Category : Foundation

Gwinnett Libraries bring Learning alive!

Thanks to a generous donation from the Atlanta Retailers Association (ARA) that was matched by the Community Foundation for Northeast Georgia, Alive Studios is equipping all 15 Gwinnett County Public Library branches with its evidence-based Learning alive™ kits.

Alive Studios is a Gwinnett-based software developer that creates mind-boggling learning experiences to increase student engagement and improve early literacy. Students are motivated and inspired as they interact with 26 virtual zoo animals while learning the essential fundamentals of reading and math. Alive Studios’ programs use a technology called augmented reality (3D without glasses) to bring lessons to life. The learning kits are currently being used in more than 3,500 classrooms around the country.

“We’re very excited to be the first public library in the country to roll out this program,” said Shelly Schwerzler, the development manager at Gwinnett County Public Library. The library system plans to make this highly engaging learning experience available to children all around Gwinnett. “Our youth services team will be incorporating this new way to learn about letters, words, and sentences into our existing early literacy programs,” Schwerzler added.   

The Learning alive Plus kit that will be donated to each library branch includes 26 letter cards, 97 sight-word cards, and 84 word-family cards. Each card is interactive and triggers multiple 3D animations depending on the word or sentence that is created. While learning to identify and sound out each letter, children are able to hear, see, touch, build, and speak throughout the lesson. This multimodal approach appeals to a broad range of learning styles and abilities, increases long-term retention, and is especially effective with at-risk students  and English language learners. Also included are three Interactive Stories and a full, supplemental math program aligned to state standards for kindergarten.

“We are so thrilled to partner with Gwinnett County Public Library and have Learning alive available to so many children around Gwinnett,” said Cynthia Kaye, Alive Studios’ CEO and Chief Zoo Keeper. “What a generous gift from the ARA and Community Foundation!”

Library staff will be installing the learning kits this summer and will receive training on how best to use the reading and math supplemental curricula within their programs. “Our plan is to introduce Learning alive in a couple of our summer programs and then do a full rollout this fall for back-to-school,” said Schwerzler. “We will be using an online assessment tool to monitor the program’s effectiveness and to help us provide the best service for our community.”

Mitsubishi Electric Classic and Gwinnett Sports Commission donate mobile golf simulator to Gwinnett County Public Library

2018 Teen Film Challenge Award Winners

Nearly 50 entries were submitted to the 2018 Teen Film Challenge, representing students from all across Gwinnett County. Thank you to the hundreds of directors, editors, actors, friends and family who helped put together these wonderful projects. A special thank you to East2West Media Group for sponsoring this year’s contest. Congratulations to the 2018 winners:
Best Performance
Madeline Demos from Fantasy, directed by Tia Wren
Best Set Design, Props, and Costumes
The Pitch, directed by Julian Bass and Sauriyan Sapkota and Julian Bass
Best Videography and Production
The Pitch, directed by Julian Bass and Sauriyan Sapkota 
Best Sound Design
Homemade Racing, directed by Sebastian Soler
Best Screenplay
The Pitch, directed by Julian Bass and Sauriyan Sapkota
Best Comedy
All That Glitters Is Not Gold, directed by Emily Rink
Best Drama
Fantasy, directed by Tia Wren
Best Thriller/Horror
The Broken Boy, directed by Jonah Harmon
Best Animation and FX
The Pitch, directed by Julian Bass and Sauriyan Sapkota
Best Documentary
Innocence of Youth, directed by Justice Bigot
3rd Place Overall
Fantasy, directed by Tia Wren
2nd Place Overall
Pirate Skirmish, directed by Sebastian Soler
Best Picture
The Pitch, directed by Julian Bass and Sauriyan Sapkota
This was their second year in a row to win Best Picture. 

The Atlanta-Journal Constitution Names GCPL a 2018 Top Workplace

For the second straight year, The Atlanta-Journal Constitution has recognized Gwinnett County Public Library as one of the Top 150 Workplaces in the Atlanta area. GCPL earned a place in the midsize category, among organizations with 150 to 499 employees.

“We are committed to creating a positive and nurturing work environment for our employees,” says Charles Pace, GCPL Executive Director. “I want to say a word of thanks to all of our employees for their hard work and dedication in providing the best possible library service to the citizens of Gwinnett County.”

More than 2,300 companies were nominated or asked to participate in the 2018 rankings by Energage, a Philadelphia-based employee research and consulting firm. Several aspects of workplace culture were measured, including alignment, execution, and connection, just to name a few.

Visit for the full list of 2018 Top Workplaces.

GCPL to Host Teen Film Challenge Awards Ceremony on March 3

Gwinnett County Public Library will roll out the red carpet for the 2018 Teen Film Challenge Awards Ceremony, presented by East2West Media Group, on March 3 at the Suwanee Branch. The program will begin at 6:30 pm.

The Teen Film Challenge is an annual contest for aspiring student filmmakers to show off their skills through short films in a variety of genres including comedy, drama, horror, animation and documentary.

$1,000 in prizes will be awarded by film professionals and library staff for Best Picture and Best Performance, among others. A selection of films will also be screened.

“We’re extremely pleased with the quality of films submitted this year,” says Tonya Aumack, GCPL Learning Labs Supervisor. “This is our third Teen Film Challenge and the films are more powerful and more skillful each year. We are so proud of the filmmakers’ efforts and can’t wait to meet this year’s participants at the awards ceremony.”

