Dozens of families packed inside the Cane Bay Library on Wednesday, eager to get started on summer reading activities at the brand new facility.
The library is located adjacent to the Cane Bay Family YMCA, off Cane Bay Boulevard. The large crowd gathered at the site to celebrate the grand opening of Berkeley County Library System’s newest branch.
The 4,500-square-foot facility includes two study rooms, a shared study room and a community room, where regular programs will occur. Members will also find literatures for all ages — materials divided among Children, Young Adult, and Adult categories.
Leesa Aiken, South Carolina Library director, said Wednesday’s large turnout impressed greatly impressed her.
“This library is obviously going to be important to this community,” she said. “When I think about a library, I think about community — it’s a safe place for everybody in the community to go. Every single person is welcome at the library, and the library is for every single person.”
Aiken also described the new facility as “a really unique situation.”
“I just commend Berkeley County for all of the hard work that this (project) took,” she said.
The Cane Bay YMCA, which opened last month, signed a 20-year agreement with the Berkeley County Public Library System to operate the literary addition. The library is also the only one in the nation to collaborate with a YMCA, according to YMCA officials.
Johnny Cribb, Berkeley County supervisor, thanked various groups involved in the library’s opening. He acknowledged members of County Council, representatives from the Cane Bay community, developers, and residents.
“These facilities aren’t a gift by county government,” Cribb said. “It’s an allocation of tax funds provided by the taxpayers so we can provide services; it’s the taxpayers that pay for this, and we’re glad that you appreciate and support it.”
Gene Brunson, Berkeley County Library director, reflected on the two-year journey that led to the library’s opening. He thanked residents, county administration and library board members for their dedication and support.
“This is a different library in terms of location,” Brunson said. “Adjacent to the YMCA, it’s a partnership that will benefit not only the YMCA but also the Berkeley County Library System and the customers.”
The Berkeley County Library System has seven library branches and one bookmobile.