A revamped York County Library in downtown Rock Hill reopened last week, redesigned in hopes of better serving its patrons.
While the library was closed over the holidays, books were moved and computers were added in hopes of making it more convenient and accessible to the public.
The changes were driven by attempts to better use the tight space in the branch since a failed bond issue left library Director Colleen Carney without the hope of a new facility in the next few years.
"We outgrew our space," Carney said. "If we weren't getting a larger facility soon, we needed to look at how to best use the space."
It didn't cost much to make these changes because there wasn't any money in the budget to spend on putting up walls or new carpet, Carney said. The changes had to fit in the available space.
Here's a look at the highlights:
• The technology lab was moved to the second floor, increasing the space for new computers, Deputy Library Director Shasta Brewer said.
The lab now has 19 computers for extended use, and there are several others that can be used to quickly check e-mails or verify a fact, Carney said. "We're hoping the wait time for public lines will go down," she said. "At one time, computer wait times were averaging 80 to 90 minutes. We certainly haven't seen a plateau or decrease of computer use in the libraries."
• Some computers were replaced with grant money from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and others were purchased with S.C. Education Lottery money.
• By the end of the month, the lab also will have a large, flat-screen TV for classroom instruction, Carney said.
• Furniture was added to the young adult section, which was enlarged and moved upstairs. "Fun and comfortable furniture makes the space more welcoming for the age group," Carney said. "And it's placed in front of staff offices for good supervision."
• Larger-print books were moved downstairs to better serve their audience. They're now adjacent to books on CD and tape.
• Local history and genealogy books were moved out of a specific room in a larger area. Some more unique and original items will now have to be retrieved by a staff member because they're being safely stored for protection, Brewer said.
• The reference desk was sorted into localized help centers scattered throughout the library, Brewer said.
"Before, there was only one desk. So if you were in the back and had a question, you'd need to walk all the way to the front for help," she said.
• In addition to a steady demand for library computers, people continue to check items out of York County libraries at a driving rate. For the first time, the string of county libraries circulated more than 1 million items in a year, from July 2006 to June 2007, Carney said.