Published March 27, 2014
Charleston County residents will vote whether to fund the renovation of existing library branches and the construction of new ones in November.
The current proposal calls for constructing four buildings, renovating 12 existing branches and moving library support services out of the Main Library to free up that space for public use.
Charleston County Public Library estimates costs are roughly $104 million, which would cost the owner of a $100,000 home a maximum of $12 annually, the county said.
The November referendum is a result of a two-year study that involved community input and evaluated the existing 16 branches. The study showed the county’s library buildings and services fall behind others in the region and are below the state’s standards for public libraries in terms of having enough public space and computers.
Library staff worked with architects and engineers to determine potential renovations, new building locations, technology updates and estimated costs.
The last library referendum was held in 1986 when roughly 76% of voters approved the funding to build the Mount Pleasant, Dorchester Road, Saint Andrews and Otranto Road branches, as well as to expand the Main Library.
Charleston County Public Library will hold 10 community meetings throughout the county starting Monday until April 21 to help voters understand the proposal.
If approved by voters, officials estimate the four new libraries could open by early 2018. The renovation of existing branches would be staggered, with most of it completed in 2018-2019.