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Strengthening Libraries from the Ground Up

Georgia Public Library Service helps communities build new libraries and revitalize existing structures.

GPLS serves as an advisor between communities and state funding agencies, helping libraries navigate the funding process and assisting with planning and budgeting for new construction or renovation.

The following examples are a snapshot of the 63 facilities that benefited from Major Repair and Renovation (MRR) or Capital Projects funding this year.

At the Talbot County Public Library, a $315,000 MRR grant empowered the library to better serve its community through improvements to the physical structure.

The library is located in the county seat of Talbotton, Georgia, a small town in a rural county west of Macon. Costs to repair the leaking roof, which had been patched multiple times through the years, exceeded the county’s budget, and a blue tarp was mounted permanently in parts of the space.

“The renovated building is much healthier and more attractive,” said Pine Mountain Library director Cynthia Kilby. “No more mold, no more blue tarps, and no buckets catching water. For the first time in years, it looks like someplace you would want to linger and enjoy. I believe our patrons and staff will feel a sense of pride and want to visit more often.”

“The renovated building is much healthier and more attractive… For the first time in years, it looks like someplace you would want to linger and enjoy.” Cynthia Kilby, Pine Mountain Library director

The Oconee County Library in Watkinsville, Georgia, received Capital Projects funding to move to a bigger and reimagined space.

Though in a small town of 3,002, the library serves a growing Oconee County population. The project was made possible by $3.3 million in Capital Projects funding, $1.3 million in SPLOST funds, and the donation of a building from Duke Gibbs of Gibbs Capital, LCC.

The new facility will offer residents a wide variety of programs and services that were not available in the cramped conditions of the previous facility, built in 1975. The library will include two large meeting rooms, a story room, four study rooms, a genealogy space, self-checkouts, outdoor space, 3D printers, and much more.

“The library is a popular location in our community, and everyone is eager to see the improvements,” said Valerie Bell, director of the Athens Regional Library System.

Capital Projects and Major Repair and Renovation