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Little-known charity aims to rehabilitate library facilities

Posted on Tuesday, March 12, 2013 at 11:14 am

Young library patrons enjoy beanbag chairs and storyboard that were donated by Coffee County Manchester Public Library Foundation for preschool story hour. Pictured, from left, are Ellie Montes, Paisley Dyer, Dominic Jones, Daxton Carney and Micah Wells along with Virginia Diehl, Youth Services Director. Story hour is held at 10 a.m. on Wednesdays. Neither prior registration nor a library card is required. (Staff photo by John Coffelt)

The Manchester-Coffee County Public Library Foundation was established to help the library when county dollars are just not enough to make needed improvements.

The foundation’s ultimate goal of constructing a new building is just getting started.

In the meantime, the foundation is helping provide needed items – such as children’s furniture, a couple of beanbag chairs, and the new bulletin board for the youth programs.

The foundation board chairman, Roy Hendrix, said that the library has top-notch direction; still the point where significant improvements will soon be needed is to keep up with community needs.

Hendrix said Coffee County-Manchester Public Library Librarian Sherryl Roberts brings before the foundation board needs “beyond the scope of the county budget.”

“She would make a request to the [foundation] board on behest of [the library’s operational board].”

The foundation is eying bigger improvements for the future.

“We [eventually] hope to either renovate the library as it is or build a new library,” he said.

“We’re looking for possible sites. We would like someone to donate some land for us,” he said.

He said one piece of property was offered but the one-acre plot was too small and that three or four acres are needed.

According to Hendrix, another possible improvement is expanding the current facility. The library owns property to the rear of the building that could be used to expand the current facilities.

Another short-term improvement may be to expand current parking lot and drive.

“We would have to work with the city and get some rights of way to put another way in and out,” Hendrix said.

The foundation recently gained its 501(c)3 tax status in a move towards gathering the funds needed for larger projects.

Contributions are tax deductible. Memorial, honorary and commemorative donations are available.

Methods of giving include gifts of life insurance, commemorative donations, trusts, stocks, bequests and employer matching plans.

Contact Deanna Lawson at (931) 596-2513 for more information about donations.

The foundation is seeking information about further improvements needed at the library. Currently it is eyeing more computer stations, expansion to the youth program, possibly purchasing e-readers for checkout, more restroom facilities.

Currently the library has a circulation of over 120,000 books a year, 30,000 videos and well over 1,400 Wi-Fi logins. The facility serves over 17,000 patrons.