The Liberty County Library Board of Trustees learned during Monday’s quarterly meeting that the new site for the Midway-Riceboro branch may be ready next year, and members decided to press for action on the new building for the Hinesville branch.
Regional Library Director Christian Kruse said Liberty County officials think a contract for converting part of the former Liberty County High School complex in Midway could be set next month. Construction then could begin in July. Kruse said a 10-month schedule has been projected for completion of the work.
Veteran board chairwoman LaFayne May expressed concern about the schedule for constructing a new building to replace the Hinesville branch at 236 W. Memorial Drive. Preliminary plans call for a new structure wrapping around the current building.
The need to replace the current library has been discussed for many years. Board members expressed frustration that, even with $5 million allocated for a library from Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax funds, the project is not moving forward.
“Where is the holdup?” May asked. “What can we do?”
After a discussion, board members voted unanimously to send a letter to the county commissioners urging the county to provide the necessary funds and request proposals to select an architect for the project.
Kruse said that although $5 million in SPLOST funds has been allocated for the new library, “that is not our money, not the library’s money. It is the county’s money, and they will have to release it,” he said.
“We’ve been through this so many times … I want to live until we get this new library,” May said.
Library officials hope significant progress will have been made in time for their next quarterly meeting July 18.
In other business, Liberty library coordinator Betsy Stow told the members that requests for information had increased at both branches. Statistics show a 38-percent jump in information requests at the Hinesville and Midway-Riceboro branches.
The library financial report showed that with 75 percent of the fiscal year elapsed, the two branches combined have spent slightly more than 65 percent of the budget.
The Hinesville library has installed 25 new computers to replace outdated ones. The library is looking to donate the old computers to local nonprofit agencies.
The Hinesville Police Department is providing an increased law-enforcement presence at the library in response to security concerns inside the building and on the surrounding grounds. May and Stow said library patrons should report any suspicious activities.