Highland Home Public Library working toward grant money

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 26, 2004

The past three months have been busy for Highland Home Public Library's Librarian Leann Moore.

Not only does Moore have to make sure the library is operating, but she also has to tend to her day job as librarian at Highland Home School.

Since volunteers, including Moore, operate the public library, the hours of operation are limited during the school year because of Moore's availability.

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"During the school year, it's limited because I didn't want to get overloaded," Moore said. "During the summer, we had at least nine people per day, which is an unheard of amount of people for a small town like this. I think that if we could set our hours and had someone we could pay an incentive instead of trying to run off of volunteers, we would have more people use the library."

The library, which is located in a small trailer next to United Food and Fuel better known as Citgo, held its grand opening in July. Moore said the response from the community has been good, but the lack of space has limited the library's activities.

"It's been good," she said. "It hasn't been wonderful, but good. We don't need any more books right now because we're out of space, but if we had more money then we could build and make it a nicer facility. This is just a starter library,"

Ben McNeill, owner of United Food and Fuel, donated the use of the land where the library is located. He said helping communities grow is one of his company's main objectives.

"We're a small company and everything we do is for the community," he said. "We've got stores in Montgomery, the Prattville and Selma areas and of course Highland Home. I feel like when you've got something to give to help your community when they need something, you do it. It's just a good way to live. We enjoy doing things for other people and it's nice that we did have that available space that we could let them use.

"We didn't give it to them or sell it to them we're just letting them use it. Especially since Highland Home needed a library and it was a portable situation, it just worked out nice for everybody."

Moore has spent much of her time the past couple of months applying for grant money. She hopes being awarded grants will help to pay for a part time worker that can be there when she can't.

"We definitely need money to hire people so we could keep it open all day long so that we could serve our community better," she said. "It's like the blind leading the blind because I've never written a grant before. I'm just practicing and maybe I'll get better."

Moore's ultimate goal is to be awarded a grant that will help pay for the construction costs of a modern, up-to-date facility. She said most grants are intended to offset construction costs.

"I don't know exactly how a grant would help us pay for people to work there," she said. "I don't know a lot about that right now. A lot of the grant specifications are just for building purposes. I don't think we could use the money to pay people. We're just going to have to depend on businesses and things like that in order to keep it running. Maybe we'll be volunteer forever."

As for the currently library site, McNeill said he has no plans for land.

"We don't have any immediate plans for the property," McNeill said. "Of course if something was to come up and we had to do something with the land, we'd just have to move it, but that's not the intent. They can stay there as long as they need to."