Solar-powered Library on Sapelo Island

Solar-powered Library on Sapelo Island


I’m Vaughnette Goode-Walker. I’m a historian. Some people like to say “storyteller.” I say “history teller,” because it’s important
to know your story. Sapelo is sacred ground, because this is one
of those islands since the late 1700’s where African people began to work. The Sea Islands off the coast of Georgia and
South Carolina was where they were growing sea island cotton. “And what were they doing on the plantations? I think I have a little bit to show you. They was picking this cotton. This is upland cotton. Over here on these islands was sea island
cotton. A lot more valuable. Soft. And imported/exported.” So they needed the people who were—good
at that—to bring them here. In the city of Savannah, at the county courthouse
between 1761 and 1771, 10,800 Africans came into that port to be sold into slavery. They came from Senegal. They came from Senegambia. They came from Sierra Leone. And living on these Sea Islands after the
institution of slavery ended, you would have the rebel Toonis Campbell, you know, as you
bring it up through history. And Toonis Campbell wanted education, so today
we stand in front of the library, moving it into the future. People have to read that history. They have to write that history. So Sapelo is American history, and what happened
to the Africans when they got here. My name is Ann Tucker, and I am a descendent
of this island. And we had our schools here, we had our store
here, we had our churches, so, you know, this was our community. It was probably about 2007 or ’08 that I joined
the library, became a trustee on the board. We had no funding at all. It was all based on volunteers, support and
donations, and in 2010 we appealed to the Board of Education and to the McIntosh County
Board of Commissioners. It was in 2006 that the library joined up
with the Three Rivers Regional Library System. They provided us with administrative services,
technical services and a lot of resources. So that was a good move. Now we function as a part-time library. Part-time meaning that we’re only open three
days a week. We have a lot of programs that we offer to
the children and to the adults as well. We do provide a lot of services to the community
at large. Hi, I’m Diana Very—Dr. Diana Very. I’m the director of the Three Rivers Regional
Library System. This is a real community library. It’s not one that’s run by the government;
it’s run by the community. We have all kinds of technology that we put
into the library, so they have everything that all the other libraries have. And people come here because we have the internet
on 24/7, so they can come here, sit under the solar panels, and connect to the internet. With Commissioner Echols, he first involved
some of the people from the area and started talking to them. Found out that the regional library is the
governing board for the library. So they came before the governing board. And as I said in the speech earlier, he came
saying, “I’m from the government, and I’m here to help!” “And I think your board looked at me like,
‘What in the world are you doing?'” And we said, “Oh, sure. How much is it going to cost us?” And it hasn’t cost us a thing. My name is Ryan Sanders. I’m the chairman of the Georgia Large-scale
Solar Association, and I’m a partner with Beltline Energy. Commissioner challenged our organization to
take on service projects somewhere in the state of Georgia. We went back and reviewed the options and
decided that Sapelo Island was the right service project to take on. As an organization, we’re glad to be able
to give back to the state. Solar is having a tremendous impact on the state of Georgia as a whole, and it’s nice to see various examples of service projects like this go in to support
specific communities across the state. I’m Chad Blizzard, I work for Great Southern
Wood Preserving, and I’m the sales manager at our Jesup, Georgia facility. And we got involved in this project when we
were asked to donate some material to help with the solar panel project that’s going
to be powering the library here, and we’re very proud to do that, very excited to get
involved with it, and we were also able to work with—we were the closest plant to Sapelo,
and we were able to work with the local building supply, and I guess, you know, the other workers,
to help get the product over here, and get the solar panels up and installed. I’m Tim Echols on the Georgia Public Service
Commission, and we’re so excited to donate this solar pavilion, which I’m sitting under,
and the picnic tables and everything to enhance the Hog Hammock Foundation playground and
the library here that serves this Hog Hammock community. This joint effort, worth about $35,000, of
panels and inverters, all of the YellaWood that was donated by YellaWood, and Darien
Telephone’s investment in the picnic tables, will serve this community for a very long
time. We’re especially excited to essentially provide
free electricity to this Three Rivers Library for the next 30 years during the day. They’ll be on the grid at night. This is a great money-saving opportunity for
this library system. that allows them to spend other money on books
and things they might normally have spent on electricity. So this is a great gift from the Commission
and from our donor companies to the Hog Hammock community. Alright. Thank you all. Enjoyed this!

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