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Dream becomes reality: City unveils new library

  • Liz Bloom/Jasper County Sun Times - An older boy waits in line to check out his new books.
  • Liz Bloom/Jasper County Sun Times - The little girl sat down in the train themed children’s section to read some of the new books in the library.
  • Liz Bloom/Jasper County Sun Times - A little girl picks out books from the children’s section of the new library at the grand opening.
  • Liz Bloom/Jasper County Sun Times - Another child reads in the library on the morning of the grand opening. Many kids rotated between tables, computers, and the shelves grabbing books to read and bring home.

In 1977, the first Hardeeville Library opened on Martin Street, then seven years later the library moved to 37 Main Street. And as of April 8, the library has a new permanent home at 30 Main St.

Hardeeville opened its brand new, state-of-the-art library this past Saturday. With more than 6,000 new titles and 4,000 titles brought from the 1984 location, the new library has 10,000 books just waiting to be opened.

Kids, parents, adults, public figures and teens all filled the library during the grand opening. They listened as Hardeeville Mayor Harry Williams and County Council chairman Marty Sauls spoke about the future of the county and the potential for learning that the new library brings.

About 100 people fluctuated in and out of the new library, a hopeful sign of good engagement to come.

With Wi-Fi, books on tape, a 3-D printer, computers, books and sense of community, the Hardeeville Library will become a new centerpiece for the growing city.

“This modern library facility started as a dream 40 years ago and it is now becoming a reality, thanks to the persistent effort of the Friends Group, volunteers and concerned citizens, caring council members and mayors through those many years,” Williams said.

Starship Hardeeville, as Williams likes to joke, is a project to build a better life for all residents of the city. This dream consists of upgrading overlay districts, redoing the police station and court house, and finding ways to add affordable multi-family housing for all kinds of future residents.

This library is another step towards that goal, but also an opportunity for each person to gain a little more wisdom and knowledge.

“The building block of a great community is a library and, boy, we’ve got a great building here,” said City Manager Mike Czymbor.

After the ceremony and ribbon-cutting, people were able to walk through the library, check out books and mingle. Children flocked to the new children’s section — pulling books and playing on the new computers. Adults walked the shelves and periodicals section with looks of satisfaction and awe at the beauty, and opportunity of the new learning center.

The current library is just that — a learning center. It’s more than just shelves of books, computers and modern furniture. The library is intended to challenge citizens to be students and mold themselves into the best versions they can be.

“Education is the backbone of our community and access is key,” Sauls said. “There’s so many ­underprivileged people in our community who do not have access. This is a collaborative effort between many individuals, private companies, public bodies that have really come together to something nothing short of amazing.”

The new 6,200-square-foot library is a stark contrast to the mobile library that traveled through the community 50 years prior.

The cost for building the new library totaled $1,897,800, of which $623,600 was funded through donations and grants.

“This was financed by the collaborative efforts of which Hardeeville provided over $1 million. We also had $500,000 community development block grant thanks to the very fine efforts of our former councilwoman, Sherry Caroll. And we also received $215,000 from Jasper County,” Williams said at an event April 6.

The city hopes the new library leads to further academic success and growth of the young adults. To help those efforts, the new library features a specialized young adult section with books and titles, and computers just for their use.

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