George officials looking for new library property

by CHERYL SCHWEIZER
Staff Writer | October 16, 2020 1:00 AM

GEORGE — The NCW Libraries system will be sending its bookmobile to George while city officials finalize plans for a temporary location for the library.

The library system operates libraries throughout five counties, including Grant County, and commissioned an analysis of all facilities earlier this year. George city planner Darryl Piercy said the analysis determined the quality of the George library roof was a concern, and that the electrical system might not be adequate to meet future demand.

The library system provides the materials and staffing for libraries and contracts with cities to provide the actual buildings. George city officials leased a building from a third party, and since library officials no longer want to use the space, the city has given up the lease, Piercy said.

City officials are looking for short-term and long-term solutions, Piercy said, since having a library in town is “vitally important.”

For the short term, city officials are looking at leasing a room in an apartment complex operated by Catholic Charities. “They have what they call a community room,” Piercy said, and city officials are negotiating for a short-term lease. “We’re all in agreement that option makes sense,” Piercy said.

Bill Carroll, director of branch operations for NCW Libraries, said no agreement has been signed yet.

Piercy said city officials hope to have the new location open by January. City officials also are working to set up Wi-Fi hot spots around town to supplement the connections at the library.

City officials haven’t found any existing structures that would work for a long-term library, Piercy said. Currently two options are under discussion, the first being a new building. The second involves Quincy School District property next to George Elementary.

District officials are moving some modular buildings off the elementary school site, and Piercy said city officials are discussing working with the school district to build a new library on one of the existing foundations.

The George library closed in March, along with all libraries statewide, in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Since the library no longer has a building, the NCW Libraries bookmobile will visit George once per week. It will be in town from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. each Wednesday in the parking lot next to the Grant County Fire District No. 3 station.

Cheryl Schweizer can be reached via email at cschweizer@columbiabasinherald.com.