Long overdue: Two older library branches to get renovations this year

Photo by Kristen Ralph

Photo by Kristen Ralph

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Library officials found a positive in Gwinnett's efforts to rein in capital spending to try to control operating costs.

Commissioners put off several building projects during the government's current budget crisis to avoid having to hire more people to staff the facilities, such as hiring librarians for new libraries.

But library Director Nancy Stanbery-Kellam said the move gives her staff the opportunity to spruce up some of the older branches.

Included in the county's 2010 budget was funding for renovations to the Norcross and Five Forks library branches, she said.

"This is the silver lining," Stanbery-Kellam said. "We realized this was an

opportunity we had to do renovations that we wouldn't have been able to do for years."

About $3.25 million was included in the 2010 budget, and another $1.2 million is slated for 2011. Stanbery-Kellam said library staff plans to apply for a state grant to supplement that money.

While the design of the projects are in their infancy, the 20-year-old Norcross branch, which is located on Buford Highway, will also include an addition, spokeswoman Michelle Long said.

In keeping with the library's facilities plan, officials also set aside some funds to design a new branch. That branch will be a relocation project, although officials have not decided whether a new Lilburn or Duluth branch will be built first.

"We very much appreciate the Board of Commissioners' support for the library," Stanbery-Kellam said at a library board meeting last week.