Libraries in rural areas across the country struggling to keep their doors open during the recession are getting a much needed boost with an infusion of stimulus dollars. In one of the state’s smallest counties, Bamberg County, the tiny town of Denmark is receiving a $377,000 grant that will be used to construct a new 2,900 square foot library. Library director Lace Elrod says the current library is housed in the town’s Brooker Center where the quarters can best be described as cramped.
The area where we are located now is just a thousand square feet. The new library will be almost three times that size. In the present facility we don’t have a meeting room, we don’t have staff or public restroom in the library area. We will have those amenities in the new library.
Denmark has a population of around 3,000.
Elrod says the new library will not only be more spacious, but it will provide more access to computers for citizens, including youngsters.
We should have seven to eight public computers for adults and four to five children’s computers. There will also be a meeting room for adults and an area where children can sit down on pallets.
Elrod says when the new library is completed she hopes that the hours of operation will also be expanded to better serve citizens. Currently the library is opened only 17 hours a week.
Ground breaking for the new library was held in March and it is hoped that the new building will be completed sometime next spring. Elrod says the library now shares space in the Brooker Center with other town offices including the police department, which she says will be happy to see the library get a new home.
When we move out of the Brooker Center the added space will be used by the police department because right now they are very cramped in the back of the building.
Also benefitting from the grants program in the Midlands area is the town of Eastover, located in rural Richland County, which will receive a $500,000 grant to expand its library.