UNION COUNTY — The long anticipated renovation, restoration, modernization, and upgrade of the Union County Carnegie Library will finally get under way with a groundbreaking ceremony at the end of this month.
Library Director Rieta Drinkwine announced Thursday that the groundbreaking ceremony will be held at the library from 3-5 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 30.
The ceremony will kick off the renovation, restoration, modernization, and upgrade of the library’s facilities. As originally planned, the program would include the following improvements:
• Restoration of the original, historic section of the library.
• Bringing the facility into compliance with standards set by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
• The creation of more space for children and teens including the development of an early learning center in partnership with Union County First Steps.
• The addition of a non-profit partnership center.
• The addition of space for meetings and workshops.
The project is expected to cost $1.8 million and Drinkwine said that to date the library has raised $1.6 million including a $1.25 million allocation from the State Lottery Fund secured for the library by the Union County Legislative Delegation; $25,000 allocated by the City of Union; a $70,000 grant from the Timken Foundation; and donations from local businesses, individuals, and organizations including the Union Rotary Club which recently donated $500.
Drinkwine said Tuesday that among those attending the groundbreaking ceremony will be State Rep. Mike Anthony, Chairman of the Union County Legislative Delegation, and fellow delegation member State Sen. Harvey Peeler. She pointed out that Anthony and Peeler were instrumental in securing the Lottery Fund allocation for the library and that both will be making remarks during the ceremony.
Even as it prepares to break ground and initiate the renovation program, Drinkwine said the library is continuing to raise money to fully fund it.
“We could still use funding support because right now we’re looking at what we can do without initially to make sure we get it done,” Drinkwine said Monday.
For more information about the library’s efforts to raise funds for the renovation and upgrade of its facilities and/or to contribute to that effort, call 864-427-7140.
In addition to providing books and other reading materials and access to online information to its patrons, the library is also heavily involved in efforts to promote literacy in Union County, especially among children. To further those efforts, the library is preparing to establish “Reading Corners” at local businesses and non-profit agencies. It’s doing that with the help of a $1,000 donation from the Union County Health Care Foundation.
“The Health Care Foundation donation is for the Literacy Council and will be used to put in ‘Reading Corners’ at local businesses and non-profits,” Drinkwine said Monday. “The goal is to provide books to children to encourage them to read.”
Drinkwine said that the Reading Corners will be located at the SCWorks, Department of Social Services, and Union County Health Department offices and the Emergency Room and Pediatrics Center at the Union Medical Center. She said the books in the Reading Corners will be available to children whose parents bring them with them to those facilities. This will give the children something to do that will enable their parents to take care of their business at those locations while also helping the children hone their reading skills.
“It will give them something to do,” Drinkwine said. “It will keep them engaged.”
The books for the Reading Corners will be provided by Save The Children.
Drinkwine was presented with the donation at the library by Health Care Foundation Executive Director Greta Bailey.
“Rieta called me and presented this idea,” Bailey said. “I was excited from the start. When I presented it to our board they felt the same. We can’t wait for it to get started.”
Drinkwine thanked Bailey and the foundation for their support of the library and the Reading Corners program.
“We truly appreciate the Health Care Foundation,” Drinkwine said.
For more information about the Reading Corners program and the other services provided by the library call 864-427-7140.
Charles Warner can be reached at 864-762-4090.