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Gilbert H. Gragg Library undergoes renovations

The Gilbert H. Gragg Library underwent many changes when the pandemic began, having to close and switch to curbside pick-up. However, their service wasn’t the only thing that changed, and now that they’re reopening, visitors will be greeted not just with new physical renovations, but a new staff member as well.

“When COVID started, we shut down, and to begin with, we started in May, taking down wallpaper in the public areas, which required us to remove all shelving off the walls, which meant we first had to take the books off,” said Assistant Director Catherine Vanstone.

After removing the wallpaper, the walls were repainted; this was something that had been discussed before the pandemic, and was accelerated during the library’s closure.

“Then, when we started doing curbside, we noticed there was an issue with the tile floor in the entrance hallway, where some of the mortar had given, which had been hiding an issue with the floor,” Vanstone continued.

The issue was that the tiles had lost their adhesive, leaving only the grout to hold them in place, causing them to bounce and shift underfoot. Having already been having issues with the carpet, ultimately both the tile and carpet was replaced.

“Our carpet was bridling before, and because we have wooden shelving, it required all the shelving to be moved with the items taken off the shelf, whether it was on the wall or not,” Vanstone said. “Our children’s department has metal shelving, so they actually brought in hydraulic lifts, and lifted the shelving up and moved them out of the room.”

Other projects that were worked on during the lockdown included replacing the library AC unit and making HVAC improvements. Despite a few problems during the remodeling, including building supplies shortages, all projects were completed.

However, repainted walls and new flooring aren’t the only additions to the library, as a new marketing and programming librarian has been hired. Beth Jones was previously a library director at East Georgia State College and a reference and instruction librarian at Georgia Military College. Her husband taking a new job as county extension director for Gadsden County, Florida brought them to the area, and led to her finding this library position. As a marketing and programming librarian, some of her jobs include marketing the library and creating educational programming and events both for adults and children. As her position is regional, she will work with other libraries in the area.