Bishop has plan to reopen closed library branches

Bishop John Burr appeared before the Dougherty County Commission with a plan to open back up the two branches the library closed in July. / Ashley Knight

Bishop John Burr says he's got the answers to the library board having to close two of its branchesâ"Southside and Westtown.

"If you go through the budget, they have the money to keep them open, but they gotta shift the monies around," says Burr.

But the plan hinges on library chairman Guy Craft. "If he resigns, and if the county commission appoint me on library board, and if the library board accept me as chairman, then I could put forward these plans" said Burr.

The main branch will be closing sometime near the end of 2012 and part of 2013 for renovations. It will relocate to the space next to Subway directly across the street along Jackson. Burr instead wants to take the books and open back up the two closed branches.

The library is saying it'll take about nine months to move the elevators and make all the renovations, but Burr says it'll take more like 14 months. And he says in that time, he can come up with a solid plan to keep both branches open permanently.

He's got the support of the People's Clergy Community Involvement who says the library needs to be accountable to its taxpayers.

"They move those books way too rapidly. They begin to close those libraries without consulting with anyone else; the county commission didn't know they were closing those libraries. I think that is definitely against what the taxpayers would have," says Rev. Eddie B. Bankston.

Commissioner Gloria Gaines won't comment on Burr becoming chairman, but she did comment on his idea.

"It's certainly an option, I guess, and I hope the board did look at that, I don't know if they did or not, but that's something that should be easily quantifiable," said Gaines.

Chairman Craft hasn't said whether or not he will resign from the Dougherty County Library Board.

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