Ground is to be broken for a new public library in Hinesville at 11 a.m. Friday next to the current library, across Memorial Drive from where the new Armstrong State University Liberty Center is going up.
Construction for the library is funded by the expiring special purpose local option sales tax referendum that voters passed five years ago. Liberty County Administrator Joey Brown said the $4.7 million project will not be bonded. The building will include 20,000 square feet. The current library, which will be demolished for parking, will remain open during construction.
Former Mayor of Hinesville Tom Ratcliffe, who advocated a remake of downtown Hinesville during his tenure, praised the project.
“I think the library is critically important to a large segment of the community and in the digital age, unfortunately, a lot of children don’t have access to computers and the Internet,” Ratcliffe said. “The library will provide that access.”
He also expects use to increase with the Army pressuring installation such as Fort Stewart to reduce non-essential services, like its library.
“You don’t realize how impactful things like libraries really are,” Ratcliffe said. “It’s a wonderful facility and it’s long overdue. It will be a welcomed addition to the downtown area.”
The construction is also exciting for Live Oak Public Libraries employees.
“After many years of planning, we are finally breaking ground on a beautiful new library for Hinesville and Liberty County,” Library Director Christian Kruse said. “We are all very excited about the prospects for our new home right next door to the current building.”
He said the new building will be twice as large as the current one and he hopes that leads to more staff and services.
The new library will feature computer areas, a reading and storytelling area for children, and study rooms.