A new Clinton Library - And Others
Library Vision embraces technology, space for families, “quiet” and tutoring
In visioning for the future, the Laurens County Public Library has a Clinton Library vision for 15,081 sq ft of information and activities space. City of Clinton officials are negotiating for a private-public partnership to re-purpose the Industrial Supply Building for this facility; the county library says that could work, or another build-on-site option may present itself.
Money possibly could come from a Capital Projects Sales Tax, but there’s a lot of work to do before that 1-cent tax increase countywide is voting on in November 2020. Laurens County has projects to submit for consideration, and any municipality or group also can “make a pitch.”
For a Clinton Library, the service area would be not only the city, but also 22,000 citizens in the School District 56 area. The County Library says in a visioning statement:
“... Envision it as an attractive space that families and individuals will want to visit and spend time in. The building would reflect the community and would be a place that people would be proud of and eager to show off.”
There are 4 areas that the plan says “would ... be different than the library we have now”:
-- Place for children and families for learning and entertainment.
-- Place for community gathering and collaboration.
-- Place for technology access and assistance.
-- Place for books - still a core function of libraries but instead of quantity of books, emphasis is on quality and accessibility.
The County Library’s long-range visioning also includes a remodel and update of the Laurens County Library, and the eventual construction of a Gray Court / Hickory Tavern Regional Library (2,548 Laurens County residents have Greenville County library cards).
In addition to books and computers, a new Clinton Library could add a story-time area, rooms for self-directed learning, comfortable areas for parents and caregivers to observe or interact with children, teen area, and small study rooms for tutors or homework help.
The visioning plan presented recently to the Laurens County Council also calls for a meeting room to seat 85 for library programming and for use by the public and local organizations. Also visioned are a collaboration room, smaller rooms up to four people for meetings/appointments, display area for local artists, comfortable seating and possibly a “quiet room,” accessibility and comfort for senior citizens, and perhaps an outdoor area or garden.
A preliminary plan for a new library in the Industrial Supply Building also calls for the development of retail space on the West Main Street corridor. It’s not uncommon for libraries these days to include coffee shops. Parking could be shared for the nearby weddings / gatherings business, Cotton Loft The Venue. Soundproofing would be needed - the building sits right beside one of the busiest railroad lines in South Carolina.
Key to development of a new Clinton Library, the county library vision says, is technology. There would be a place for a public computer area and a room for patrons to plug in their laptops and devices. Emerging Technology could be planned for - to include 3-D Printing, videoconferencing, virtual reality, robotics and a tech lending library.
There would be space to more logically organize and spotlight collections, as well as being ADA compliant and a friendly space with plenty of lights (ADA is the federal Americans with Disabilities Act).
This fall, the Laurens Library will be 30 years old. It needs new heating and air system, remodel of the front entrance, power and technology, new lighting, restroom remodel, and windows replacement, the visioning document advises.
In the fast-growing Gray Court region, the county needs a Regional Library, the vision document says. Examples are available for viewing in Greenwood and Columbia; Greenwood County gave its former library building to the Veterans Affairs Office that shares personnel with Laurens County VA. This building is home to their permanent Hall of Heroes.
Northern Laurens County is served by the bookmobile.
“As a rule of thumb,” the visioning document says, “if a community can support a supermarket, they need a branch library. A branch library could be the next block in building a successful economic and service center in the Gray Court/Hickory Tavern area.”
No price tags are attached to the Laurens County Library Vision: Service for the Future, February 26, 2019. Ballpark numbers would have to be obtained before a library(s) project could be considered by a Capital Project Sales Tax Committee (not yet appointed by the Laurens County Council).
Last week: The historic courthouse in downtown Laurens. Next week: The lake nobody wanted, Greenville County.