published Sunday, July 3rd, 2011

LaFayette Library closing for move Aug. 8 to old Food Lion

by Andy Johns
Lecia Eubanks, right, director of the Cherokee Regional Library System, talks with LaFayette Library branch manager Tim York near the audio-visual shelves where a leak is visible dripping from the track lighting.
Lecia Eubanks, right, director of the Cherokee Regional Library System, talks with LaFayette Library branch manager Tim York near the audio-visual shelves where a leak is visible dripping from the track lighting.
Photo by Tim Barber.

LaFAYETTE, Ga. — Next month, library workers will remove placards for cereal, pasta and canned soup and replace them with new signs for biographies, reference books and science fiction.

The LaFayette Library will close Aug. 8 and move to the former Food Lion building on North Main Street for the next two years while its Duke Street building is renovated.

“We’re taking all the books and all the shelving,” said Lecia Eubanks, director of the Cherokee Regional Library System, which operates the branches in Dade and Walker counties.

Library staff must have everything out of their building and moved to the old grocery store by Aug. 15.

“Lots of stuff to do between now and then,” said a busy Tim York, the branch manager in LaFayette.

But while the move will be a lot of work, keeping the current building together also has become a chore.

During Wednesday’s rain, water dripped from the track lighting near the library offices into trash cans the staff members set out to catch water.

“The way it’s been going, they’ve been springing leaks in new places,” said York.

York and Eubanks are excited about their temporary home, and not only because it doesn’t leak.

They’re being allowed to stay rent-free in the 40,000-square-foot Food Lion building, which is twice the size of the Duke Street building, meaning the staff and patrons will have plenty of space for books and programs.

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“We’ll have gobs of room,” York said.

LaFayette resident Mary Jo Oliver said she comes to the library once a week. On Wednesday, her 5-year-old son Shelby was reading a Berenstain Bears book while his brother Kyle, 13, looked for how-to books about magic tricks.

She said she hopes the new, renovated library will have a bigger, more isolated children’s area and more meeting and discussion space.

“It would be really nice,” she said.

Library patron James Livingston, also of LaFayette, said the temporary location could be beneficial because it would be more visible. After the renovated library reopens, Livingston said the library would benefit from a marketing push.

“I think more people would read if they knew where the library was,” he said.

The current plan for the renovated building will focus on technology and teens while adding 7,000 square feet and relocating the entrance so it no longer will open onto Duke Street. The plans call for a new computer lab to replace the half-dozen terminals clustered together near the circulation desk.

Eubanks also said the changes would place special emphasis on areas for teens and children.

The work will be paid for by $2 million from the state and about $1.5 million from local sources. The builder will use skilled labor from county inmates to keep costs down, and federal stimulus money will kick in $100,000 for new furniture, according to Eubanks.

Darla Chambliss, assistant director of the library system, said it should be worth the wait.

“This is going to be an amazing facility,” she said.

about Andy Johns...

Andy began working at the Times Free Press in July 2008 as a general assignment reporter before focusing on Northwest Georgia and Georgia politics in May of 2009. Before coming to the Times Free Press, Andy worked for the Anniston Star, the Rome News Tribune and the Campus Carrier at Berry College, where he graduated with a communications degree in 2006. He is pursuing a master’s degree in business administration at the University of Tennessee ...

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