Columbia County library wants break from region

Tuesday, Aug 28, 2012 7:52 PM
Last updated Wednesday, Aug 29, 2012 12:51 AM
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Next summer could well mark a new chapter in the life of the Columbia County Library.

Home schooler Elizabeth Tiede, 11, checks out some books from librarian Kris LaFontaine at the Columbia County library. The Columbia County Library System is opting to break away from the East Central Georgia Regional Library System, centered in Augusta, to form a new library region with Lincoln and perhaps Warren County.  JIM BLAYLOCK/STAFF
JIM BLAYLOCK/STAFF
Home schooler Elizabeth Tiede, 11, checks out some books from librarian Kris LaFontaine at the Columbia County library. The Columbia County Library System is opting to break away from the East Central Georgia Regional Library System, centered in Augusta, to form a new library region with Lincoln and perhaps Warren County.

A proposal presented to the county’s Community and Emer­gency Services committee Tuesday cleared the way for the library, which includes the main facility in Evans and the Euchee Creek and Harlem branches, to separate from the East Central Geor­gia Regional Library and become the
hub for a new regional system.

The East Central Georgia Regional Library, which operates out of Augusta’s main library downtown, serves Richmond, Burke, Columbia, Lincoln and Warren counties.

The Evans-centered region would serve Columbia, Lincoln and perhaps Warren counties.

Mashell Fashion, the assistant director of the East Central Georgia Regional Library, did not respond Tues­day to an e-mail seeking comment on the proposed change. The director’s position is vacant.

Lincoln County has already declared its intention to join the new region. Warren County has until Sept. 15 to decide.

Columbia County Commu­nity and Leisure Services Division Director Barry Smith said he felt Warren County hadn’t been as impressed or excited as expected about joining the new regional library, but Columbia County Commission Chairman Ron Cross said he had been in contact with the Warren County Commission and is optimistic.

“I think it’s going to happen,” he said.

Smith said the motivation for the split comes down to economics. He said that in years past Columbia County paid $130,000 into the state library system and in return received about $60,000 earmarked for
acquisitions. Last year, the county did not receive any money.

As the hub for a new library region, the Columbia County Library would receive $220,000 ($280,000 if War­ren County joins), $113,000 for supplies and acquisitions and four paid state positions (five if Warren Coun­ty joins).

Lincoln and Warren counties would receive a portion of the state-supplied funds and one of the state-funded positions.

In return, the Columbia County Library would be charged with maintaining a courier system, IT and cataloging for the region.

“It is more work for us,” Smith said. “There’s no doubt about that. But I’ve talked to the people at the library, and it’s something they would like us to do.”

Losing the counties would cost the East Central Georgia Re­gional Library about $91,000 annually and four state-funded positions.

Before anything can happen, the Evans library will need to determine exactly what it has. The facility will close Nov. 7-10 for a complete inventory.

It’s an essential housekeeping task that hasn’t been accomplished since the branch moved from the old Gibbs Library in 2006.

Smith said in that time the collection has grown from between 50,000 and 60,000 items to about 130,000.

Mary Lin Maner said the inventory process involves scanning every book, putting misshelved materials in the correct spot and producing and replacing lost or removed bar codes.

“We’ve had a practice run in a small section of the adult collection,” she said. “It takes a long time.”

The Harlem and Euchee Creek branches will remain open during the inventory process.

There are no plans to close the Evans library’s lobby or the Jabez Sanford Hardin Per­for­ming Arts Center during the process.

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msgret92
121
Points
msgret92 08/28/12 - 08:33 pm
2
1
More Government

You might know that Columbia county would want to spearhead a growth in government. Where are the conservatives for smaller government?

rebellious
21419
Points
rebellious 08/28/12 - 10:04 pm
4
2
Be Careful What You Wish For

So.. You wanna be on your own, huh? OK just be carefull how far you get out there, Columbia County. Keep in mind, that without Richmond County, you die on the vine. If we put a fence up on the border tomorrow, it would be lined with people needing to get to work that morning. So don't lose sight of the bigger picture. Mr. Cross needs to round up the troops and ixnay the wildcats. You can't cherry pick the winners from the losers, cause it's a system.

bclicious
756
Points
bclicious 08/28/12 - 10:08 pm
5
0
Nothing but heart-ache in the last 3 years.