45 entries were considered for this year’s Teen Film Challenge, up from 16 in 2017, thanks in part to the growing interest and development of the film industry in the state.

The Suwanee Branch is located at 361 Main Street in Suwanee.

GCPL Celebrates First Class of Career Online High School Graduates

Gwinnett County Public Library celebrated the first class of Career Online High School graduates at the Lilburn Branch Saturday afternoon.

Eight community members who completed an accredited high school diploma and credentialed career certificate participated in the ceremony. Career Online High School, a program brought to public libraries by Gale, a Cengage company, is part of the world’s first accredited, private online school district. The program is specifically designed to reengage adults into the education system and prepare them for entry into postsecondary career education or the workforce.

“The library is often referred to as the people’s university,” said Charles Pace, GCPL Executive Director. “In my mind, there’s nothing more important that we can do as a library than be an educational institution and an educational resource for the community. We’re happy to be able to provide these classes and this service to the citizens of Gwinnett County for no charge whatsoever.”

Clyde Strickland, whose donation helped launch Career Online High School at the library, shared words of encouragement with the graduates. “This program can put people on a path that they’ve never dreamed of,” said Strickland. “You can not even imagine where you are going.”

Career Online High School scholarships are supported through private funding and donations. To support the program, please contact GCPL Development Manager Shelly Schwerzler at or visit

GCPL Recognized for Community Impact and Leadership in Urban Libraries Council’s Innovations Initiative

With funding around the United States and Canada constrained, libraries are leveraging the public’s investment by finding innovative approaches to strengthen their communities.

The Urban Libraries Council recently recognized 10 libraries as “Top Innovators.” These libraries have proven themselves unfazed by the rough terrain and are providing their communities with essential resources through inventive programs. GCPL’s Customer Contact Center was recognized as a “Top Innovator” in the Customer Experience category.

A panel of expert judges selected the Customer Contact Center from a pool of over 250 submissions as one of 10 library practices that best embodies the 21st century library’s role as a community leader and pioneer for positive change.

“Now, more than ever, libraries must act as leaders in their community to provide resources that many have taken for granted,” said ULC President and CEO Susan Benton. “During times of economic and social difficulties, these libraries have stepped up to the challenge of inspiring change while helping their communities thrive.”

GCPL’s Customer Contact Center was created to decrease customer wait time, improve service, and increase the quality of library subject and research guides. Full-time, specialized staff work from a dedicated call center at the Lilburn branch to handle thousands of customer calls a month, including more than 19,000 in August alone. A live chat feature was also added to the library website to offer customers an easy way to reach staff and have their questions answered.

“This award is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our employees,” says Charles Pace, GCPL Executive Director. “I am particularly pleased that this award recognizes some of our employees who are a voice on the phone but who may not always get the attention and accolades they deserve.”

The list of 2017 ULC Innovations can be viewed at

GCPL Surpasses 500,000 Registered Library Accounts

Gwinnett County Public Library surpassed 500,000 registered library accounts Thursday morning.

The milestone comes as GCPL joins the American Library Association and libraries nationwide for Library Card Sign-up Month, an initiative to make sure that every student has the most important school supply of all – a free library card.

More than 128,000 of GCPL’s registered library accounts are held by students who signed up for library cards through partnerships with Gwinnett County Public Schools (Branch Out!) and Buford City Schools (Community Connection). Both programs allow students to use their student ID number and a PIN for access to the library system’s collection, materials, and databases.

“GCPL is proud to mark this milestone achievement of having more than 500,000 registered borrowers,” says GCPL Executive Director Charles Pace. “We encourage every citizen of Gwinnett County not only to sign up for a library card but to use it regularly.”

Sign up for a library card to access digital resources, books, and more here.

September is Library Card Sign-up Month

The value of today’s libraries goes beyond books. Librarians are leaders in their communities – helping people of any age to find what they need to help improve their quality of life. This September, Gwinnett County Public Library is joining with the American Library Association and libraries nationwide for Library Card Sign-up Month, an initiative to make sure that every student has the most important school supply of all – a free library card.

Libraries build a foundation for children’s future success starting from the earliest stages of development. Librarians play a key role in helping children develop the basic tools for school readiness by teaching families the components of early literacy. As of 2010, children’s programs accounted for nearly two-thirds of library programming in the United States, with more than 2.3 million children’s programs nationwide. Older students can also find tools for success at their local libraries, where they can access high-speed Internet and digital tools, as well as working with trained professionals on how best to use these resources.

As new technologies evolve, libraries continue to lead the way in providing equity of access to digital tools and media, which has become increasingly important in high-poverty areas where students are less likely to have a computer or internet service at home. Close to 90 percent of libraries offer digital literacy training to help students of all ages navigate today’s changing world; many also offer high-tech innovations like 3D printers and Learning Labs, providing hands-on opportunities for creative exploration.

Resources at GCPL are available to anyone with a library card. Students can turn to the library for materials, programs and knowledgeable library staff that support academic achievement. Through partnerships with Gwinnett County Public Schools (Branch Out!) and Buford City Schools (Community Connection), GCPL is supporting education by making sure every child in Gwinnett County has access to library resources.

GCPL provides access and programs for students of all ages. For preschoolage children, we offer early literacy resources and storytimes to encourage school readiness; for older children and teens, we supplement education with STEAM programs; and for nontraditional students, we have GED resources. There’s really something for everyone, and it’s all free with a library card.

To sign up for a library card, visit your local branch or click here.