Spring 2011

February 2013 WLLB Community Voice Podcast Radio Interview


The Whitesburg Public Library, a branch of the West Georgia Regional Library system and a member of the Georgia PINES Library System, opened on March 31, 2008.  The 2,700-square foot facility has shelving to accommodate up to 10,000 volumes.  Seven public-access computers offer high-speed Internet connections.  The lobby area of the library houses a small museum about the Whitesburg area.

The library is supported by an active group of volunteers, the Friends of the Whitesburg Public Library.  Through the Friends’ Matching Gift Program, all donations made to purchase books (up to $100) are matched.  Since the library opened, the Friends have matched more than $10,000 donated for the purchase of books.  Donations to purchase books may be sent to the Whitesburg Public Library, 800 Main Street, Whitesburg, Georgia 30185.  All books purchased by these donations feature bookplates noting who purchased the books and if they were purchased in honor of or in memory of someone.

Anyone supportive of the purposes of the Friends of the Whitesburg Public Library is eligible to become a member.  Membership levels are $20 for individual/family, $50 for patron and $100 for sustaining members.  Members receive a $5 discount at the Friend’s used book store, Harvey’s House of Books.  Send membership requests to Post Office Box 451, Whitesburg, Georgia 30185.

The Library is Making a Difference
in the Community

Since the library opened, it has reached children who had little or no access to libraries.  More than 1,200 new library cards have been issued, with over half of those cards issued to children.  The summer reading program participation has grown from 50 children in 2008 to 130 children in 2010.  Many of these children did not have an opportunity to participate in summer reading programs before the Whitesburg Public Library opened.

The library has experienced dramatic growth since its opening.  In fiscal year 2009, the library circulated 13,293 items and 6,799 patrons visited.  (This was the library's first full fiscal year of operation, since the fiscal year runs July 1-June 30.)  In fiscal year 2010, the library expanded its hours and circulation grew to 20,234 items, a 52% increase over 2009, and 20,115 people visited the library, a 196% increase over FY 2009.


In 2010, grants from the Carroll County Master Gardeners and the Alice H. Richards Foundation made it possible for a garden to be established at the library.  Located on a sunny plot of land adjacent to the library, the garden played a major role in the library’s 2010 summer reading programs for children, teens and adults.  It allowed library patrons of all ages to learn lessons in gardening from master gardener volunteers.  The garden also has greatly enhanced the library grounds with ornamental bushes, flowering plants and a water feature.  The garden features two handicapped accessible raised beds, four other raised beds, trees, shrubs, flowers and other plantings such as blueberry bushes.

Six Years of Fund-Raising to
Reach the Needed $250,000

The library opened following six years of fund-raising to reach the needed $250,000.  The realization of Whitesburg’s dream to build a library is a success story that can serve as an inspiration to other small communities who desire to better their citizens’ lives.

“One of the primary reasons the local community worked with the Rural Library Project to build our library was to serve people, especially children, who had little or no access to other libraries in the West Georgia area,” said Jackie Pate, president of the Friends of the Whitesburg Public Library. 

The dream to build the Whitesburg Public Library was realized on December 10, 2005 as state and local officials participated in a ceremonial ground breaking.  A contractor was hired and building began in August 2006.  Consultation and oversight of the construction and equipping phases were provided by The Rural Library Project.


Click On Blueprint To See Full Size


In 2002, citizens from Whitesburg interested in obtaining a library in their community attended the dedication of a new public library in the small community of Yatesville, Georgia.  They found the new library lovely and wonderfully functional and were inspired to have a similar facility in Whitesburg.

A public meeting on later that year kicked off Whitesburg’s efforts as local citizens gathered to discuss the idea to build a local public library. As there was strong interest in the community at large, an organizing committee was formed. This committee reviewed the architectural plan of the Yatesville Public Library and determined that it should be adequate for the Whitesburg library, with little modification. These plans were available free of charge, as part of The Rural Library Project’s involvement.

In an important act of support for Whitesburg and this project, the Carroll County Board of Education in 2003 committed the property between Whitesburg Elementary School and City Hall for the location of the future Whitesburg Public Library. Contacts with area legislators and the director of the West Georgia Regional Library system provided endorsements and support for this project.

A major step forward in obtaining the funds needed to build the library came from the commitment of $100,000 in Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax revenues by the City of Whitesburg.  Other funds for the library have been raised through foundation and government grants, corporate, civic and private donations, many local fund-raising events and sales of donated used books at the Friends of the Library used book store. During the 2006 Legislative session, State Senator Mitch Seabaugh and Representative Tim Bearden secured a $20,000 local assistance grant from the State of Georgia to be used in equipping the library.

