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[Charleston] New Kanawha County Public Library

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New library to be 'destination'

Notes --

1. The new Kanawha County Public Library is proposed for the corner of Leon Sullivan Way and Lee Street. Currently, it is at the Federal Building on Capitol Street. The current location are parking spaces now for sale by the Charleston Urban Renewal Authority.

2. The new library would be near the Clay Center, offer a more spacious layout, quiet study areas, more than 100 new computers, a coffee shop and an outdoor reading area. It would also be two or three stories high instead of five, and feature no fixed walls.

2a. The library would also have a career center.

2b. It would also feature the West Virginia Room, where rare materials could be housed under climate-controlled conditions. The materials today are stored in a small area in the reference section surrounded by fax machines.

2c. The new library would feature 60 parking spaces (instead of the originally proposed 150), however, this is well more than the zero that currently exist. It would also feature two entrances, a drop-off zone for buses and improved handicapped accessibility.

3. The cost for the new library is $40 million, $10 million of which is devoted to property purchases. Another $10 million would be spent for improvements and renovations at six of the nine library branch sites.

3a. New libraries would be built in Marmet and Elk Valley, while the Cross Lanes, Dunbar, St. Albans and Sissonville libraries would be expanded and renovated.

3b. $25 million would come from private fundraisers, the other $25 million coming from government grants or gifts -- and possibly a bond sale. The library, however, is not authorized to sell bonds, so it would need the county commission or school board for assistance. If it were to be placed on the county ballot, only 50% of the voters would need to approve. Sponsorship by the county commission would increase that to 60%.

3c. The library has so far raised $12 million in private funds through the "Open a Modern Classic" campaign. Fundraising should wrap up in December 2008 and the new library could break ground in 2009 -- the library system's 100th anniversary.

4. The library system in Kanawha County was founded in 1909 by George Laidley. Over the years, it has been housed in six locations -- none of which were designed to be used as libraries. Since 1967, the library has been housed in the Federal Building which was built in the early 1900s -- which served as a courthouse and post office previously.

4a. It boasts 350,000 materials today. 40,000 visit the main library every month, totalling 1 million systemwide.

Stats --

Size

Former:

New: 135,000 sq. ft.

Computers

Former: 20

New: 100+

Parking

Former: 0

New: 60

Article information: "New library to be 'destination', by Jessica M. Karmasek, Daily Mail [Charleston], May 7, 2007"

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Library project gets big donations

Notes --

1. A new downtown public library seems more feasible. On June 7, Kanawha County Public Library officials announced three gifts of $1 million or more. So far, they have raised nearly $13 million in the campaign -- their goal is $25 million from individuals, businesses, and foundations, and $25 million in public money, some or all of which could come from a bond that would require voter approval. The fundraising effort is "ahead of schedule."

1a. The Clay Foundation has promised $5 million, and the Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation has pledged $1 million.

2. The new library would cost $40 million and would be positioned almost directly across from the Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences at the southwest corner of Lee Street and Leon Sullivan Way.

3. Another $10 million would go to replace the libraries at Marmet and Elk Valley, expand nearly new structures in Cross Lanes and Sissonville, and renovate and expand older facilities in St. Albans and Dunbar.

4. Groundbreaking is planned for fall 2009 with an opening in fall 2011.

Article information: "Library project gets big donations, By Bob Schwarz, The Charleston Gazette, June 8, 2007"

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