CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — The main Kanawha County Public Library in Charleston is undergoing some massive renovations. But as the public waits for the doors to open, the wait is over at Riverside Library.
“We’ve had numerous phone calls of people asking, “are you open?” they hear a human being instead of an answering machine and the immediate response is, ‘oh my god you’re open!” said regional branch manager Anthony DeMinico.
Members of the Riverside community are excited their library is back open to the public, saying libraries are more than just a place to store books. “They’re just such an important resource for the community and they’re also a great hub for the community,” said Jennifer Riser, who signed up for a library card today.
In recent months, many places have shut their doors during the pandemic, but libraries have become a place to connect. “It can be a great resource for parents to plug their kids in to learning even when they’re not in the physical schools,” added Riser.
In addition to the Riverside library opening, the main Kanawha County Public Library is expected to be finished in December. DeMinico says the main branch will be a big upgrade from what they previously had. “The interior is being fully renovated, I know there’s a lot of wiring and much-needed upgrades to bring a library up to date for the 21st century.”
DeMinico says he hopes the renovations help change the narrative of how people in their communities view libraries, as more than just a quiet place to read books. “Go to your local library, we have more than just books, we’re more than just people hiding away and people shushing people. It’s a whole new century and the more you realize that there is more services at the library the more you’ll realize just how much of a role we play in the community.”
The Kanawha County Public Library and its branches serve more than 92,000 cardholders and approximately 750,000 library items circulate every year.