Grand Opening Demonstrated Community Involvement


In an afternoon of celebration and recognitions, more than 200 people gathered to mark the grand opening of the Whitesburg Public Library on Saturday, June 21, 2008.

The event included tours of the library, a ribbon cutting and a program that featured local and state officials.

All of the day’s speakers noted the community effort that made the dream to open a library in Whitesburg a reality.  That community involvement was dramatically demonstrated during the ceremony when everyone present who had contributed through their donations, time or talents was asked to stand.  Almost everyone in the audience stood up!

The Friends of the Whitesburg Public Library concluded the program by presenting a $1,000 check to the Rural Library Project.  In making the presentation, The Friends said they wanted to “pay it forward” as they asked that the money be used in building another library in a rural community.  The Rural Library Project, a nonprofit organization committed to the establishment of new, small libraries in rural areas, views local public libraries as centers of learning, community building and civic pride.


Spring 2006 Newsletter

July 2005 Newsletter

August 2004 Newsletter


August 2003 Newsletter










The Whitesburg Public Library is NOW OPEN!

Seven-year-old Asher, left, and his brother Emory, 11, look up books on one of the catalogue computers during the opening of the Whitesburg Public Library on Monday morning. The library has 3,000 books which were donated, six computers with Internet access and more children’s books on the way.
(Photo by Julie Dawes/Times-Georgian.)

Whitesburg Opens Its New Library

By Meghann Ackerman
The Times-Georgian
Posted: Tuesday, April 1, 2008 1:48 AM EDT
Even before the 11 a.m. opening time a crowd had gathered at the Whitesburg Library, which opened Monday after nearly six years of planning and work by volunteers.

In 2002, a group of residents began looking for a way to get a library in Whitesburg. They met with the Rural Library Project, which has also helped Yatesville set up a library, and presented information at a town meeting. After years of raising money through book sales, a special purpose location option sales tax and grants, the library opened with 3,000 books, six computers hooked up to high-speed Internet and two dedicated to the library’s card catalogue.

“It’s really going great,” librarian Jana Whetstone said. “We’ve had a lot of people coming in.”
In the first hour of being open, Whetstone had already signed eight people up for library cards. Like other libraries around Georgia, the Whitesburg branch is part of the PINES System, which allows patrons to check out books or request books from branches across the state.

Jackie Pate, a member of the Friends of the Whitesburg Public Library, said it took $250,000 to get the library up and running. Whitesburg gave the project $100,000 in SPLOST funds and the Friends raised money through book sales, grants and donations. Pate said none of the books on the shelf of the library on opening day had been bought -- they were all donated.

Both residents in Whitesburg and in the surrounding county area got behind the project.
“There’s a lot of people inside and outside the city who have been pushing for it,” Mayor Amy Williford said.

Williford said the city will continue to fund the library’s upkeep, utilities and part of Whetstone’s salary. Carroll County will fund the rest of the librarian’s pay.

Sarah Wynn, the director of administrative services of the Rural Library Project, said small-town libraries bring a lot to the communities they’re in.
“It brings so much to a community -- the local collection of books and music CDs and high-speed Internet,” she said. “Through the state of Georgia PINES System the people of Whitesburg can check out books all over the state.”

To help small towns get a library going, Wynn said the Rural Library Project offers a number of services including grant writing, fund raising help and construction project management.

What she said seems to be most helpful to towns is knowing how other communities have started their libraries.
“There aren’t a lot of libraries being built,” she said. “It’s something a town does once.”

A Whitesburg library won’t just be convenient for the people of Whitesburg. Anyone with a PINES library card will be able to check out or return books there. It also gives citizens of Clem the choice between two branches.

Rebecca Leftwich was at the Whitesburg Library on Monday with her children. Leftwich said she grew up in Whitesburg and now lives in Clem.
“We had the bookmobile every summer, so I had to bring them to see it,” she said.

Her 8-year-old daughter Savannah pointed out that the library would be convenient for visiting family.

“We can visit the library whenever we visit Nana and Papa,” she said.
Savannah, who calls herself a bookworm, checked out six books on Monday. She said she’ll have no problem reading them before their due dates.

The Friends of the Library consider Monday to be their soft opening. A grand opening will be held in June. In the meantime, a few projects are already planned: an exhibit on Whitesburg history will be installed in the entrance, another computer will be installed and more books will be on the shelf. Pate said the library has a $6,000 grant from the Community Foundation of West Georgia to buy more children’s books.


End Times-Georgian Article


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