Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

Real news for working families.

County Commission News

Columbia County's invitation only public library dedication a success

Most all of Columbia County's upper echelon appeared for Friday morning's 10 o'clock, by invitation only, dedication of the new, but not quite ready for prime time Columbia County working family financed public library branch in Fort White. The event was staged for the benefit of outgoing Commissioner Dewey Weaver, because in the words of County Manager Dale Williams, "They're doing this for Dewey because Dewey's going to be gone." No one from the public was invited and neither was the Observer.

The new branch is a very pretty library and lovely inside and will hopefully inspire some of its patrons in the surrounding rural community to dream big dreams and do great things. The branch will be managed by the highly regarded Patti Street.

County Manager Williams told the Observer the County is trying to figure out why there is no outside lighting, but they will have the lights installed by the time the library is open to the public.

If you were invited to the library dedication, this is what you would have seen:

Debra Paulson, Columbia County Library Director

"When people come to a community often the first thing they want to check out is the Library. This certainly is a library the people of Fort White can be proud of."

Ms. Paulson explained that when the county applied for a library grant the project was rated third out of 25, then the state legislature eliminated the library construction program altogether.

Ronald Williams, County Commissioner Dist. I

 Commissioner Williams explained that before Dewey Weaver came along commissioners would promise things for the south end of the County and then conveniently forget about it.

"The South end of the county was always like a redheaded stepchild."

Commissioner Williams explained that after Mr. Weaver came along things changed.  Commissioner Williams said that this Library will supply a lot of services that people don't have at home.

Commissioner Williams concluded, "The new library in Fort White is a win-win situation for everybody.

Truitt George, Mayor of Fort White:

 Mayor George said that the first Fort White Library began with four boxes that contained 51 books.

He thanked Dewey Weaver for his support of Fort White and the Library.

Karl Burkhardt, President of the Friends of the Library.

Mr. Burkhardt thanked Dewey for his efforts.

Dewey Weaver, County Commissioner Dist. II

Commissioner Weaver thanked the County Commission for their support of the library.

He said, "I love libraries."

Commissioner Weaver explained that he came from a very poor family and that his first Library was the magazines his father borrowed from the barber shop.

Commissioner Weaver explained that his father was a reader. "He read Life Magazine, Look Magazine, and National Geographic."

Commissioner Weaver explained that when he was in the fourth grade he read a series of books and through that he developed a lifelong love of reading.

Commissioner Weaver: "I do believe that the library is an essential part of the quality of life in a community."

This work by the Columbia County Observer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.

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All the stars have their name on the plaque, the Commissioners, the County Manager, the Library Director, the Builder and the Architect. Not even given an honorable mention are the Working Families of Columbia County, whose sweat and hard work made this public library possible.


The dedication invitees. The thousands of working families that worked to pay for the library were not invited to the dedication.


Left to right: Fire Chief Trey Atkinson; Sheriff Mark Hunter and his trademark rattlesnake cowboy boots; Com Stephen Bailey; Com Jody DuPree in his trademark Ray Bans; Com Elect Rusty DePratter; Town Councilman Donald Cook; Com Ronald Williams, who is under his trademark cowboy hat.


The beach towel, certainly one of the stars of the show, is about to come off the dedication plaque, as the LCR photographer snaps away.


The public library is officially dedicated as the plaque is revealed. Dewey Weaver's father, who he spoke about at some length, would have been proud of his son today.