South Charleston Public Library – History

The South Charleston Public Library originated in 1943 with a few donated books, a group of interested persons and limited space in the upstairs of the South Charleston Recreation Building. In 1963, a Library Advisory Board was formed. At this time, funds were solicited from the City of South Charleston and other interested individuals. From these funds came the contemporary brick building designed by local architect Howard G. Johe. This original 10,000 square feet building contained space for adult and children’s literature, a meeting room to hold 50 persons and a small gallery area.

On January 5, 1967, an ordinance and by-laws were adopted by a Board of Directors appointed by the City Council of South Charleston to maintain the Library which opened May 26, 1969. A formal dedication was held June 27, 1969. In April of 1977, construction began on a new 6,000 square foot addition with a larger meeting room, larger gallery, larger reading area, and staff lounge. The addition was formally dedicated on February 11, 1979. In 2003, the library began yet another remodel and expansion project. After nine months of renovation, the library reopened on January 13, 2004. The total square footage was close to 20,000 and project totaled $1.4 million. The auditorium was renamed to honor Dow Chemical’s $500,000 renovation contribution.

The library is open six days a week including three evenings, for a total of 57 hours a week (schedule may vary on holidays and special events). It is a municipal library, governed by the Mayor and City Council through the City Manager.

The Board of Directors

The Mayor appoints a five member Library Board and two City Council Liaison/Ex-Officio officers who meet monthly to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the library, recommend policies, and plan long-term goals.

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Mission Statement

The South Charleston Public Library connects people, information, and ideas to promote and support lifelong learning, community involvement, and professional development by providing reliable information resources, a well-rounded book collection, and other materials and programs that foster a literate, informed, and involved community.

Five Year Plan

Every library has a long range plan guiding them for future growth. In 2014, the South Charleston Public Library brought various members of the community and staff together to see where their next five years were going. They put together a comprehensive plan for the future.

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