Westtown Library reopens next week - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Westtown Library reopens next week

Paula Abidde, Dougherty County Public Library Director Paula Abidde, Dougherty County Public Library Director
John Hayes, Dougherty County Commissioner John Hayes, Dougherty County Commissioner

A closed Albany library will re-open next week.  Dougherty County leaders hope that will help boost academic performance in the area.

Budgetary constraints forced the county to close the Westtown branch in summer 2012.  Now the updated building will offer patrons a new experience.  After spending nearly a year and a half in storage, the books now filling the shelves are finally back home. 

"It's a big, big step.  It's a...quite frankly, a quantum leap," said John Hayes, Dougherty County Commissioner.

New racks are now bursting with literature.  And updated computers will give students and the community means to succeed.

"Applying for jobs, doing your homework, doing your research, everything is on the computer," said Paula Abidde, Public Library Director. 

The rejuvenated Westtown Branch is expected to be busy.  "It just looks fresher and it's a beautiful library," Abidde said. 

Dwindling county revenues forced leaders to close the library along with the Southside Branch library in summer 2012.

"We robbed that community.  We took away a very, very important resource from that part of the community," said Commissioner Hayes.    

Commissioners approved $68,000 last year to re-open the Westtown Branch.  "Our work can't end there," said Hayes.  "We've got to continue to look at ways, creative ways, economical, feasible ways of re-opening the other library." 

He said the county's high poverty and low graduation rates illustrate the importance of reinvesting in education.  "Only 55% of our students were graduating out of the public school system.  That will...there's no good outcome to that."   

He said restoring one library won't fix everything, and is only a small step.  But it restores tools to forge a brighter future. 

The library will hold an open house for government officials Friday at 10am.  It will open to the public Monday, February 24th at 2pm.  The branch will only be open 16 hours a week. 

It will be open Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday from 2pm – 6pm, and Saturdays from 10am – 2pm.  

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