County library is looking to expand

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 5, 2008

LINDEN &8212; Joyce Morgan, library director for the Marengo County Library, is on a mission to expand her facility to accommodate the library&8217;s growing number of patrons and participants in the annual summer reading program. The only questions now are how and where.

Supporters of the Marengo County Library met with the County Commission Thursday to further discuss plans to either expand the current facility on Highway 43 or look into relocating the library to other buildings that the county owns.

But according to Morgan, any renovations to their current 2,300 square foot facility would merely be a &8220;band-aid,&8221; or a temporary fix, for their long-terms needs.

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At the kick-off of their summer reading program last week, Morgan said approximately 100 children and 40 adults squeezed into the three rooms of the library to do activities.

But commissioners say they understand Morgan&8217;s &8220;acute spatial concerns,&8221; as Commissioner Ken Tucker said, but are under their own space restrictions.

At one time, the commission considered using the building adjacent to the Marengo County Sheriff&8217;s Office, known as the &8220;white house,&8221; to house the library with significant renovations.

With this knowledge, Morgan contacted architects and even had them inspect the building and draw up potential plans. Although no money has been spent or commitments made, Morgan has done significant work with that property being the new site.

Complicating the matter is the fact that a portion of the building, approximately one-quarter of the 4,400 square-foot building, was designated for use by the Marengo Economic Development Authority, whose director moved into the building just this week.

Commissioners said there are a number of options to consider, one of which is having the library and economic development authority share the white house building and perhaps at a later date move the EDA into the old library building. But because the meeting was a work session, no official action could be taken or decision made.

In the meantime, Morgan said she has a time frame to consider. She has already been awarded $80,000 in incentive funds from the state and is looking for more funding sources. One of those is a Community Development Block Grant, and Morgan and her grant-writing agency, Alabama Tombigbee Regional Commission, must submit the application by August.

Commissioners closed the meeting by thanking the approximately 20 people who came in support of the library, promising a decision at their regular meeting next week or a date in the near future.