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Move The Public Library? Should We Even Consider This?

On Wednesdays City Council members tackled many problems facing our community. But the one that seemed to stick out most was the cost and upkeep of the library. Librarian Lori Cannady went to bat for her employees earlier in the year to get them a much deserved pay raise. This raise was met with a few offhand remarks from council members on the cost of the library versus what it does for the community. The library seemed to come in the crosshairs of Council Person Don Hand again as Lori gave an update on the cost and upkeep on items that need to be replaced. On the list are the boiler system, the aging windows, and the failing lift.

The boiler has had a lot of substantial work done on it over the last few months and has come to the point where it just needs to be replaced. It shuts down and leaks. The replacement of the boiler system is $28,000. Lori is working on asking for a third of the money from United Way, Friends of The Library have agreed to pay a third and she is asking for the City of Dillon to pay for the other third this allows her to approach United Way letting them know 2/3rds of the cost has been paid for. She is also looking into grants and has applied for different ones.

Up next was the handicap lift. It is old and out of ADA compliance due to the age of the lift they are no longer able to get parts for it and just need to replace it completely. To replace the lift the quote is $78,500. This does not include if they run into complications when removing the old lift and installing the new one. These complications could require a contractor to remove the door as well as an electrician to raise the cost.

Third on the list, the windows for the library, the library is a Carnegie Building that was built over 120 years ago. The windows in the library are the original windows. The trim is the original wood and is rotting away causing ice to form on the inside of the building. To have the 33 windows replaced since they are custom the cost is $224,000 for the entire building.

With all three repairs this puts the total bill for the library at $330,500 for a city that is already struggling to find funds this comes as a steep price tag. Council person Don Hand suggested for that price the city could find a better building and move the library into it. Lori explained to him the significant value the library building holds in this community and how some people have stated they would never want to see it moved to a different building. The library is on the National Historic Register, and this makes it so they have to follow certain protocols when fixing the building, remodels, etc. That includes the windows and keeping them as close to the original as possible.

With the high price of real estate in Dillon would they be able to move the library to a different building? Would we even be able to get into another building for under a million by the time you either built or remodeled a different building? The city library has adorned many postcards from the past and is a sight that sets our downtown apart. It was an idea that became a building thanks to Andrew Carnegie and his donation to build it. There are only a few of these buildings throughout the United States.

People can go to the library to check out a book, a movie, do research, you can check out tablets, hotspots and I pads. For many this building helps them navigate everyday life by providing access to modern day items they may not be able to afford. All one needs to do is ask for a library card.

Editor’s note: Yes, this article is both News and it is a view from the editor but ask yourself Dillon can we really lose this building? You can see the whole City Council meeting for yourself on our YouTube page Here or search SWMTNews.

Dillon Public Library

Windows at the Dillon Public Library

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