The Union County Library recently hosted three meetings to gain community involvement in the new Union County Southwest Regional Library. This new library will expand the library services located in Southwest Union County and will replace the current Waxhaw Library. Meetings were held on Tuesday, December 4 at 6:00 pm at Wesley Chapel Town Hall, on Wednesday, December 5 at 9:00 am at Weddington Town Hall, and on Wednesday, December 5 at 12:00 pm at the Waxhaw Police Department Community Room. The Union County Library is working with Little Diversified Architectural Consulting and with brightspot strategy to create a concept and plan for the new location.
Nina Meadows, Union County Library Director, stated, “We are very excited that we are in the beginning stages of planning and are ready to get it started and offer a library that will serve the area well, since the current library is grossly inadequate. We have had three total meetings and will have an online survey so those that were not able to attend can still voice their opinion.” Lindsey Shuford, Union County Assistance Library Director, said, “It’s great to see so many people passionate and excited about the library. We are dedicated to making this a reflection of the community. All this feedback is really invaluable as we go into the planning stages.“
The meeting in Waxhaw saw over 100 people show up to express their views about how the library can best support the community. Due to the size of the group, smaller break out groups were made with each group speaking directly to someone from the architectural firm, Little Diversified Architectural Consulting, and the design firm, brightspot strategy. Each group was asked: “How would you describe your ideal community?” and “What should the library offer to best support your community?” For the first question, many answers were collected including: walkability; accessibility; inclusive; open minded; innovative; and smart and charming. It seemed like the majority of people who were participating kept coming back to the fact that they like the library being located in downtown Waxhaw and hope that a new location will have the same accessibility. For the second question, answers included many variations but focused on several high level ideas: kids, teens, and senior dedicated areas; technology; services, events, focus/quiet areas; education; and outdoor space. Many people took this opportunity to break down specifically what they are looking for within each of those topics. After the breakout groups had concluded, the meeting was called back to order and leadership answered community questions.
One of the most asked questions was about location. Meadows explained that the decision of the location would be made by the Union County Board of Commissioners based upon recommendations from the Library Board. Many people expressed their desire to see the new library be close to Waxhaw although it does need to serve the entire Southwest Union County. The site selection is in process and should be made around March of 2019. They are currently looking to buy property unless property is donated for this specific purpose. They are looking at sites that are at least 7 acres and best serve the county. Other questions were asked including about the $10 million bond on the latest ballot. That money is earmarked for the new library but doesn’t have an exact breakdown yet. Meadows said, “We are working to make this process as transparent as possible. This will be a community library and we are looking beyond right now to provide flexible, sustainable and growable plans.” She also mentioned that Library Board Meetings are open to the public and they meet the 3rd Tuesday each month at 5:30 pm on a rotating meeting location.
You can participate in the planning process by visiting: ttps://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdMNx-hXAc6dusfhGHJwLsunroX9Ww4LYvvZM8vgHI2AHfdYw/viewform