Displaced Library Settles into Temporary Home

From research to pleasure reading, many use our libraries. You probably take libraries for granted, until you lose them. That's what almost happened in Metter and Candler County after part of the building just about collapsed.

A handmade sign is the only way to spot the library in Metter. What was once a school cafeteria now serves a menu of a different kind as thousands of books fill the room. Regular visitors are impressed with the temporary home.

"It's great," said Metter resident Linda Rhiner. "I was surprised to see how organized everything was. I figured it would be thrown together. It was nice."

A collapsing floor at the original library forced the move. In the three weeks since, shelves are now filled and computers are wired to statewide networks and the internet.

It wasn't without some fruit basket turnover. The recreation department had a gymnastics class there. They've been moved to the National Guard Armory.

"They made some improvements for us, gave us some storage out back, put up some new lights and generally made it as pleasant as they can," said library manager Evelyn McCarthy.

Which is better than some had expected. "We were afraid they'd have to close the library and go to Statesboro or some other city," said resident Pam Griner.

Since they could be there for a year or longer, McCarthy says they've made some improvements. She's afraid to make too many or the temporary home could become permanent.

To give you an idea of how busy the library is, last year, users checked out more than 20,000 books and videos. Now, city and county leaders have to find out what's wrong with the old building and how to pay for repairs.

Reported by: Dal Cannady, dcannady@wtoc.com