Anticipating the eventual need for a larger library in the Sherrills Ford/Terrell area, Catawba County commissioners, with the support of county leadership, began several years ago to set money aside for a new building.
According to Catawba County Library director Suzanne White, “There has been a groundswell of community support for a substantially larger library facility for a number of years.”
The long-range planning will come to fruition Sept. 29 with the 4 p.m. dedication of a 10,000-square-foot library that will replace the existing branch, a mile away. The new branch, on Sherrills Ford Road, just north of N.C. 150, will serve almost 30,000 residents of Catawba County living within a 10-mile radius.
The existing library, which will close one week before the new one opens, was the first county branch library outside of Newton. It began as a small pod or module 35 years ago and opened in its current location, with 3,000-square-feet of space, a decade later.
Constructed and furnished at a cost of just more than $3 million, the new building is LEED Silver-certified by the Natural Resources Defense Council. This means, according to the NRDC website, that it is a “green” building “constructed to reduce negative environmental impacts while improving occupants’ health and well-being.”
The interior was designed to be flexible space, enabling a reconfiguration of shelving to better suit future needs.
Land for the project was acquired with no cost to the county, according to White.
She points out that prior to planning and construction, community input was solicited to determine what residents needed and wanted in a new library.
Internet accessibility and computer use will play a prominent role. The adult computer area will have six desktop computer stations; other computer stations will be scattered throughout the library, with iPads available for public use.
“Computer use is a large part of what we do,” said White. “Besides offering access to the computers, we provide assistance in using the technology. There will also be 16 laptop-enabled stations in the community meeting room for teaching group classes and other activities.”
Additional services will include download-able audio books, e-books, movies and music. The Catawba County Library brochure says the availability of computer workshops, and patrons will be able to get one-on-one help with job seeking, resume building, new technologies and other skills.
In addition to a dedicated teen space, there is a large, airy children’s area; the community meeting space, which can accommodate 80 people, has a well-equipped kitchen. Conference space will be available for smaller groups, as well.
Library days and hours will be expanded with the inauguration of the new facility, which will be open Monday through Saturday and two evenings a week.
The new LED sign in front of the building was made possible largely through the efforts of the Sherrills Ford Friends of the Library. Residents are welcome to join the group, which is active in supporting the library and its many services to the community.