By Madeline Hughes
After 20 years, the well-used Charlotte Library has outgrown its space and plans are under way for a possible expansion.
The library is “bursting at the seams with programming and collections,” Margaret Woodruff, library director, said.
Completed in 1998, the library was built with $350,000 raised by The Friends of the Charlotte Library.
“We knew at the time it was probably too small,” said Nan Mason, library trustee and one of the original fundraisers of the library project. “The main thing is to not mess up what we have, but to expand it.”
The talk of expansion comes at a time where the library is gaining popularity. Over the past five years there has been a 91 percent increase in library program attendance, Woodruff said.
Currently programing takes place in the middle of the library, children’s and young adult books are mixed in with the adult sections because there is not enough space, Mason said. The plans are to possibly expand the sections and have an actual room for programming.
As of October, Woodruff said 2,764 Charlotte residents have library cards. That’s approximately 73 percent of the town’s population.
With the active use of the library “we have definitely run out of room,” Mason said.
The library today is owned by the town of Charlotte. Mason said she and her fellow trustees want to make sure any expansion happens in the “correct way.”
The first step is under way now with feasibility study to ask questions of what the expansion could look like, would the community use the space, and who would potentially pay for the expansion?
The Friends of the Charlotte Library has hired an architect to draw up plans for the library. Mason said the working estimate is that an expansion to add 2,000 square feet to the existing 2,400 square feet would cost just over $1 million.
CPG Enterprises, Inc., is the firm conducting the feasibility study with representatives talking with Charlotte residents about the plans and asking what they would use the library for.
The feasibility study is expected within the next month, at which point members of the library expansion committee and Friends of the Charlotte Library will discuss the next steps.