Why do we need a renovation and expansion of the library?
The Marianna Black Library facility opened in 1970 when a growing demand for library services made it necessary to have more room for books and magazines. Now, more than 50 years later, in response to increased demands from the public, services have expanded to include access to all kinds of information in print and digital format. And it’s not just information (print or otherwise) that drives the need for more space that is designed for people to create, collaborate, and learn.
With a population growth of 80% since 1970*, there is a demand for more Library space for services, especially for youth, technology and meeting spaces. The ‘computer age’ has seen an explosion in the number of citizens who wish to research and read in a safe public space.
What will the renovation and expansion cost?
Originally the Board had considered a new location and new facility with estimates of $8 million plus. The Board and Staff wisely re-worked the project scope to become a renovation of the existing 9,550 sq. foot facility. The updated facility will have 16,450 sq. ft., and will cost an estimated $5.1 million. That total includes $3.7 million for construction, $222,000 for architect & engineering fees; plus $750,000 for furnishings, furniture and equipment (FF&E); and $370,000 as a contingency. Other expenses include $73,000 for marketing, project management and administration.
Where will the money come from?
Individuals, civic groups, bequests; business and foundation gifts/grants; and government entities at the local, state and federal level will have the opportunity to contribute.
What is the anticipated timeline for completion of the project?
Project construction is scheduled to begin in March 2023 with excavation and retaining wall construction, followed later in the year by further exterior site work and expansion on the south and east sides. In early 2024, the interior should be renovated. In the second half of 2024 the new entrance / community room is anticipated to be constructed, finishing the project.
Will the expansion mean more people will use the library?
Yes, over the past 15 years, the Fontana Regional Library System (of which Marianna Black Library is a member) has built new libraries in Franklin and Sylva and renovated the libraries in Cashiers and Highlands. These new and renovated facilities have attracted more people for increased services and enhanced programming. Swain County can confidently expect similar results when the renovated and expanded library opens in Bryson City.
How will accessibility in the current library and the expansion be improved in the project?
The proposed library site is designed to meet the requirements for ADA accessibility and will provide accessible parking with accessible routes to entrances for patrons and employees. The new proposed building interior is also designed for complete ADA accessibility throughout. The circulation desk, interior corridors and circulation routes, door approaches, plumbing fixtures, and all required areas are to be accessible.
Will the Library need a larger operating budget with the expansion & renovation?
Of course. Expanded and improved Library services will mean increased staffing levels and expenditures for collections, resources and supplies. Swain County library costs are still way below the costs of other neighboring counties.
Why should I support the expansion and renovation project?
For Swain County families and businesses to have the kind of community that inspires life-time learning, our community and County needs – and deserves – a larger, more modern facility, with updated equipment and greater capabilities, to serve community members and visitors alike. With increased space and the group meeting rooms, we will finally have the capability for simultaneous programming.
How can I help to support the library project?
We encourage you to first come take a tour and see what is planned. You are always welcome to contribute to the Marianna Black Library Fund in your own name, as a family, in honor of a loved one, or for your company. Contributions are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law, and you will receive a written acknowledgment for your records. IRA Charitable Rollovers, gifts of stock, and in-kind giving of material resources and/or reduced product rates are also options for giving. In addition, there will be unique naming opportunities for many spaces. Please tell your friends about these exciting opportunities and ask them to help, too. To schedule your tour, please call or email Jeff Delfield, Swain County Librarian, at 828-488-3030, ext. 128 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
* US Decennnial Census, 1970 & 2020.