LETTER: Tell Everyone, A Library Is Very Important to Clinton
As some of you know, plans are underway on a county and city level that may affect the future of the Clinton Public Library. As the now-retired Clinton branch librarian, who served the Clinton community for 37 years, I am still deeply interested in seeing a permanent, well-designed, and convenient location for our citizens.
Here is a brief history of the Clinton Library from its construction in 1974. The now-demolished building was located next to city hall and served the public well. In 2002, the building had reached its limits – computers, books, and the children’s area were growing and there was no more space. Director William Cooper and I were in the process of forming a long range plan to either add on to the existing building or to relocate. When roof issues forced us to move quickly, the city responded and did a quick renovation of the former Eckerds building in College Station. We were grateful for the space, but the fix was supposed to be temporary.
Since then, there have been a couple of attempts to secure funding, but other needs in the community always took precedence. We have now been in our “temporary” location for 17 years. Due to an aging electrical system, no more computers can be added for public access. There is no place for a meeting room, tutoring space, or quiet area. Children’s story hours and programs are held in an area that is not closed off, which means children can wander into areas that are not supervised. The space is tired looking and does not project the image we would desire. The bathroom area is not ideal, being out of sight, and has construction and electrical issues that are becoming unsafe. Also, the rear door must be kept unlocked for fire safety, but there is a high drop-off at the back loading dock.
Once again, we have a chance to give the Clinton area a long-overdue new building to meet the needs of our citizens. The county council has heard vision plans from different groups and is now considering a 2020 referendum to allow the citizens to make a decision on funding for the Clinton Library as well as other county projects. Director Ann Szypulski has presented a 20-year plan for the Laurens County Library and the Clinton building is top priority in that plan. There is so much more we could be doing for our community in a new space: computer labs, tutoring space, an auditorium for speakers and community meetings, a safe and cheerful children’s area and much more. As the current President of the Friends of the Library, the Friends Board and I are asking you to contact your Council representative and let him or her know that this is an important issue to you and your families.