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Newly renovated Central Library to begin retrieving more than 150,000 items Monday

Officials aim to hold grand opening of the $5.6 million project in mid-August

Dougherty County Libraries Director Pauline Abidde said more than 150,00 items will begin returning to the newly renovated downtown Central Library on Monday. The process of moving and refiling the materials should take a month with a grand opening projected for mid-August. (Staff Photo: Terry Lewis)

Dougherty County Libraries Director Pauline Abidde said more than 150,00 items will begin returning to the newly renovated downtown Central Library on Monday. The process of moving and refiling the materials should take a month with a grand opening projected for mid-August. (Staff Photo: Terry Lewis)

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The newly renovated downtown Central Library will include an expanded Children’s Department. Officials say workers will begin the moving of more than 150,000 items into the library Monday with a projected grand opening in mid-August. (Staff Photo: Terry Lewis)

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Dougherty County Libraries Director Pauline Abidde said the newly renovated Central Library will feature a completely new floor plan which includes the elimination of the old upper and lower mezzanines. She is projecting a grand opening in mid-August. (Staff Photo: Terry Lewis)

ALBANY — After more than a year and and half of wrangling with bids followed by extensive interior and exterior work, officials have finally set a time line for moving into the newly renovated $5.6 million Dougherty County Central Library.

The process of moving the more than 150,000 Central Library materials currently housed at the Northwest Library on Dawson Road and the Thronateeska Heritage Foundation will begin Monday.

The temporary downtown library located on North Jackson Street will close at 6 p.m. Tuesday and will remain closed until the main library reopens. On July 21, staff will then begin moving the 20,000 items circulating out of the temporary facility into the main library.

Dougherty Libraries Director Pauline Abidde said her staff will then begin the tedious task of interfiling all of the collections and taking care of the necessary details to prepare for a grand opening projected for sometime in mid-August.

“This is place really nice. It has a completely new floor plan which has no resemblance to the old floor plan,” Abidde said during a short walking tour of the facility. “I am really looking forward to our patrons being able to come see what we’ve done because everything in the building is new.”

Abidde, who has served more than 30 years with the library system, said she was especially excited about the new services to be offered in the renovated facility.

“We will have service desks on all four floors,” she said of the changes patrons can expect to see. “The upper and lower mezzanines are gone, which gives up more usable space. All of our computers have been updated and we’ll have faster Internet and Wi-Fi connections. We’ll also have additional study rooms, and expanded Children’s Department and for the first time we will have a Young Adult Department.

“We are especially pleased with the bigger Children’s Department because it all starts with the kids. I think they should have a good experience here.

Abidde became county’s library director in November of last year, taking the job after serving four months as interim director. She is eager to finally get into the new building.

“I will be very happy to get back into the library,” the native of Smithville said. “I am looking forward to being able to leave my office and walk among the staff and our patrons to find out what they want and need. As the director, because of the renovation work, I haven’t had a chance to do that.

“This will be my home away from home, because I really never left this building.”

The director then took a moment to praise her staff.

“I am very proud of the excellent staff we have here.” Abidde said. “It’s been a stressful period, but I have been amazed at how involved has been and how committed they have been to see this project through to the end. We could not have done it without them.”