Loganville considers building a new Library downtown

O’Kelly Memorial Library, Loganville. Photo credit: Sharon Swanepoel

Stacy Brown, a member of the Board of Trustees of the Azalea Regional Library System, which also serves Walton County, was on hand at Thursday’s City Council meeting in Loganville to make the case for a new library in the city. The O’Kelly Memorial Library on the corner of highways 78 and 20 has been there since 1989. It has undergone some upgrades and repairs, but Brown said many of the services it offers are hampered by its size.

“We have four libraries in Walton County and Loganville is one of the busiest. Only Monroe is busier,” Brown said, making a comparison of the size difference between the two libraries. “Loganville is 7,162 square feet and Monroe is 12,589.”

After giving an update on what a modern library, like the O’Kelly Library, now offers, Brown explained that the Loganville Library has made it to the top 10 libraries in the Georgia Public Library System in line for a $2 million matching grant to build a new library. The matching grant is a 90 – 10 for the first $1 million and a 50 – 50 for the second million. With a new library likely to cost about $3.5 million, the state would chip in the $2 million and the balance could be raised by other means.

“There are possible and feasible ways to help raise the matching funds – ie; sale of properties, fund raisers contributions and other grants,” Brown said. “I’ve talked to the trustees. All agree they would like to see a new library. The Board would like to move forward with a new building. We would love to see it downtown. It would bring people into the downtown area.”

Brown said there are people from the Loganville area who actually pay to go to the Grayson Library in Gwinnett County because the Loganville Library is not equipped to offer all the services it could because of size constraints.

“We offer it for free in Walton County and they’re paying to go to the one in Gwinnett County,” Brown said.

The current library property belongs to the city. Brown said it could be sold to help raise the matching funds and if the city had property downtown, that would be a perfect place to build a new library. With daily visits of 300 people, even at its current size, it would help bring people into the downtown area. The library would be an added attraction to help entice restaurants and shops to take a look at locating in the downtown Loganville area. Also, at its current location, traffic makes access difficult and unsafe.

For the full presentation, which includes an update on the many services currently offered by the O’Kelly Library, click or tap on the Lind below to watch it on the Youtube recording during Thursday City Council meeting. The library presentation begins 19 minutes in.

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