Library board members looking forward to projected May grand opening of downtown facility

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Erika Connelly, Library Director of Kanawha County Public Library System admitted to 580-WCHS that when library board members went on a tour a few weeks ago of a near complete downtown library after the ongoing renovation, there were teary eyes.

Board members and library officials and patrons are counting down the weeks until the downtown facility will open following a $32 million project that includes renovations and added space. Connelly said it’s looking like the facility will open the first week of May.

Erika Connelly

“It was a lot of misty eyes. It was spectacular to see people with their perception of what the library was to this vision and reality of what it now is,” Connelly told 580-WCHS of the recent tour.

Board members heard an update to the construction Monday during its monthly meeting. Connelly said there has been a delay in the construction finish due to circumstances out of control, which was previously set for April.

“Due to some supply chain issues and getting utilities hooked up, we are about a month behind our construction process,” she said.

Connelly said the library has been busy in recent weeks installing shelving and other projects on the side. She credited Paramount Builders, the contractors, for being flexible.

Connelly added that books will go into the library next week. The library board hired a consultant to help with the move of the thousands of books that were taken out of the facility prior to renovations.

“Some of these books are going on floors that are different from where they came from. So it’s a carefully crafted move-in of getting the right pallet to the right floor to the right shelf,” she said.

The library plans to have a grand opening celebration on May 2 that kicks off its 100 Day Celebration.

“When we open and have our grand opening, we play to celebrate our 100 days celebration. When we open, that’s day one of our 100 day celebration. We will have special program and special events,” Connelly said.