I have it on good authority that the county plans to close Lewis A. Ray Library in Oakdale (on Oakdale Road near Atlanta Road).
The county reduced the hours to Monday-Thursday, closing at 6 and closed entirely on Friday and Saturday because of the economic downturn.
Obviously, readership is down because of this drastic change. Predictably, because of reduced use, the county is using this reduction to justify closing our library.
I have tried in the past to discuss this issue with our district commissioner and library officials, but the answer was "Send an email."
As you know, the population in the Oakdale vicinity has exploded in recent years, with the increased density allowed by Cobb County. There are more people than ever who are more than willing to use our lovely little jewel of a library, but the hours are unrealistic for most.
The county recently closed a library in Austell and I asked my district commissioner if that personnel could be used to lenghen our hours, he told
a group of us that the library should have been closed years ago when the county established regional libraries.
The closest regional library to Oakdale is in Austell and off the beaten path for most residents of our area. Vinings Library is a nice library, but it is not a regional library.
Southeast Cobb is a region, too and should be served as well as other areas of the county.
As I have pointed out many times, the Vinings, Oakdale and Cumberland areas are grossly underserved with amenities, although ours is the densest area in unincorporated Cobb County. Our high tax base supports such services for the rest of the county, wtih precious little amenity revenues returned to us.
The Vinings/Oakdale/Cumberland areas have no county sports facility, aquatic center, substantial sized parks, senior centers, nor early voting center. Driving to Austell to vote early is more of an inconvenience than simply voting on the designated Tuesday!
If our library is closed, the only public amenity that Oakdale will have would be our nice little tot lot. The county has even refused our request for a gazebo to shade the parents who watch their children play.
With reasonable hours, our community would again utilize our library.
I have lived in Oakdale for many years and would hate to lose this integral part of our community.
I would especially hate to see it go down without a fight on an even playing field. If the county would keep our library open Monday through Saturday with closing hours at 7, the officials could observe this asset in its proper light, and as the asset that it has been for decades.
At the very least, there should be public notification of the county's intent, so that citizens could make their wishes known at a public meeting.
Mary Rose Barnes