There's a delay in renovations at the Meridian/Lauderdale County Public Library. In April Newscenter 11 first told you about work that was being done there. The project was expected to take six to ten weeks to complete and cost $130,000. Because of additional unexpected work that has to be done, the renovations will now cost an extra $20,000. However, according to the library's director, none of the work is at the extra expense of taxpayers.
"Not at all," says Steven McCartney. "We have the money in our operating fund, and everything is taken care of. We don't have to go with our proverbial hat in our hand to the supervisors and ask for help. So, we've been blessed that way. Now phase two, that's a whole different ballgame."
As part of a long range goal McCartney says phase two could include building a whole new library.
"I just don't think that it's the proper time. So, with that being said we need to prepare this building to serve Lauderdale County for at least the next ten to fifteen years with hopes that the economy will get better."
With 16 full-time employees, and the search currently underway for a bookkeeper, McCartney says the library is making the most of what it has.
For the last five to seven years the library has received roughly $920,000 in funding from Lauderdale County. In order to secure almost $200,000 in state funds, the library needs to retain that same level of local funding for next year.
"Could we use more money? Of course, every public entity could, but at this time we ask the board of supervisors to maintain our funding locally, and when things get better we'll go to them with a bigger request," says McCartney.
Current renovations at the library include: putting in new carpet, repainting and upgrading the bathrooms. That work is expected to be finished by August. McCartney projects that building a new library could happen within the next ten to fifteen years. The current facility was built in 1967. The last time that it was updated was 20 years ago.