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01-22-2015 RPL Interview on Georgia Public Broadcasting

June 30,1941

It seems to me that the dedication of a library is in itself an act of faith.

To bring together the records of the past and to house them in buildings where they will be preserved for the use of men and women in the future, a Nation must believe in three things.

It must believe in the past.
It must believe in the future.
It must, above all, believe in the capacity of its own people so to learn from the past that they can gain in judgment in creating their own future.

Library Dedication Speech

The Rural Library Project is a nonprofit organization committed to the establishment of new, small libraries in rural areas. We collaborate with citizens, public library systems and governments in these areas to raise funds for and build libraries in their towns. We view these local public libraries as centers of learning, community building, and civic pride.

The specific goals and services of The Rural Library Project are to:

  • Provide project management services necessary for small rural communities to establish new library facilities. This includes coordinating the design, coordinating and overseeing the construction and overseeing the equipping of the new library to meet community needs and budgets.
  • Seek and provide challenge grants for rural communities committed to building new library facilities. These challenge grants are to initiate and assist local public fundraising campaigns to establish new libraries.
  • Seek and provide grants to establish summer reading programs following the construction of new library facilities.

Inspired by a magazine article describing the powerful impact a new library had on a small community in rural upstate New York, Dan White approached the city council of Yatesville, Georgia, in December 1999 with an idea and a challenge gift to build a new library. Yatesville, a town of only 420 people in central Georgia, is where Dan attended high school, where his mother lives and where his father lived and is buried. The city council liked the proposal of building its own branch library, accepted the challenge grant and proceeded to raise $187,000 over the next two years. Private donations provided over $100,000, the State of Georgia provided $76,000 in grants, and the City of Yatesville contributed $10,000.

Construction of the Yatesville Public Library began in December 2000. The library opened in May 2002 and serves approximately 1,500 households in eastern Upson County. The library’s 2,600 square feet include space for:

  • Nine computer terminals with high speed Internet access
  • Shelving for up to 10,000 books
  • Access to 5 million volumes through the Georgia State Library System’s PINES Catalog
  • Children’s and adults’ study areas
  • Community meeting space
  • A small history museum area

The Yatesville Public Library is a member of the Pine Mountain Regional Library System. Take a walking pictorial tour of the Yatesville Public Library.

Upson County provides operational funding of $30,000 per year for the Yatesville Public Library for 20 hours per week of operation. The City of Yatesville provides $6,000 annually for the maintenance and utility expenses of the library. Construction and paving costs were $135,000, the cost of equipment and books was $39,000, and the public garden area cost $5,000.

This cost-effective development project addresses a number of concerns of rural citizens:

         Economic development Improved literacy
Stabilized population Internet access
Strengthened community Lifelong learning

We believe that the library funding and development model used in Yatesville can be repeated in other small towns. The Rural Library Project invites interested communities to explore with us the feasibility of small, local libraries as cost-effective projects to enhance the quality of life throughout rural America.

The Rural Library Project, Inc.
585 Harold Ave NE, Atlanta, Georgia 30307-1741
Telephone & Fax: 404-377-5878

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