bership Big Question For
Countywide Library System
BY TKKKY POPK
Plaits to establish a count ywidc li
brary system gained stronger sup
port last week, but the big question
now is who will serve on its board
Committee members who met to
discuss an overhaul of the library
system reached a consensus that
Brunswick County should take con
County Attorney David Clcgg
w ill draft a proposal lor membership
on the new library hoard and present
it to county and Southport officials
for approval, said Kelly Holden,
chairman ol the Brunswick County
Board of Commissioners.
About 50 people attended a hear
ing on the library system in
Southport last Thursday, Dec. 19.
Committee members ? two commis
sioners and two Southport alder
men?listened as plans to replace
the present joint Southport
Brunswick County Library Board
with a countywidc system met with
Several speakers said they were
concerned about membership on the
new board and what the shakcup
would mean for library employees.
Some asked for a large board of di
rectors while others said smaller
groups work better. Stale law limits
library boards to no more than 12
"1 think that's something we're
going to have to work out," said
Holden. 'Large boards can work to
gether. 1 don't see any way to have a
board of five people and have all
residents represented "
Southport Alderman Nelson
Adams said he hopes the new li
brary system will be a "belter and a
larger library system lor Brunswick
County." Adams joined fellow board
members James C. Brown, Mary
Childs and South port Mayor
Norman Holdcn. Brunswick County
was represented on the committee
by Molden and District 3
Commissioner Gene Pinkerton.
Molden replaced Commissioner
Jerry Jones, who was sick.
Commissioners consented to pos
sibly taking over the library system
to help settle a construction dispute
between the town of Leland and the
trustees, which by law cannot own
land or library buildings. A building
committee has raised S145.(XX) to
build a Leland area library and has
received a SSO.tXX) grant from the
Leland has contributed S60,(XX)
and three acres of land, while the
county has chippcd in S3(),(XX).
The present library board is con
trolled jointly by Southport and
Brunswick County, with each gov
erning body appointing six mem
bers. Brown told the committee that
politics should stay out of the library
business. Residents that have no
community library should be repre
sented by an at-large member, he
"We should do what the people
want us to do," said Brown. "We
can afford anything the people can
Ann Mines, president of the Oak
Island Library Boosters Inc., which
is raising funds to build an Oak
Island branch library, presented the
committee a proposal for board
The county should be divided into
Towns Must Follow State
Fire Inspection Schedule
BY DORl C. GURGANUS
Mandatory fire inspections now
have a set schedule in North
Carolina, a schedule that will regu
late the way local municipalities
deal with fire safety.
The schedule regulation adds a
new twist to the recent law requiring
towns to have a certified fire inspec
tor on staff or under contract.
The slate Building Cixle Council,
part of the N.C. Department of
Insurance, voted recently to mandate
thai businesses within town limits,
including churches, be inspected
oncc every three years, said Lee
Mauser, deputy commissioner 111
charge of the engineering division.
Industries and plants must he in
spected every two years, and resi
dential/institutional buildings, such
as apartments and hospitals, will be
inspected oncc a year, Hauser said.
I'ublic schools have been mandat
ed for several years to be inspected
twice a year.
The action came on the heels of a
Sept. 3 fire at a meat processing
plant in Hamlet that killed 25 per
sons. The building had never re
ceived a fire inspection during 1 1
years of operation.
Hauser explained that up until
now, towns could set their own
schedule of fire inspections, but that
the new law will see to it that they
hold to a state-regulated, steady
Hiring a fire inspector, which has
been state law since July 1 of this
year, requires towns to hire an in
spector certified by the N.C. Code of
Officials Qualification Board. This
is the same board, Hauser said, that
certifies building and plumbing in
Towns have several options in se
curing a fire inspector: they can
have an inspector on staff, hire an
independent, state -certified inspec
tor or, said Brunswick County Fire
Inspector Cecil Logan, contract with
the county for that service.
