A visit from Gov. Sonny Perdue on Thursday marked the end of grand opening events and the dedication of Columbia County's newest library in a celebratory fashion.
"It is absolutely beautiful and very reflective, I think, of the growing Columbia County that citizens really expect," Perdue said from the stage of the Jabez Sanford Hardin Performing Arts Center inside the Columbia County Library on Ronald Reagan Drive. "It is always a great day when we can open a new library as well."
The two-story, 51,000-square-foot library opened its doors March 27 and has since seen a series of grand-opening events including Columbia County Arts Inc. performances of The Music Man, author lectures and special children's events.
"This is just such a great asset to the community," Commission Chairman Ron Cross said.
Perdue presented Cross and Christina Rice, the county's library director, with a commendation marking the center's dedication.
"Libraries are concrete symbols of a commitment to generations ahead of us," Perdue said, gazing around the performing arts center that seats 300 people. "It is a future-minded community that invests in a library because it really is about the future."
The $13 million library is prepared for the future with 58,000 children's books, 95,000 adult books, computers and lots of librarians to help patrons find that elusive book or resource, Perdue said.
The facility also includes a memorial garden, which, Perdue said, is important for residents to remember those who sacrificed ahead of us, and a 650-seat outdoor amphitheater that can accommodate as many as 1,000 people with added lawn space.
Perdue said libraries and the librarians who guide patrons through them are the keepers of both new and historical information, helping people be lifelong learners and remaining one of the most important resources for residents.
"This library is a huge symbol and a huge signal to signify Columbia County's commitment, culture, heritage and education for generations to come," Perdue said.
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