COVINGTON -- The Newton County Library's Covington branch is in need of major repairs, and the Library Board of Trustees held a special called meeting Tuesday morning to discuss a plan of action.
The library's HVAC system is not working, repairs to a leaky roof are needed and the carpet in the children's section is a safety hazard.
"These are issues that have been going on for some time here in this facility. We've got to remember that this building is 16 years old and we really have not had to do anything other than limited maintenance, but it's beginning to take a toll. The use of it and the age is taking a toll on the building," said Chair Steve Whatley.
The library system has obtained a $20,000 state grant to put new carpet in the children's area. The grant requires an equal local match, which will be taken from a restricted fund designated for the children's area, said Director Lace Keaton.
"There are wrinkles in that carpet that some kids can actually catch their foot on," Keaton said.
"That was the whole purpose of this grant -- we didn't want anybody getting hurt on this carpet," she added.
Carpet squares will be installed so they can easily be removed and replaced in case of stains or unraveling.
Currently, there is more shelving in the room than is needed, so some shelving will be reduced to open the room up for more sitting space for families. In addition, an accordion door into the old storytime room will be removed for more space.
The Board of Trustees approved Dalton Carpet One of Gainesville to install the carpet at a cost of $27,778.70 and Florida Library Designs of High Springs, Fla., to handle the move of the collection at a cost of $14,875.
The library system has applied for a $100,000 grant for repairs and renovation of the roof. Water is coming inside the building and trickling down the wall in the genealogy room. The grant has been approved by the General Assembly, but has not been officially assigned by the governor; if that happens, it will be available on July 1. An equal local match is required. Whatley said the board needs to think about where to get that money. Porter Memorial Library has also had leaky roof troubles due to flashing at the edge of the roof that did not properly catch, Whatley said. The problem has been repaired.
"I don't mind the rain. I wish it would just rain money, because every time it rains, there's another thing with the roof," Keaton said.
The biggest expense facing the library is the replacement of the HVAC system, estimated to cost up to $1 million.
The boiler has gone out three times in the past two weeks, Keaton said, and the compressors are not working properly. Though several repairs have been made, every time a new part is installed, an old one blows out, she said.
"It gets to the point where we have more equipment out there that's not working than is actually working," Keaton said.
Board of Trustees member Lois Upham noted that if the HVAC system is not working to remove moisture in the building, especially the extra moisture created by the leak, "we could lose our collection as well."
Whatley said the plan is to let state officials tour the site to establish the need and ask if there is any grant money that might be unused "to put us on the list."
Upham said perhaps there are newer and smaller, more efficient systems that might cost less.
Patron donations are always accepted at the library and can be made in person or by calling 770-787-3231 or by mail at 7116 Floyd St. NE, Covington, GA, 30014.