We count on the library to help us improve our minds. But what do you do when the library needs its own improvements? Candler County's public library in Metter is closed because of problems with the building that actually make it unsafe. Now, everything is going to a building even older until this one is fixed.
After six years working there, library manager Evelyn McArthie says the Metter Library feels like home. But she's emptied the shelves to move every book out of the building. She'd already noticed floor problems but a coworker's two-year-old grandchild made it clear.
"He came and visited her one day, and just walking across the room made the desks shake," she told us.
A city inspection underneath revealed two problems. The first was splintering support beams, which forced crews to brace the shelves so they wouldn't topple.
"The other is, for some reason, there seems to be standing water," said city manager Joseph Mosley.
The county found a temporary home in a 1950s-era lunchroom at the school board office. That means moving gymnastics lessons to the local armory.
"It took a team effort, because we didn't have an empty building," said Lamar Samples, chairman of the Candler County Commission. "That's one of the good things as far as economic development."
Workers from the library will begin bringing books on Wednesday. They'll work as fast as they can through tonight, but the building is off limits Tuesday because that's election day and the new facility is also a polling place. They'll come back November 3.
"We know once we get packed up and moved, it's all uphill from there," said McArthie.
No one is sure how long it will be before the library comes back home. Mosley says they hope to have things fixed within a year, but they won't know until they find out all that has to be done. Meanwhile, the librarians have already charted out a floor plan to move in as quickly as they can.