By Jeremy D. Wells
Carter County Times
The roof leak at the Grayson Branch of the Carter County Public Library is so bad that there are a pair of holes in the floor upstairs that allows water to drip down into the first floor during heavy rain events. It’s a serious hazard for library patrons, as well as for the books.
But the worst hit area is the second floor, which in addition to library conference rooms houses Carter County’s adult education program.
Every day, adult education lead teacher Vickie Stacy said, they come in and remove crumbling sheet rock dust and other debris that has fallen from the ceiling onto their desk tops and computer work stations. Every day, she said, they cross their fingers and pray that the computers students use to study and take their examinations haven’t been destroyed by water damage.
It’s been an ongoing issue, but it’s one that – thankfully – they won’t have to endure much longer thanks to a new grant secured for the library through Grayson’s Main Street program.
That $50,000 grant from T-Mobile, combined with a promised $25,000 from the county fiscal court, will enable the library board to make the repairs to their building and continue providing services to the community while also preserving an important Main Street landmark.
“This is an important project that’s going to save a 1940s era building that we’ve turned into a library,” explained library board chair Mindy Woods-Click. “It’s an important piece of our Main Street historic area.”
But, even more importantly than preserving the building, she said, “we’ve got to keep our library services available and our adult education services available.”
Woods-Click spoke frankly about the problems with funding the library’s regular services, and the lack of a surplus for emergencies like a leaking roof.
“We have a limited budget. We didn’t have enough money to replace the roof. So, we’ve patched it and patched it, as time has gone on, and the leak has just gotten to the point where patching won’t work. We need a new roof.”
“The fiscal court was generous, and they have pledged $25,000 towards the roof project, but we needed to come up with the rest of the money,” she continued.
That’s where the grant came in. Grayson has only very recently resumed participation in the Main Street program, and Woods-Click was encouraged by Main Street program administrator Kitty Dougood to apply for the grant.
“I thought, ‘Man, I can’t write a grant for $50,000! I’ve never done that kind of grant before.’ But with her encouragement and a little coaching, it was written. It was accepted. And it was funded.”
The library was one of 25 applicants accepted this round, out of more than 600 who applied.
Woods-Click emphasized again that it was more than just preserving the building, however.
“Fixing the roof is going to allow us to repair the things that were damaged. So adult education will be more secure in their computer lab, and the ceiling won’t be falling any longer on their equipment. And, we will be able to provide the services we need, whether it’s books or ebooks or reference materials, printing services, helping with job employment… that’s going to allow us to continue and improve those services.”
Kendall Dwayne, with T-Mobile, said they were “excited” to help fund the project.
“T-Mobile wants to be a part of the community and help with small towns thriving, and over the next five years T-Mobile plans to provide $25 million in grants for community development projects
just like this one here at the Carter County Public Library,” Dwayne said. “Thank you so much for allowing us to be here with you today to celebrate with you and to be able to help with something as important as the public library.”
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