In 2007 a Space Utilization Study was commissioned by the county. One of the recommendations from the study was a larger, permanent library, owned by the county, in the St. Stephen area. The library there had, since its inception, been housed in leased buildings. County Council created a capital projects list in 2008 and a new library for St. Stephen was included. The funding for the new library consisted of a $500,000 Community Development Block Grant, approved in December 2012, and a measure passed by County Council for the rest of th
e project, including a new Magistrate’s Court to share the building.
The town of St. Stephen offered the empty and historic St. Stephen School, built in 1928, as a site for the new library and magistrate’s court in 2012. SGA Architect, Luda Sobchuk, designed the library and Lauren Williams of Herald Office Products selected the interior furnishings. The bid for the renovation was issued in 2013 and Allied Contracting Services from Summerville submitted the lowest bid. The project took much longer than anticipated to complete because of renovation challenges and decisions that involved the input of the Department of Commerce. The contractor is due to be out of the building soon.
The Library officially opened September 8, 2015 with the grand opening celebration just a few weeks to follow this past Sunday. Speakers for the ceremony included Library Director Donna Worden, Representative Joseph H Jefferson, Jr. of the 102 District, Deputy County Supervisor Tim Callanan, County Councilman Caldwell Pinckney Jr., and chair of the library board of trustees Patricia H. Richards. A generous donation from local employer, Albany International, assisted with the cost of the event. Refreshments were provided by The Corner Café and Bakery of Moncks Corner, IGA Grocery of St. Stephen, and the Friends of the Berkeley County Library. Music was generously provided by DeeDee Cumbie on behave of The Lowcountry Bluegrass Academy. Volunteers from Timberland High School’s ROTC and National Honor Society helped set up and clean up the event.
More than 250 attended the celebration and toured the new space including: a community meeting room with a kitchen area and seating for 45, a conference room with seating for 6 and a private study room to accommodate 6 individuals, a children’s area with a reading corner and 6 computers, a separate room for teens with 4 computes and study tables, 10 public computers and 5 laptops for adult use, and an informational desk for reference assistance.
The new library will also feature new programs such as family movie matinees, a new weekly story time, and technology workshops. For more information about the new library or for a schedule of events, please visit berkeleylibrarysc.org.