Things are changing at Richland Library.
Funded by a $59 million bond referendum that Richland County voters approved in 2013, the library’s renovations and additions at the Main Library as well as various branches are in various stages.
The new 30,000-square foot Sandhills Library in Northeast Richland, for example, is days away from its grand opening, with a celebration set for next weekend. Thelibrary is in the Village at Sandhill in Northeast Richland and will be a joint-use facility with Richland 2. It includes a large common area and café, a 250-plus seat auditorium, dedicated children’s space, meeting and tutor rooms, and outside patios.
Closer to downtown, things are just getting started at the new Edgewood branch.
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And at the Main Library? Some renovations are soon to be completed just in time for more to start – including work at the much-used and much-loved Children’s Room set to begin next month.
“We know that the construction at Main can be an inconvenience,” said Emily Stoll, spokesperson for Richland Library. “But we had a choice, and we didn’t want to close the entire building.”
The library’s systemwide construction is being updated with photos at www.buildingyourlibrary.com and Stoll encourages everyone to follow the progress.
“This project wouldn’t be possible without the bond referendum our residents passed in 2013,” Stoll said. “The end project is going to be incredible. We can’t wait to share it with everyone.”
The Main Library in downtown Columbia is about to finish one construction project and start another.
The Main Library, an estimated $15 million project, elected to do its renovations in phases so it would not have to close completely during construction.
Its first level is set to re-open in May.
Before that, though, the library will begin preparations in March for the garden level renovations, which includes the Children’s Room.
Members of the Children’s Room staff will “float” throughout the system during construction to different departments, including outreach efforts in the community. The library will still offer its popular Saturday Storytime as well as other programs.
“We will have a small selection of some of our most popular children’s selection available,” said Georgia Coleman, the library’s chief customer officer.
Renovations to the Children’s Room include an enhanced story area, a messy craft room, a shadow puppet tunnel, a learning studio and a reading nook. There also will be a new entrance to the Children’s Room that will be more stroller friendly.
What’s not changing: the beloved original mural based on the Maurice Sendak children’s book “Where the Wild Things Are.”
The teen center, now on the first floor, will be brought to the garden level. The Bostic Auditorium, now on ground level, will move to the first floor.
Other first Level renovations include new spaces for Film and Sound, a multi-use auditorium, galleries and more.
The third level, housing the Business, Careers and Research Center, opened in March 2016 and the second level, housing new Studio Spaces, opened in September.
Garden level renovations are expected to be completed this fall.
The Ballentine community is getting a new 13,000-square-foot building nestled on a seven-acre wooded lot. With a cedar and brick exterior, the new building will house amenities including a puppet theatre and story time area for children and an outdoor deck.
It’s projected to open early this summer.
The Blythewood Library is getting a new look outside, with other new features inside. A 2,400-square-foot addition will provide space for new meeting/group study rooms, family restroom, and a teen area. Outside, there will be a public art piece Water Tower Pavilion, inspired by the Blythewood steam train water tower, along with enhanced parking and an outdoor programming space.
The Blythewood Library has been operating out of temporary quarters since June. It’s scheduled to reopen this spring.
The Cooper location renovations include a new addition for an interactive children’s space, a new entrance as well as cozy spaces for reading and gathering.
Cooper has been closed since March 2016 for its $3 million renovation, but temporarily has been using the Learn Freely Bus and the Columbia Children’s Theatre for storytimes.
The branch is expected to reopen early this summer.
The St. Andrews location is renovating its existing 13,000-square-foot facility and getting an addition for amenities including an enhanced garden and outdoor area, teen engagement space, a large public meeting room and separate areas for children, and a new career space.
The St. Andrews location has been operating out of temporary quarters since October. It’s expected to reopen this fall.
Richland Library will lease a 7,000-square-foot building at Elmwood and Oak streets, near the Drew Wellness Center between Harden Street and Two Notch Road, in a building that was formerly a Dollar General store.
The library plans to spend about $2.2 million on the new location. In December, community residents were asked what they want to see in the future Edgewood location, including outdoor space, parent meeting room space, a kids play zone and an area for local artwork to be displayed.
The new branch is expected to open next year.
The Southeast location project includes renovations to its existing 20,000-square-foot facility and an addition for increased access to new technology, a textile room, consultation and tutor rooms, teen space and comfortable seating.
Construction should start in early to mid-summer.
The 15,000-square-foot facility will be renovated with an addition that will include two tutor rooms or small conference rooms, increasing the current meeting room size by 1,650 square feet including storage and teaching kitchen, exterior improvements, the addition of outdoor programming space and the re-paving of parking facilities.
Construction is expeced to start in late spring or early summer. The branch will be closed during renovations.
Renovations to the existing 4,000-square-foot facility will include tutoring rooms or small conference rooms, increased children’s space, and the re-paving of parking facilities.
Construction is expected to start in mid- to late summer. The branch will be closed during renovations.
In addition to the expected opening of the new Sandhill branch next weekend, these branches have been renovated:
North Main: The North Main branch re-opened in September. New features include a Networking Center for customers to take part in professional webinars or virtual interviews, a recording studio, which includes state-of-the-art editing equipment and software, and a courtyard, which has public art on display from Laurie Brownell McIntosh.
Eastover: Although Eastover completed a $1.6 million renovation and expansion in 2013, the 5,200-square-foot location has had some updates and improvements including newly upholstered sitting chairs in the magazine area.
Richland Library Sandhills Grand Opening Celebration
WHEN: 2-4 p.m. Feb. 19
WHERE: New Richland Library Sandhills branch, 763 Fashion Drive
MORE INFO: buildingyourlibrary.com