Durham County Main Library plans for spring opening

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Though the bulk of construction is expected to be completed at the Durham County Library next month, officials continue to plan for a spring opening.

"The community will be proud to call it their library," said Library Director Tammy Baggett-Best.

The renovations were approved as part of a $44.3 million bond referendum in 2016, and will allow for several technological upgrades and space reconfigurations.

"We will have extensive space for our North Carolina Collection which is really popular in the community. We will also have a sensory room. We will also have an incubator space that targets the entrepreneurial community. We will also have Maker labs, recording rooms, extensive meeting rooms for the public to use," Baggett-Best said.

Library officials said they believe those changes will lead to increased attendance.

"When we closed in 2016, we had over 432,000 people using Main Library alone," said Baggett-Best, who added that even without the facility available, more than 1.2 million people visited county libraries during the last fiscal year.

County officials point to numerous statistics to highlight the importance of the library, including that 27 percent of library users utilize the computer for job opportunities. That impact is amplified when accounting that 15 percent of Durham households do not have internet access.

"We are the great equalizer. We are welcoming to everyone that visits. We provide a wealth of information. It is a community hub," Baggett-Best.

Donors have also provided an additional $800,000 in funding for the library.

During the next several months, officials will work on hiring and training staff, moving equipment into place, and re-stocking shelves. At this time, there is not an exact opening date.
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