By DOTTY NIST
Walton County District 5 Commissioner Cindy Meadows has announced that funding has been identified to open the Coastal Branch Library (CBL) on Saturday.
For a number of years, the days of operation for the library have been Monday through Friday only, due to a shortage of library funding and based on demand for library services on particular days of the week.
At the July 11 Walton County Board of County Commissioners (BCC) budget workshop, the commissioners discussed the fact that they had been receiving numerous emails in support of opening the library on Saturday. A petition in support of Saturday hours at the library had also been submitted with more than 100 names attached.
South Walton County resident Glenda Wood had initiated the petition in support of the opening of the Coastal Branch Library on Saturday—when people working during the week would be able to utilize the library and working parents would be able to bring their children there.
At the budget workshop, the BCC directed staff to research what it would take to provide for Saturday hours at the Coastal Branch Library, including the possibility of closing the library on a weekday.
Contacted on July 29, Meadows reported funds had been identified to have the library open six days a week, including Saturday. She noted that it would still be required for the BCC to vote in favor of the expenditure.
Wood expressed thanks to all who had supported the cause, particularly Meadows, and also to others with the county who had worked toward the goal, including staff who had “crunched the numbers” to identify the funds.
Located in the South Walton Governmental and Educational Center just off U.S. 331 in Santa Rosa Beach, the Coastal Branch Library has been part of the Walton County Library System for over 20 years. The library originated in 1986 with approximately 250 books, located at that time in a shopping center on U.S. 98. The current location is approximately 12,500 square feet in size.
Books, magazines, newspapers, CDs, audio books, books on tape, and computers are available to patrons. Library cards are available free of charge to Walton County residents and property owners. Others may obtain a card for a $35 annual fee.