UNION COUNTY — The efforts to fund the completion of the ongoing renovation of the Union County Carnegie Library got a boost this week with a donation of $4,000 from the Union Community Foundation.
In a ceremony Thursday afternoon at the SCWorks office on Main Street in downtown Union, Union Community Foundation Chairman Buddy Smith presented Union County Carnegie Library Director Rieta Drinkwine with a check for $4,000. Smith said the donation was the result of a proposal made by Foundation Board Member Mike Cassels in 2015 when he was serving as Interim Library Director. He said the donation was a grant which required the library to raise matching funds in order to receive it, something he said the library has done.
Smith presented the check to Drinkwine together with Cassels and fellow Foundation Board Member Tommy Sinclair who he said had also been instrumental in making the donation possible.
In presenting the donation, Smith said the Carnegie Library “has been a key part of the community for many, many years” since being established over a century ago. He said the library is “not just a repository for books,” but also an important part of the local educational system “with children using its computers” in their studies.
Drinkwine said the library “very much appreciates” the support of the Foundation and briefed the board on the efforts of the library to raise the funds needed for the $2.1 million renovation project. She said that the library has been able to raise the required funds for the main part of the renovation process but is still in need of additional funding for new furniture and landscaping.
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 $2.1 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 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 $850 from the Union Rotary Club, and, now, $4,000 from the Union Community Foundation.
The Union County Carnegie Library will reopen on Saturday, Sept. 8 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 2 p.m. Marjory Wentworth, Poet Laureate of South Carolina, will be the keynote speaker.
Charles Warner can be reached at 864-762-4090.