CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Kanawha County Public Library’s temporary Charleston location at the Charleston Town Center Mall is now open.
A ribbon was cut inside the mall on Tuesday morning at the library’s location on the second level near Talbots. Library leaders expect to use the space for nearly the next two years as construction continues on its downtown library location.
The $24 million renovations to the downtown Charleston library include an enlarged children’s floor, study rooms, meeting spaces, new technology, and a covered walkway attached to the Summers Street Parking Garage. Construction started in June and KCPL Director Erika Connelly said on Tuesday that the opening of the temporary location is the next step.
“It’s finally started and even though the work has started at the main library, that has been excited as well. It feels like the process is just moving along and 18 to 20 months from now, we will be in our new home,” she told 580-WCHS.
She called the location at the mall a ‘mini form’ of the full library. The facility has 25-30% of the collection of books on hand.
“We have a smaller children’s area, we have a smaller reference desk and reference section. We are still able to function as a full library but not to the 100 percent capacity that we normally do,” Connelly said.
Only eight patrons allowed in the library at one time due to COVID-19. Connelly said that the virus has forced the library to limit its programming for the time being.
She also said that COVID-19 played a role in making the move to the mall more difficult, logistically.
“Having a limited amount of staff that we could pull on hand due to workplace restrictions from the health department. We had a lot of dedicated staff that put in the time, above and beyond,” Connelly said.
Library hours are Monday thru Thursday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., closed on Sunday.
As for the future of the library in the mall past its temporary time, Connelly said all options are on the table.
“Remaining here with maybe a mini service, we have a lot of patrons that are excited about coming here. I think that is something we can certainly consider in the future.”