In 2022, many expect to see scores of libraries shuttering due to the rise of the internet and online books, but in the city of Braselton, officials are investing in a significant expansion to more than double their existing facility.
"It's just going to enhance what we already have," said City Manager Jennifer Scott. "The current library is about 5,000 square feet, and the expansion is over 8,000."
The new building, which will be connected to the current facility, is set to be completed by the first of next year. The expansion is possible thanks to more than $1.7 million from the state legislature.
According to Scott, the city put in the request for funds back in 2019, and the process for approval typically takes several years.
"Last year, when it came up, quite a few of the libraries that were ahead of us dropped out," Scott told AccessWDUN. "Either they hadn't acquired their property, or they didn't have the [matching funds] anymore."
The rising cost of construction goods means that the city has had to think of new ways to fund the special additions to the new facility, and that's how they came up with sponsorships.
"It would be great if we could get about $250,000 more, but we'll take everything that anyone wants to sponsor…we have enough money to build the library; what we're hoping is to be able to enhance it with amenities," Scott explained.
With eight levels of sponsorship opportunities, the community can contribute anywhere from $500 to $500,000.
The constantly evolving technology means that there's always a need for new items in a library beyond their most popular commodity––books.
"Technology changes the way people use that library, and we want to change with what our community needs," Scott said.
More from the City of Braselton:
"The demand for library services has grown along with the Town of Braselton, which has tripled in size since the library on Brassie Lane was built in 2006. The Braselton Library expansion will include a two-story, 8,166 square foot addition to allow for a children's wing, study rooms, and more circulation materials and programming. A children's garden with story time amphitheater and an environmental educational pier are also planned."