Marshes of Glynn Libraries was recognized as Georgia Public Library of the Year for 2022. The system’s two branches, the Brunswick-Glynn County Library and the St. Simons Island Public Library, serve a population of 85,000 in Glynn County, Georgia which is located on the southeast coast of the state.

“We’ve become this place that’s not just books. We have moved into a community hub.” said Geri Mullis, executive director of Marshes of Glynn Libraries. The library system received nomination letters from local partners, business leaders, and patrons who each highlighted the impact the library has made in the community.

The staff at Marshes of Glynn Libraries play an essential role in creating spaces where all are welcomed. “The staff are the heart of these libraries, it is because of them that we are loved and that people use us,” said Geri. “The folk who choose to spend winter here in the Golden Isles, they love that the staff remember them from the year before.”

Marshes of Glynn Libraries partners with the local Chamber of Commerce and regularly hosts workforce development training provided by the chamber to the business community. For younger members of the community, the library has partnered with the College of Coastal Georgia for its Robotics Camp for teens. “We have partnered with the local college to help us with internship programs to get [interns] in to teach the new kids how to do robotics. The chamber highly supports it,” said Geri.

In addition, the library’s partnership with the Boys and Girls Club of Southeast Georgia highlights the system’s commitment to providing educational opportunities for all members of its community. The library system has a public library space in a Boys & Girls Club that serves the area’s lowest socioeconomic elementary school.

The system also has several unique programs including Take 5, an early literacy program designed to address community deficits in early reading proficiency. During the program, each week for five weeks, students receive a bag of items focusing on an early literacy strategy such as talking, singing, reading, writing, and playing. “It is so wonderful to see these bags around the community. I know we are helping to raise the next set of readers.” said Geri.

Marshes of Glynn Libraries’ efforts to strengthen community partnerships, diversify its funding portfolio, and expand services to meet the informational, educational, cultural, and recreational needs of the Glynn County population were recognized in the library’s designation as the Georgia Public Library of the Year for 2022.