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Library in need of repairs

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.

Comments

clandress 1 year, 3 months ago

Unfortunately libraries are slowly becoming irrelevant in local communities. They must evolve or risk being eviscerated by technology. Most have done well by adding CD's, magazines, and Blueray to their material list but the widespread use of highs-speed internet will ultimately be the demise of expensive brick and mortar buildings.
It's really depressing too because there is an enormous amount of pride that the community has in its library system; myself included. There is a long held belief that libraries are the last bastions of education for anyone, regardless of social caste, willing to take the initiative to learn, I feel its one of the very few socialized institutions that are run correctly and nostalgia/pride alone will keep them alive.
That being said, I think continuing to dump money into libraries is a bad investment unless they are willing to make major changes to the way they're operated. You could buy 10,000 tablets and set up licencing deals for 100's of thousands of books for the price of a single air conditioning unit. Coupled with free internet access, that would serve the community several orders of magnitude better and offer a much more interactive experience to students that have come to expect digitized learning materials... and could be done in a fraction of the space that physical material requires at a 1/10th of the price.

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dennistay53 1 year, 3 months ago

People this is what I was saying in the SPLOST forum.You can only build with SPLOST as it stands today. When people vote for SPLOST they need to remember that it costs money year to year to maintain what SPLOST builds but can't be used to maintain. This will also be true on the ball fields being built, Agriculture Center, the other library, both courthouses, and the civic center if it is ever built. I say take the money that is bankrolled for the civic center and use it here after the 5 years is up and it can go to the general fund. Don't build something you don't have the money to maintain.

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Del 1 year, 3 months ago

Civic Center / Covington.....Every time I hear those words it reminds me of Oil / Water....The two don't work well together #fail

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John 1 year, 3 months ago

Totally agree, even though it i not a SPLOST project - the CNG filling station is another fine example of a boon doggle project being undertalken by C of C & NC that IMHO will never save the money projected but in fact will be a loosing situation. Based on the numbers presented in the Newton Citizen to justify this project - key items were not included - like employees to run this station, training - CNG is very flammable & a requires high pressures for fast refueling and no everyone can or should try refueling unless certified to do so, plus if they plan to service I-20 truck traffic additional employees would be required - like 24 hours per day/7 days a week - truckers gotta' keep rolling they have deadlines to meet, the reduction in the resale value of all these CNG vehicles (new or converted not so old vehicles )when they are up for retirement due to limited # of potentional buyers; conversion cost presented was based on converting gaoline engine to CNG, diesel engines are much more costly to convert and any cost savings projections would not be fully realized until the entire fleet was converted - until then it is a more negative situation.

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eyewitness 1 year, 3 months ago

Who is running off all the great employees here? Something is awry in management it seems.

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Billy 1 year, 3 months ago

The Internet is a monster. Mostly good, sometimes bad, it's changing everything, and almost overnight as well. Everything from the Post Office to Libraries are affected. The Internet is a gigantic library of sorts, and with time, most B&M libraries will become unnecessary. How will the library function in the Georgia summer, (which unofficially started this month, as far as temperatures are concerned)? You have to sympathize with the staff and patrons there...

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jjhayden3rd 1 year, 3 months ago

If libraries & especially the Newton County Library system's 3 locations are "irrelevant" and soon to be replaced by the Internet (where "everything is true because you can't lie on the Internet") then why are there people filling our libraries? Because there are so many more things in libraries in addition to books: CDs (audio books) DVDs, all sorts of printed material and many programs aimed at the needs of young and old.

I know some don't want to hear this but people can use the services of the library to discover the facts and check up on what government and businesses are up to. In tough economic times the library is the only place many people can go to apply for jobs as well as self-educate in order to get a better or different job.

Too bad libraries are "becoming obsolete".

