Referendum seeking $108 million Charleston County library makeover

Referendum seeking $108 million Charleston library makeover

The last time Charleston County Public Library officials pushed a major referendum, over 75% of voters voted yes in support.

The year was 1986.

Now 28 years later, CCPL board members are hoping for similar results on the November ballot, where voters will face a similar decision.  The 2014 referendum hails a $108 million price tag, and includes five new constructions, with major renovations to 13 existing libraries.

"We've determined we need to move a little bit closer into the 21st century," said CCPL Board Chairwoman Janet Segal.

Technology upgrades are among the biggest concern.  Segal says many of the existing buildings won't support the wiring needed to handle more computers.

"Our buildings were designed before anyone heard of the internet," she said.

CCPL Executive Director Douglas Henderson also listed capacity as a major concern.

"None of our buildings have quiet study rooms, they weren't built with them," he said.

Since the last referendum in 1986, the circulation in Charleston County libraries has grown nearly 300%, from 873,660 to the present 3.4 million.

The recent renovation plan was developed after a detailed assessment of existing facilities, a review of population growth, changing technology, along with focus groups and interviews to determine community needs.

"These are the services people tell us they want, that they expect," Henderson said.

The $108 million renovation would span six years, and cost $11.20/year for households with $100,000 annual income.

CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Copyright 2014 WCSC.  All rights reserved.