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Delegation tours local libraries

Dougherty County Administrator Richard Crowdis, far right, directs the attention to interior renovation work being done at Westtown Library. Delegates on hand to visit Dougherty County libraries Monday morning included, from left, Dougherty County Commissioner John Hayes, County Commission Chairman Jeff Sinyard, Dougherty County Interim Library Director Pauline Abidde, Facilities Manager Dwayne Green and state Rep. Gerald Greene. (Staff photo: Brad McEwen)

Dougherty County Administrator Richard Crowdis, far right, directs the attention to interior renovation work being done at Westtown Library. Delegates on hand to visit Dougherty County libraries Monday morning included, from left, Dougherty County Commissioner John Hayes, County Commission Chairman Jeff Sinyard, Dougherty County Interim Library Director Pauline Abidde, Facilities Manager Dwayne Green and state Rep. Gerald Greene. (Staff photo: Brad McEwen)

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from left, Dougherty County Commissioner John Hayes, state Rep. Winfred Dukes and Dougherty County Interim Library Director Pauline Abidde view renovations being made to the Central Library on Pine Avenue. The trio was part of a joint delegation of state lawmakers and county officials who toured Doughtery County libraries Monday morning. (Staff photo: Brad McEwen)

ALBANY — As part of the Dougherty County Commission work session, the county’s House delegation — state Reps. Winfred Dukes, D-Albany; Carol Fullerton, D-Albany, and Gerald Greene, R-Cuthbert — joined county commissioners and the Dougherty County Library Board on a brief tour of county’s libraries Monday.

The visit allowed the state lawmakers to get a firsthand view of the county’s library facilities and to see the progress of major renovations going on at three of the locations.

After visiting the Tallulah Massey facility on Stratford drive, the group travelled to the Westtown branch to view current interior renovations. The group then boarded a city bus, which took them to the Northwest branch on Dawson Road.

While at the Northwest location, interim Dougherty County Library Director Pauline Abidde, Library Board Chairman Walter Kelley and Dougherty County Administrator Richard Crowdis gave the delegation a progress report on upcoming ideas for nearly 11,000 square feet of unused space at the branch.

The group then closed out the tour with a brief trip to the Central location on Pine Avenue, which is currently undergoing a $5.6 million interior renovation that’s scheduled for completion in February.

When the location visits ended, the group gathered for lunch at the Government Center, where members of the commission and library board thanked the delegation for taking the time to visit the community and its library facilities.

“I think we have an attitude of gratitude for the people that are helping us,” said Kelly. “Thank you for everything you do for us.”

Library Board member Dr. Brenda Tiller echoed Kelly’s sentiment, adding the importance that libraries play in the community.

“We are just delighted that you were able to come,” Tiller told the state representatives. “It’s important that you see it firsthand. We think that each of our branches carry their own individuality.”

All three state representatives expressed their gratitude to the county for hosting the visits and stressed their commitment to Dougherty County and it’s libraries. Fullerton, who told the group she grew up working in the library, said that in her opinion libraries are as vital to communities as public schools.

Green expressed said that the tour was a great learning experience and that he felt fortunate to have the opportunity to attend.

“Thank you for making me part of the delegation,” Green said. “I learned an awful lot. It’s an important aspect of any community to have strong libraries.”

County Commission Chairman Jeff Sinyard summed up the morning by pointing out the importance of communication between the county and the state, and the need to take a hands-on approach to sharing information.

“This is just a wonderful way to bring people together for the right reason,” Sinyard told the delegation. “This is the right way to do any process. This was really just a cool morning.”