Live Oak Public Libraries Board votes to close Thunderbolt location

Live Oak Public Libraries Board votes to close Thunderbolt location

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - There's going to be one less Live Oak Public Library branch in Chatham County.

This comes after a unanimous vote by the library system's board of trustees to close up shop at their Thunderbolt location.

In exactly one month, books, computers, and personnel will move out of the building they are in and into the new Islands location, which is a few miles down the road on Whitemarsh Island.

Not wanting to see their beloved branch close, nearly a dozen supporters of the Thunderbolt Live Oak Public Library made a last-ditch effort to convince the library board to keep it open.

"Closing a small town library is not building a better world. We need our library there. There are people who use it," one supporter said.

"This is a sacred place, Don't close a sacred place," another said.

"They've had so many wonderful activities there. Please don't close it. Thank you."

Before the decision was made to transfer operations out of the Thunderbolt branch to the new Islands branch, board members cleared the air on some lingering questions, like who owns the building and property. According to a title search, Thunderbolt owns the property, but the library system has been doing routine maintenance over the years. The board says mounting repair costs for the Thunderbolt location for things like roof repair and bathroom renovations are simply too much.

"We are also, as a board, fiscally responsible to our largest funding agent, which is Chatham County and its taxpayers, and when we have a library, a new library with up to date, modern computers and larger collections 2.8 miles down the road, it makes it really difficult to have to look at spending maybe $300,000 next year for a library that closeby," said Charlotte Welch, Chairman, Regional Board of Trustees, Live Oak.

"Just basically confirmed what we believed back in the summer that they had already made a decision, and now to come up and say that we have been the property owners and the landlords all this time, and basically saying that we should have been maintaining the building, it just hit us blindside," said Kimberly Chappell-Stevens, Mayor Pro-Tem, Thunderbolt.

Thunderbolt City Council isn't going to let the building sit empty. They're looking at options right now to potentially make it a community center. The Live Oak Public Library System even suggested leaving behind some of the shelving and bringing by a mobile library from time to time.

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