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John 1 year, 3 months ago

Let see there are other places one can go to apply for jobs, the unemployment office has lots of computers to apply for jobs & they are open 5 days per week, Wal-Mart has a computer to use to apply for jobs, not certain about HD and, of course, in person - cold cals, telephone calls (lots of people have free cell phones) or by appointment. Personally, I am a 1944 model & reasonably educated, since 1967 I have never gone to a public library other than to pick up an income tax forms and that was only after the local USPS office stopped carrying them. The net and news (TV & radio) channels plus I listen to more than one news channel) is what I use look up sports that I care about or find out what government is up to and on my own schedule - see 1944 models don't require much sleep and there isn't much to do at 3 or 4 in the morning - other than catch up on things. Here is a simple fact that is hard to find today on the internetand is not in NC high school history books - JFK started our involvment & LBJ got the US involved in the Vietnam Conflict in a grand way - today's history books on refer to it as a War. When the US left Vietnam it was still called a conflict. Under Nixon it was finally declared a War so that those deserving GIs (the majority of which were drafted could get full military benefits) - that agent Orange thing was the catalyst - our fedral government was very slow at correcting an error. See the President does not need the vote of Congress to make a commitment to get involved in a conflcit.

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Billy 1 year, 3 months ago

I appreciate your response, JJ, but the fact remains the same: the internet will render most B&M libraries obsolete, or too expensive to maintain by comparison, if not in the near future, certainly in the years to come...

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John 1 year, 3 months ago

I am in total agreement with your comments Billy - the net give you access to info 7/24 /365/6 and no waiting in line. The $8-10/ electronic book doesn't seem outrageous from here unless libraries get the books for free - see what Barnes & Noble charges for a hard copies (in paperback) or college/technical hard cover & paper back text books. I used to pay about $75 per semester for 16 horus of classes (mostly new). My son went to a Tech school , IEC, his books ranged from $375 to $750/year for a one day/week four hour night class - worked during the day. And young people in school have acces to a very convenient school library with computers for internet work, etc.

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dennistay53 1 year, 3 months ago

I don't go out and buy a new car if I don't expect to have the money to maintain it and buy gas for it year to year, yet this is what is being done in local government and will only get much worse as these loans become due (can you say Bear Creek ) Many citizens have learned their lessons with losing their homes and credit card debt but our local government hasn't. Maybe the new commission will be better.

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oxfordmom 1 year, 3 months ago

Unfortunately for the public library system, electronic books are exhorbitantly priced for libraries. A book that would cost you $10 to $15 on your Kindle, costs the public library around $80 per copy. The publishing industry does not want public libraries to go to electronic books and are doing their best to prevent it. This is one of the reasons the Pines Library system has so few electronic books and the waiting list is so long.

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motowidow 1 year, 3 months ago

Why is it costing so much to replace the carpet and why is a local company not doing it? I am sure if someone local could do it, they would give you a better deal. Why can't the employees and some good citizen volunteers help with the moving of the collection to save that cost? Where is the community spirit and helpfulness? Tell me when to be there and I will show up. As for the HVAC, I am sure it can be done cheaper than one million dollars. What are they putting in there, systems made of gold? We need to put some couponers on that Board of Trustees. LOL. So easy to spend other peoples money than to shop around for the best deals.

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John 1 year, 3 months ago

motowidow - great questions hopefully you will get responses other than a "deer in the head lights look" or a "popcorn type answer" - full of air very little supstance.

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Msbur 1 year, 3 months ago

Yes the electronic books are super expensive for libraries, but a lot of people would rather read on their kindle, nook or whatever ( Not me personally). A lot of people would be more likely to help the library system out if they could get a book electronically with out the long wait times on paper books, I've been waiting on one book for months now and I am considering just buying it. I also think that costs could be cut by using local companies to do the repairs and community volunteers. The costs DO NOT need to be cut by getting rid of things in the library, like the children's desk where they would stamp my little ones hand for following the rules while she was in there. (We miss it!)

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John 1 year, 3 months ago

How about a "Users Pay" program for the public libraries. I have been to a city musem, aquariums, art centers, zoo and a planetarium that used to be admission free. That changed about 30 yeras ago. The even accept credit cards to pay admission. Once inside everything is free, except refreshments and souveniors. Attendance was not affected and these places have expanded. This city I speak of is in the state where President Obama was a Senator and most of these places are along or just off Lake Shore Drive. If you like to read hard backs or paperbacks go to any Goodwill store - they are "dirt' cheap, about the price a McDonalds hamburger, without cheese and on Tuesday if your 55 or over you get a 25% discount (you'll be IDd at checkout).

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