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Childrens library to be renovated
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While Covington Branch Library officials face the daunting task of substantial repairs to the roof and heating and air conditioning systems, they will be able to renovate and rearrange the children’s library.

The county library system’s Board of Trustees voted Tuesday to replace the carpet in the children’s room.

Library Director Lace Keaton said the carpet is a hazard because ridges are beginning to form as the carpet ages and small children could trip on the ridges, fall and hurt themselves.

The library received a $20,000 state grant late last year to replace carpet, which will require an equal $20,000 local match; the board voted Tuesday to pay $27,778 to Dalton Carpet One to install a new blue and purple patterned carpet to match the current paint scheme.

The carpet will be installed in squares, which are easy to individually remove to wash or replace if stained; also the backing is not permeable and should make it less likely for stains to leach into the underlying concrete, according to officials. Those concrete stains can leach back into new carpet.

However, officials said moving library shelves and books is no easy task because the books have to be removed in order and re-shelved in order in a quick period of time.

In addition, the heavy bookcases have to be dismantled, moved and then reassembled after the carpet is installed.

Board member Lois Upham said it seems to be a “monumental disaster” when libraries try to move their own collections.

The library board approved paying $14,875 to Florida Library Designs to handle moving the bookshelves, books and other furniture.

Both companies had the lowest bids.

Keaton said Thursday the work is not expected to start for another 30 days or so, and library officials will give the public details about how to access children’s books before work starts.

Keaton said she estimates the work will take two weeks, though it could be done more quickly.

New look after new carpet
In addition to the carpet, the children’s section may also get a new look. Officials had South Carolina-based architecture firm Craig Gaulden Davis look at reorganizing the children’s room, and the firm’s concept is to unclutter and open up the room by removing extraneous shelves and reorganizing furniture to take advantage of the natural light that comes into the room.

A family area would be created where parents could read to and with their children.

The initial concept also calls for a new paint scheme. Keaton said the concept is just that, a concept, and will be tweaked.

For example, the concept calls for some new furniture but that would be a future expense if it’s ever undertaken at all.

Financial restraints – donations needed
As reported Wednesday, the library is looking at a severe budget crunch as it has to find around $100,000 for roof repairs – which would be the local match for a $100,000 state grant – and possibly $1 million to replace its HVAC system.

According to Keaton, the library’s entire budget is $1.35 million from local and state sources, and there’s no money in budget for infrastructure repairs of that scale.

The library is seeking state support in the form of more grants, but it’s also accepting donations. Keaton said the library is setting up a locked donation box for roof repairs at the main desk at the Covington branch, 7116 Floyd St., Covington.

Donations can also be sent in the mail to the Covington branch or by providing credit card information over the phone at 770-787-3231.

Donations can also be made in person at the Porter Memorial Branch, 6191 Highway 212, Covington, and the Newborn outlet, 4224 Ga. Highway 142, Newborn. Donations to the library are tax deductible.

In other library news, the board also agreed to sell numerous surplus items, including old projectors, VHS cases, cassette players and other obsolete and broken items, on

The Porter Memorial Branch also has some needs, including installation of new air filters, which must meet special requirements because of the building’s environmentally-friendly designation.

The issue is that some filters are in the floor because of the more efficient way the building is heated and cooled, making installation of the filters more complicated than normal.

“We go from interesting to more interesting challenges,” Keaton said.

The Porter branch even had a leak in its roof as well because of an area that hadn’t been properly caulked, but the area has been repaired.