Six months alter the lire inspec
tions became law, Logan reported
that his office has "not really" had
any problems with towns failing to
Some towns, such as Calabash,
have taken it on their own to have a
fire inspector readily available.
Calabash Fire Chief Jerry Prince
has undergone additional training to
become a probationary level one fire
inspector, and now has a deadline of
two years to complete training to be
come certified level one.
Prince said that he will he avail
able to perform inspections for the
town, in addition to his regular ser
vice as fire chief and level three
"Things are really not going to be
any different than they were before,
and it's not as complicated as it
sounded at first," said Logan, noting
that the biggest difference will tie
the increased frequency of inspec
Logan recently attended a week
long, "very intense" training course
to upgrade his certification.
"I learned an awful lot that 1 was
not aware of," he reported.
As an example, Logan said he
learned that it is illegal for an as
sembly building such as a church to
have a Christmas tree with lights on
it unless the tree is alive, with a root
lie said that he believes that regu
lations will call for stricter schedules
and certifications in the future.
Logan also said that inspections
of single-family dwellings have nev
er been mandated, except during the
time a house is under construction
and must meet stale building codes.
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"Large boards can work together. I don't
see any way to have a board of five peo
ple and have all residents represented
District 1 Commissioner
library districts, lor both existing
anil proposed libraries, said Mrs.
Mines. Two members should be cho
sen from each district, along with a
commissioner and an at-large mem
ber, she suggested.
Oak Island also wants new mem
bers added when the population in
the county demands the need lor a
new library; that Brunswick County
own all land and buildings and pro
vide support for the libraries; and
that membership on the board be
granted to communities that have
raised funds to support a library.
Volunteers have raised S33,(XX)
for an Oak Island branch to serve its
4,732 permanent residents from
Long Beach, Yaupon Beach and
Southport's Margaret Harper, a
former trustee anil longtime library
supporter, said Calabash should also
be considered for a branch library
under a countywidc system.
"You don't know how glad I am
that we're at this place, at this time,
at last," Mrs. Harper told the com
mittee. "I think now is the time thai
we're going to come of age."
Mrs. Harper also said the present
library employees should be allowed
to keep their jobs, retirement and
benefits under a new system.
Trustees should be persons who are
more interested in the libraries than
in politics, she added.
Added Tom Owens of Caswell
Beach, "We want to have the library
accessible to our people, and we
want the politics left out of it as
much as possible."
The St>ulh|x>rt library needs to be
upgraded and more branches added,
he said. A centralized locauon, such
as in Bolivia, wouldn't reach the
largest number of people, Owens
"There's no reason why
Brunswick County cannot have one
of the best library systems in North
Carolina," noted Eugene Tomlinson
of Southport. "I would urge you to
move ahead with a countywide sys
Some I -eland officials had indi
cated that a SM),(XX) stale grant
would be lost lor the Leland branch
if construction wasn't under way by
Dec. 31. But Pinkcrton viid there is
"I think the state has given us a
wonderful Christmas present il
they're not going to adhere to tins
deadline we've read about," said
May Moore of Yaupon Beach. She
said new county libraries should be
built close to the main areas of pop
The head of the Ixland building
committee, Edith Tillman, said the
new board of trustees should also
meet more regularly and be limited
in si/e. The present Umr<J meets ev
ery other month.
"If you have Ux> many people on
the board, you just can't get an\
thing done," she noted.
Holden responded by saying he
had served on a large Brunswick
Community College Board ol
Trustees that "was very functional.'
"We used a lot of subcoinmii
lees," Holden said.
Paul Austin of 1 .eland suggested
that county control of the hbrar\
system would "gel all of the squah
bling out of it."
"The lown of L .eland will work
with the county in any way to get
the library built," he said. "No
For the IWI-92 budget year.
Southport allocated S20.000 to the
library board's budget, Brunswick
County S125.WX) and Shallotte
$5,500. The remainder comes from
state and federal grants.
Libraries arc open in Southport,
Shallotte and a small branch in
Lcland that the community warns to
replace. Also, a bookmobile travels
a few times each month to the
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