I am extremely pleased to report that the Town of Loachapoka, Ala., now has a public library. The small town in Lee County, located a few miles west of Auburn, had been without a library for its citizens until Sunday, April 15th when the new library held its official opening. My oldest granddaughter, Sara Beasley, a junior at Auburn University, was the driving force behind this badly needed library for the people in and near Loachapoka. Sara has had the idea of helping Loachapoka create a public library since she was a student at Auburn High School. She explains how her interest came about this way:
I was taking my ACT at Loachapoka High. When I was there, I was surprised to see that they barely had a library at the school. When I found out the town itself didn’t have a public library, I was shocked.
At the time, Sara says she didn’t know what she could do to help resolve that problem. But the problem stayed on her mind. Now majoring in Pre-elementary Education with a Philanthropy and Nonprofit minor, Sara says she learned how to take action. As part of her Service Learning class, she was able to secure a spare room at the Loachapoka Community Center and turn it into the town’s public library. When more books are acquired, the library will expand to more rooms in the building.
Books for the library came from donations by friends and family once Sara began to spread the word about her project. Help also came from the wife of Loachapoka Mayor Jim Grout. Ali Grout secured a number of good books through her work at Mission Thrift. The Auburn University Athletic Department also got involved. Junior basketball player Blanche Alverson’s “Ballin’ for Books” donation drive secured lots of books for the Loachapoka library, as well as for the Pine Hills Literacy Project at the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Lee County. A number of employees in our firm pitched in and donated several boxes of books. Even “Aubie,” who is well known to sports fans all across the county (even in Tuscaloosa) came out to entertain the crowd of library supporters at the opening.
Sara says the Loachapoka library now has about 1,000 books, but it still needs more. She says “a thousand sounds like a lot, but it’s really not when they’re on the shelves.” The goal is to make the Loachapoka Public Library a nonprofit agency so it can accept donations in return for a tax write-off. I am very proud of the good work Sara has done on this project. My granddaughter Sara is very much like my wife Sara. If you really want something done, tell them they can’t do it. That approach seems to work every time. But seriously, I am very proud of Sara for what she has done on this most worthwhile project.
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