October 2016

Sylvia Sprinkle-Hamlin


Sylvia Sprinkle-Hamlin

Sylvia Sprinkle-Hamlin would like for you to visit her place.

“As librarians, we see libraries as the community living room, a place where people come and network,” she says. “They use computers. They attend programs. They discuss the challenges of the day.”

And, hopefully, they pick up a good book.

A native of Winston-Salem, Sprinkle-Hamlin has been the Director of the Forsyth County Public Library since 2000. She has held many positions in the library system since joining it as the department head for children’s outreach in 1979. But her love affair with books goes back to her childhood.

“Reading is powerful,” she said “When you read you can visit places that you’ve never been before. You get to know people’s situations and challenges that you may not have had. I read for knowledge and to be enlightened. Plus, it’s entertaining.”

While she enjoys many types of literature, a focus throughout her career has been supporting works by African-American authors or which deal with African-American culture or history.

“We have really great writers that a lot of people don’t know about,” she said. “Some of my favorites are Isabel Wilkerson, Toni Morrison, Ralph Ellison, Alice Walker, Trice Hickman, Kimberla Lawson Roby and Dr. Maya Angelou. I think that we should read all types of literature.”

She has also been a strong supporter of performing arts, an interest which stemmed from enjoying the theater while in college. She is currently the President of the Board of Directors of the North Carolina Black Repertory Company, and has been the Executive Producer of the National Black Theatre Festival since 2007.

Sprinkle-Hamlin is a graduate of Winston-Salem State University, with a bachelor’s degree in education, and Clark Atlanta University, where she earned a Master’s degree in library science.

Creditline: Alicia Taylor