Grant to allow Perry library expansion

awoolen@macon.comMay 1, 2013 

PERRY -- The Perry Public Library is one step closer to realizing an expansion that has been in the works since 2006.

The library has been on Georgia’s list for renovation for years, and a measure to provide a grant passed both the state House of Representatives and the Senate this year.

The grant, which will total $1.6 million, will allow the library to update some of its systems as well as add an additional 6,000 square feet of space to the 15,000-square-foot library.

Those funds will be added to $800,000 included for the library in the 2006 special purpose local option sales tax for a total of $2.4 million for the project.

The expansion will include updating administrative offices, adding a separate children’s area and updating to plumbing and electricity, which haven’t seen upgrades since the 1980s.

“It’s time,” said Karen Odom, director of the Houston County Public Library System.

Under the terms of the grant, the library will use $90,000 to buy new books.

“We will have a multitude of different things our patrons will be able to physically check out,” Odom said.

Other than books, there will be new audio books, DVDs and downloads.

Once the funds are secured, there will be a bidding process before work can start, Odom said.

No plans have been drawn up yet, as library officials are in the beginning stages of preparing for the project with the funds almost available.

Gov. Nathan Deal has yet to sign the budget, which includes the $1.6 million grant for Perry.

“We are anxiously awaiting the governor’s signature,” said John Gray Walker, Houston County Public Library System board of directors chairman.

The Perry Public Library expansion will be the third major project for Houston County libraries.

The Centerville Library has a new building, which opened in 2011. The Nola Brantley Memorial Library in Warner Robins is under renovation, which is scheduled to be completed in October.

“It is really impressive to know that Houston County leadership values their libraries,” Odom said.

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