a concerned citizen like me, please contact the representatives from this area to make this an adequate library for the citizens of Dekalb County. The Gresham Branch is located in DeKalb County District 3, which is represented by Commissioner Larry Johnson. He can be reached via email at email@example.com or by phone at (404) 371-2425. The Super District Commissioner for District 3 is Commissioner Ted Terry. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (404) 371-4909.
To find your Dekalb County District or Super District Commissioner, please visit https://www.dekalbcountyga.gov/board-commissioners/board-commissioners. The Board of Commissioners has regular meetings every Tuesday morning at 9a.m., all of which are open to the public. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, all meetings have been held virtually, and may be viewed at: https://www.dekalbcountyga.gov/dctv/video-demand. Public participation is still allowed, and the rules governing such are posted at https://www.dekalbcountyga.gov/board-commissioners/public-participation. Past meeting recordings are also available for viewing at this link.
It is also helpful to join the Friends of the Dekalb Library. Friends of the Library support their local library branches, and membership is open to all. Friends exist to promote the use of their local libraries, and garner support for them. To find out more about Friends of the Library and get involved, please visit https://dekalblibrary.org/support-us/friends-of-the-library.