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Patrons say coffee shops menu enhances library experience
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Friends Café manager Moses S. makes coffee for a customer Wednesday at the Spout Springs library in Flowery Branch. The café has been open for one month. - photo by SARA GUEVARA

The coffee shop in the Spout Springs library is off to a fresh new start.

With new ownership, Friends Café is now serving coffee as well as smoothies, soups, sandwiches, salads and desserts.

"People seem to like it," said Becky Shames of Friends Café. "We have a lot of return customers."

A percentage of the sales from the café go to the Friends of the Library, the fundraising branch of the Hall County Library System.

"They’re an integral part of the library system," said Spout Springs Branch Manager Leslie James of the Friends of the Library.

"They do things for the libraries our budgets can’t support."

Shames said she is starting to see some regulars who come in to the café often to get classic dishes such as chicken salad sandwiches.

She thinks the abundance of chain restaurants with heavier dishes makes the café’s homemade offerings stand out.

"They’re really excited because there’s no other place for them to get this kind of food (in South Hall)," Shames said.

Ray Lefebvre, who lives near the Spout Springs library, said he was happy to discover the small restaurant in the library.

"The people from my church told me about it," Lefebvre said.

"I hope they do well — they have a great menu."

James said more libraries are starting to include coffee shops, taking a cue from large bookstores like Barnes and Noble or Borders where cafes are commonplace.

"It seems to be a trend in libraries," James said. "It makes the library more relevant to the community, more friendly and inviting."

James thinks the Friends Café draws more users to the Spout Springs library.

"It’s a great asset, especially in the wintertime; everybody wants a cup of coffee," James said.

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