Wall breaking for Blythewood library celebrates ‘heartbeat’ of community
Community members and Richland Library staff gathered Friday at the Blythewood library branch to break down walls to build a new space that reflects the history and culture of the small town.
“This library is the heartbeat of this city,” said Richland County Councilwoman Joyce Dickerson during the ceremonial wall breaking.
The Blythewood location is being renovated to become a 4,000-square-foot building featuring a teen space, group study room and outdoor programming area. The new library will include an additional 2,500 square feet to accommodate the activity spaces.
The total cost of construction is $2 million, which will be paid for by the 2013 library bond referendum.
Blythewood Town Council members said the new library reflects growth in the community and the library system’s ability to offer resources needed by residents.
“It’s so nice to be able to have a facility where we have young people who don’t have computers, don’t have books can come here and have things they don’t have at home,” said Councilman Tom Utroska.
The Nord Family Foundation, a philanthropic organization based out of Ohio, is funding the construction of a learning center at the Blythewood branch with a $100,000 donation. Members of the Nord family live in Blythewood and wanted to provide an educational space for the community, said Tina Gills, Development Manager.
Four other library branches — Sandhills, St. Andrews, North Main and Northeast — also will be outfitted with learning centers funded by donations from the Columbia community.
The Blythewood library has not been renovated since it was opened in 1992, according to Richland Library Executive Director Melanie Huggins. She said the renovations will support the high demand for the library’s resources.
“It’s well overdue for a makeover,” she said.
The Blythewood library will be completed and reopened in 2017. A temporary cottage next to the construction site is open for residents to access Richland Library’s resources. The current building is being used for library patrons to pick up books on hold during construction.