CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – The main branch of the Kanawha County Public Library is set to reopen in a matter of months.
“It is a good sign for us to see the books on the shelves,” said Erika Connelly, Library Director of the Kanawha County Public Library System. “It feels like the construction project is coming to an end.”
Crews still have some painting to do and some furniture to finish putting together. They also have to install the elevators. But the newly renovated main branch of the Kanawha County Public Library in downtown Charleston is shaping up.
One of the biggest challenges still in progress is getting all of the books moved back. Since the renovation started they’ve been offering a smaller collection at the Charleston Town Center.
“It was a labor of love to carefully pack those up,” Connelly said of the books. “Eight percent of our collection went to storage. So over the year and a half that we’ve been gone we have to merge our existing collection at the mall with what is coming back out of storage.”
The new space is more open with large windows letting light through and making more of the scenery from the city visible from inside. It is also more modern. The update will include a cafe and an Idea Lab. One of the biggest eye catching features of the library makeover is a walkway that connects the library to the parkng garage. They’ve also gone from having two meeting spaces in the previous library to now having twenty. The renovation was privately funded with $32-million raised over the past 25 years.
“It is starting to feel like we are almost on our way back home,” Connelly said.