The media room inside Stokesdale Town Hall could soon get additional usage as a library.
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Stokesdale Town Council's struggle to create a unified vision for a town library led to a heated debate in its Aug. 16 meeting. Councilman Frank Bruno started the discussion after making a motion to designate the current media room in town hall as a library and community room, appoint Helen Marshall as a volunteer head of a library committee and to cut a doorway between the media room and the next office room to make way for future expansion of a library. Mayor Randle Jones questioned Bruno's intent of eliminating the office space that would be used for expansion. Bruno pointed out that the office wasn't currently being used. "I figure it's a public building and I say let's let the public use it," he said. Mayor Pro Tem Randy Braswell quickly seconded Bruno's motion while Mayor Jones voiced concern about whether the proposed space would be large enough for a library. "I think we need to look at a real library, something that's big enough for people to really come in," said Mayor Jones. "I would like a committee to look at that before we vote on where we cut holes in buildings." Councilwoman Mickie Halbrook said she was concerned about whether a library would be successful in Stokesdale. "There's a lot involved in running a library," she said. "A lot of them are closing right now and I think maybe we should investigate why first." Bruno explained the vision for the library that he and Marshall shared was more of a media center that would provide computers and help people communicate better with loved ones who might be overseas. "I've tried to come up with a solution where we can give something back to the community with a building that's already here and not have to spend any money to do it," he said. "We haven't done anything but use a room that isn't being used." Mayor Jones disagreed that the room wasn't being used but Bruno was unconvinced. "We have a building here that was paid for by the public with raw funds," said Bruno. "If we can use it to benefit that public, why not?" "There's no argument whether or not to use the town hall," countered Mayor Jones. "The argument is to get a committee together and get input to figure out the best way to do this." In the end, Bruno amended his motion to designate the town hall's current media room as a library and community room and appoint Marshall as a volunteer head of a library committee and to form a committee to explore the expansion of the library. The motion passed 4-1 with Halbrook voting against.