“We are very excited to have this opening taking place today,” said Alison Weissinger, Acting Director of the DeKalb County Public Library, moments before the start of the dedication ceremony that marked the reopening of the Hairston Crossing Library on April 16.
“ I believe that the DeKalb County library system is one of the best in the nation,” Weissinger said in her remarks.
The newly refurbished library at 4911 Redan Road in Stone Mountain, which expanded from 4,000 to 18,000 square feet, sports a 53,000 volume collection and three meeting rooms including one which can hold up to 100 members of the public and a six-seat study/tutor room as well as a 12-seat conference room.
There are now 38 computers available for public use and 12 separate computers in a computer lab. The number of parking spaces has also increased to 90 from 20.
The library will be open on Mondays and Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and from Wednesday through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
In her welcoming remarks, Deborah Torbush, Chair of the DeKalb County Public Library Board of Trustees, said that “Libraries are being seen as a lifeline in our communities.”
She added that surveys have shown that more patrons are checking out books, using computers for job searches and other educational purposes and that community members, especially the seniors, have been making excellent use of the computers and other resources available.
Dekalb CEO Burrell Ellis thanked residents of the Stone Mountain community for their support in helping the county to pass a bond referendum in 2005. Some of the funds were used for quality of life purposes such as building and expanding libraries.
“Quality libraries mean a quality community,” he pointed out.
Lee May, District 5 Commissioner, was joined by colleagues Sharon Barnes and Stan Watson, Super District 7 DeKalb Commissioner, who said that they have the difficult task of sometimes cutting programs that are helpful to the community but that they understand that the county, businesses as well as individuals, are going through a difficult financial period.
“Inspite of the difficulties in our economy, we still have to ensure that we continue to open and expand our libraries,” said Commissioner May.
“Libraries are so important to our communities. It’s important to our children, to our seniors, to all of us,” said District 4 Commissioner Sharon Barnes. “It keeps all our citizens connected to the entire world.”
She quipped that although her children are too grown to be brought to the library, she would ensure that her grandchildren access the valuable information available at the expanded library.
Commissioner Watson added, “There are a lot of things that are great in our community including our libraries.”
Dr. Lamar Veatch, State Librarian of the Georgia Public Library Service said, “Once a person walks in the door, they have access to tremendous resources.”