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Statham buys land for library

STATHAM - Statham city officials have acquired three acres behind Statham Elementary School on which to build a library.

Mayor Robert Bridges anticipates a minimum 6,000-square-foot, one-story building on the property in about four years, paid for by grants and Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax funds.

Statham paid $75,000 for one acre, and developer Tim Casper, owner of Col-sta-cas Development, donated the other two. The acreage adjoins 51 acres that Col-sta-cas plans to develop into a subdivision.

"We bought it now to help keep our expenses down," Bridges said. "If we had waited four more years to buy the land, we might not have been able to afford it."

Bridges added that the city needed to have the land before applying for library building grants.

The new library will be a member of the Piedmont Regional Library System. Its location will tie in with the golf cart and walking trails in Statham's long range master plan.

"People will be able to ride a golf cart to the library," Bridges said.

Statham's 1,000-square-foot library stands in an old home at 330 Jefferson St. across from City Hall. Library staff struggle to house the three computers and 4,000 books, DVDs and VHS tapes.

"We have to get real creative with storage," said Mary Spencer, library manager. "I brought in a VHS tower from my home to hold audio books and we have had several bookcases donated. Right now, we are at the point where there is almost no more room for bookcases. If I have a lot of people to check out, no one can get in the door."

Temporary move planned

In a few months, the library will move into a century-old building next to the Community Center on Railroad Street. The facility will provide about twice as much space and the library will remain there until the new structure is completed. State prisoners have gutted and are renovating the building into a design similar to the Community Center's.

"It will be an open plan and will give us the adaptability to do children's programs and accommodate the book club," Spencer said. "The Friends of the Library would like to see us with eight computers, but it just depends on grants and donations."

Book sale

Library staff is clearing out noncatalogued inventory as they prepare to move. For $1 readers can purchase either 15 paperbacks, seven magazines, seven hardbacks or three videos. Call the library at 770-725-4785 for hours and more information.

"I have such a vision for this library," Spencer said. "My dream is coming true sooner than I thought."