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The Newton County Library: A History

newton county library

September 6th marks National Read a Book Day. To celebrate we headed over to the Newton County Library, to pick up a few of our favorite tomes. While we were there, we noticed something. The library building is a huge space, that’s full of books, but the building looks to be of new construction. Naturally, our curiosity was peaked. Covington, Georgia is a fairly old city. Why, then, does its library look so modern? What better place to research, then the Newton County Library!

 

newton county libraryWe waded through the archives and found that the first “library” was located in a very small building in Covington and the only record of it is from 1916. And, that’s about it, until a group of intrepid women gathered together in the home of Mrs. Katherine Paty and formed the plans for an actual library space. Due to their efforts, the first official free public library in Covington opened its doors in November of 1944. Did you know that the library was originally located in the basement of the Newton County Courthouse? In fact, the library would move locations several times before coming to rest in its present day space. In 1953, the library was moved into the Covington Gymnasium, on Conyers Street. It would move again in 1978, to the old post office (which had been renovated, thanks to funding from the James H. Porter Foundation) on Monticello Street.  The library was then renamed the Porter Memorial Library.

A Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) passed by the voters of Newton County in 1995 along with a grant from the State of Georgia funded a new 32,000 square-foot building that opened in 1998 called the Newton County Library. Children's Services in the Covington Branch are located in Sara's Room, named in honor of Sara Trammell, Chairman of the Newton County Library Board from 1952 through 1996. This is the grand building that we know and love, today.

newton county libraryBut don’t forget about the Porter Memorial Library! In 2008, the Porter Memorial Library was included as part of a County Impact fee initiative and the Library System was awarded a $2 million grant from the State of Georgia to construct a new building. Construction was begun on in 2010 and a year later, the Porter Memorial Library re-opened its doors. The Porter Memorial Branch Library is a state-of-the-art branch library with self-checkout of library materials, public access computers, informational television monitors, a teen zone, a quiet room, children's library, a general collection, audio-visual items, study rooms and a meeting room for the general public. The library facility was constructed to be energy efficient and use sustainable materials. Among the special features of the building is a system that reuses filtered rain water to flush toilets and water outdoor plants, a system that reduces costs by harvesting sunlight entering the building to reduce the need for electrical lighting, a raised floor that houses an extremely energy efficient heating and air-conditioning system, and other features that enabled the facility to attain a GOLD LEED award.

Seriously, it doesn’t get much cooler then that! So, what are you waiting for? Newton County has plenty of spaces that you can go to enjoy the wide world of literature. Get out your library cards and head to the Newton County Library or the Porter Memorial Branch Library, right this minute!

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