You know, there was a time when the Columbia County Libraries were in the business of dealing with people; getting to know them, watching their children go up, and just being a very important part of citizens lives; like family. However; nowadays, this has all changed. Library workers don't really talk to patrons unless it is absolutely necessary, and everyone is a stranger.

Personally, I attribute all of these unfortunate changes to one person, "Mary Lin Maner". I'm not sure if this is what you had in mind, but this is the end result of your work.

I wish that I could say that the library board cared, but inaction; just like action, also speaks louder than words.

CryoCyberTronics
392
Points
CryoCyberTronics 08/29/12 - 06:28 am
0
2
Goodbye and good riddance

Make sure you build five lane roadways to connect your new region.

soapy_725
43965
Points
soapy_725 08/29/12 - 06:33 am
0
1
A cathedral to house dead men's bone.
Unpublished

Now that a contractor lost an election, we need to build another cathedral.

soapy_725
43965
Points
soapy_725 08/29/12 - 06:36 am
1
0
Computerized Inventory?
Unpublished

A book comes in, a book goes out? Computerized Inventory Management Systems are legal for tax purposes. So no need to "go into the stacks". Wonder where the money went for the annual physical inventory for the last six years?

What about the Georgia Pines System? Online orders and reservations?

seenitB4
93922
Points
seenitB4 08/29/12 - 06:42 am
2
0
Wait just a minute here

Did yall read this.....

Smith said the motivation for the split comes down to economics. He said that in years past Columbia County paid $130,000 into the state library system and in return received about $60,000 earmarked for
acquisitions. Last year, the county did not receive any money.

Heck yeh...I would want to pull out too.....give it to them .......

IntrepidES96
109
Points
IntrepidES96 08/29/12 - 08:17 am
2
0
This story is missing quite a few details...

Hmm...They say $60,000 in acquisitions. How about services provided? I seem to recall quite a few services listed in another article from about two months ago.

The region's assistant director didn't return an email request (Why by just email?)...ON TUESDAY!? The article is dated Tuesday at 7:52 PM. Talk about short notice! I would really like to know how long this article was in the works...

It looks like Columbia County is only telling part of the story...and of course the CCNT made sure it helped keep it that way.

Phoenix11
26
Points
Phoenix11 08/29/12 - 08:18 am
2
0
Librarian Input

If you notice Mr. Smith & Cross are quoted throughout this article. Ms. Maner is consulted only about the inventory. At all the meetings about this split only politicians and Barry Smith knew the plan, that should tell you something about this pull-out! The Columbia County Library services have been lackluster for the past 3 years and that can be contributed directly to poor management--the librarians are not in charge. Ms. Maner attended the meetings just to flip the PowerPoint slides for Barry and Ron. Barry Smith is at every library meeting and makes all decisions-- the librarians there are figureheads. As a fellow librarian who has worked in both systems I say good-bye and good-luck!

David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 08/29/12 - 12:24 pm
1
0
I'm in for getting more

I'm in for getting more books. I like the friendly librarian and sociable staff, but I'll sell that off to get more books and to make sure they are in the right locations. If splitting results in that, then I'm down.

AutumnLeaves
9652
Points
AutumnLeaves 08/29/12 - 03:14 pm
2
0
Great, just great...

Good grief. More complications. I was just getting used to the differences between the two libraries, since my work brings me by both the main library in Augusta and the Evans library, I might as well use both. If you could get faster browser service in Evans (downtown Augusta is better) and quieter keyboards (it sounds like a shooting match sometimes), it would be nice, though. And ask the patrons not to beat the heck out of the keys, they are noisy enough with gentle pressure.

livepura
49
Points
livepura 08/29/12 - 11:40 pm
0
0
It doesn't matter anyway.
Unpublished

The younger generation will grow up thinking Starbucks and Barnes and Noble is the library.

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