UNION — The Union County Library System is preparing for the grand re-opening of the renovated and historically restored Carnegie Library on September 8!
Located at 318 East South Street, Union, the Union County Carnegie Library has been closed since Nov. 30, 2017 when a groundbreaking ceremony kicked off the long-planned and long-anticipated $2 million renovation, restoration, modernization, and upgrade of its facilities. As originally planned, the project included 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 $2 million renovation project is being funded with $1.6 million raised by the library including a $1.25 million allocation from the State Lottery Fund secured for it 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 $500 from the Union Rotary Club.
Now, almost 10 months after it closed its doors for the renovation project, the library will soon be reopening them.
In a statement released Wednesday, Union Library System Assistant Director Taylor Atkinson announced that “the library is looking forward to re-opening the Carnegie on Saturday, September 8. The entire community is welcomed and encouraged to attend this historical celebratory event! We will begin with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 2 p.m. on the front lawn, and are excited to announce our Keynote Speaker is Marjory Wentworth, Poet Laureate of South Carolina.”
In addition to reopening, Atkinson said “the library is also thrilled to announce we are one of three places in the United States debuting a new national Smithsonian traveling exhibit titled ‘Crossroads: Change in Rural America.’ Crossroads explores how rural American communities changed in the 20th century, and examines how America’s small towns continue to creatively focus on new opportunities for growth and development.”
Atkinson said that “the exhibition is part of Museum on Main Street, a unique collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES), state humanities councils across the nation, and local host institutions. The Carnegie Library is one of six institutions to host the exhibit in South Carolina, and Crossroads will be on display at the library from September 8-October 21.”
For those who want to learn more about Crossroads and other Museum on Main Street exhibitions, Atkinson recommended that they visit www.museumonmainstreet.org. She added that support for Museum on Main Street has been provided by the U.S. Congress.
After closing its doors on Nov. 30, 2017, the library initially relocated to the old Graham Cash building at 127 East Main Street, Union, with plans to operate out of there until the renovations were complete. It reopened at its temporary location on Jan. 3 of this year, but was forced to close again on Jan. 4 when a sprinkler froze, ruptured, and flooded the building. This forced the library to relocated again, this time to the following locations in the following communities:
• The USC Union Library in the City of Union.
• The Jonesville Municipal Complex in the Town of Jonesville.
• The Carlisle Town Hall in the Town of Carlisle.
• Jacob’s Well in the Town of Lockhart.
In announcing the reopening of the Carnegie Library, Atkinson said that the library will no longer be able to maintain these satellite facilities which will begin closing this coming week.
“Sadly, the library does not currently have adequate resources to continue staffing our satellite locations and relocate and operate the Carnegie Library,” Atkinson said. “The Jonesville satellite location, located at the Jonesville Town Hall Senior Center, will be closed both Wednesday, August 15 and Thursday, August 16. Friday, August 17, is the last day all satellite locations will be staffed with a library employee.
”Public computers and self-checkout kiosks will remain in all satellite locations to allow for checkout of requested materials, which will be delivered weekly to each location,” she said. “Anyone who requests materials through SCLENDS is encouraged to check with the mayoral clerks in Carlisle and Jonesville, and with Jacob’s Well staff in Lockhart to receive their requested materials. To search the catalog and place items on hold, visit https://sclends.lib.sc.us. Once you have found an item to place on hold, simply select either Carlisle, Jonesville, Lockhart, or the Carnegie Library as your desired pickup location.”
Atkinson said that during the two weeks between the closing of the satellite locations and the reopening of the Carnegie Library, service will continue to be provided through the USC Union Library.
Coordinator To Be Hired
Even though it will no longer be staffing the satellite locations, Atkinson said the library remains committed to serving all the people and communities of the county and is taking steps to continue and enhance those services.
“Serving all of Union County is important to the library, and we will continue to do what we are able with the resources we have,” Atkinson said. “The library is hiring a full-time Programs and Outreach Coordinator to provide programs and services throughout the county. Interested applicants must submit a resume, cover letter, 3 references, and a Union County Library System Employment Application to [email protected] Applications and a full job description are available at http://www.unionlibrary.org/employment.
The reopening of the Carnegie Library will give the public the opportunity to enjoy the services and programs it offers in its newly-renovated and expanded facilities.
“Please feel free to contact library staff at 427-7140 or email [email protected] with any questions,” Atkinson said. “Follow our Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/unionsclibrary for updates on our upcoming Fall events and programs, which are scheduled to begin in September, and will feature special Crossroads-related programming.”
Atkinson concluded by expressing the library’s gratitude to the people of Union County for their support.
“We are honored and proud to serve Union County, and thank you all for your patience and support during our renovation process,” Atkinson said. “We would like to thank the towns of Carlisle, Jonesville, and Lockhart for embracing us and our staff, and want to send a special thank you to USC Union for all of their support throughout our relocation and renovation.“
Charles Warner can be reached at 864-762-4090.