Two months ago, the Athens Drive Community Library was on the brink of closing permanently, the second time it found itself on the block in just six years. But just as they did in 2009, its patrons freaked out when they found out. They fought back. They won. And it turned out to be a bigger victory than anyone expected at the outset.
Thanks to some good old-fashioned organizing and some scrambling between the Wake County government and school system, not only will the library remain open and housed inside Athens Drive High School, but it will offer longer hours of operation, provide more programs and services, and hire more librarians to staff it. It will also improve signage to guide people to the library, add twice as many daytime parking spaces and move the book-drop box near the school entrance closest to the library.
Oh, and that other fairly major issue of student safety? Totally taken care of, by the full-time security guard who will monitor the doors that lead from the library into the hallways of the high school. (Those doors will remain closed at all times, except between classes, which prompts the question of why they weren't always closed before. But we digress).
"This is a really good example of local government being responsive to constituents," County Commissioner Matt Calabria said just before the commissioners voted unanimously on Monday to keep the library open and in place. "A lot of people came to us, and it became clear what the citizens' thoughts were. This is an example of what we can do when we're working together."
The total cost for the new positions, longer operating hours and enhanced services will be $274,000.
"The Wake County commissioners and the school board are to be commended for this work," said Public Schools First NC board chair and former county commissioner Yevonne Brannon, who pushed to get the library opened in 1979. "This is the kind of local government work that makes us proud of our county and our elected officials."
This article appeared in print with the headline "Cops find drugs at a Phish show, very proud of selves"