Library to close doors temporarily

Photo by Laura Williams

Photo by Laura Williams

ALBANY, Ga. -- The central library in the Dougherty County Public Library system will be temporary closed this weekend for much-needed renovations, said Director Teresa Cole.

The library at 300 Pine Ave. will be closed Saturday at noon until Sunday to allow for a new cooling tower to be installed in the building.

"We had hoped to limp along a little bit more on the old one, but it just isn't going to be feasible," said Cole during a phone interview Wednesday.

According to library officials, the central library's antiquated cooling tower has been unreliable in regulating temperatures in the building for many months.

"It's old and cranky and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. It keeps shutting down on us and we have had to repair it many times," Cole said.

The importance of replacing the outdated cooling system has become more apparent as tempertaures have risen. Library officials said Wednesday that with the summer months fast approaching, reliable air conditioning is a must in the four-story building.

Throughout the week, preparations have already begun to remove the old cooling tower, Dougherty County Library Assistant Director Ashley Moore said.

In addition to the temporary closing of the Pine Avenue branch, a section of Jackson Street will also be closed off to allow workers to complete the transition.

According to Cole, the old cooling tower will have to be lifted from the roof of the library by a large crane and the new one will be installed in its place.

"They have to have a lot of room to work the crane, so that is why Jackson Street will be blocked off," the director said.

The library will not have air conditioning throughout the replacement process and may not even have power throughout the weekend.

Library officials said that work on the tower should be completed by Sunday and that the central library should reopen for normal business hours Monday.

"All the other libraries will be able to serve patrons throughout the weekend while we are renovating the central branch," said Cole. No library services will be available Sunday afternoon, however, because the Pine Avenue library is the only one in the Dougherty system that is open Sundays.

Cole said she hopes the cooling tower replacement will be the first of more renovations for the county's libraries. Library officials are preparing to approach the Dougherty County Commission with requests for special-purpose local-option sales tax money to fund more renovations of local libraries.

"We hope that we will be included in the SPLOST 6 proposals in November," said Cole. "We want to expand our children's department and add a new young adult section. The area we have right now is too small for our needs."

The director said the central branch also plans to expand the library's genealogical and local history section.

"The plan is to open up the fourth floor (of the building) and make our library more efficient," said Cole.

The director also said the Westtown Library at 2124 Waddell Ave. has become popular in recent years and that branch could use some updates.

"Hopefully, people will want these updates as much as we do," Cole said.