By Yolanda McCormick,
A Latta Library community meeting will be held on Monday, July 29, 2019, at 5:00 p.m. at the Latta Library, 101 North Marion Street, Latta.
The question to be addressed is: Should we renovate the library or build a new library in another location?
The Latta Library was built in 1914. It is a beautiful building serving the people of Dillon County for more than one hundred years.
Of the 18 Carnegie buildings built in South Carolina, the Latta Library is one of only four, still serving as a public library (Marion County Library, 1905, Honea Path (Branch of Anderson County Library, 1908, Union County Library, 1905, and Latta Library, (Branch of Dillon County Library, 1914).
As in many other South Carolina Counties, the demand for library services has changed, finding that their historic library was either too small, or the public need had changed so much that it left few options but to build a new library, – one better able to serve the needs of the community.
Latta Library is faced with making such a decision.
We all agree that Latta Library is a beautiful building. It’s granite steps and oversized windows make it one of the best looking buildings in Dillon County. Nonetheless, the problems with the building must be considered.
In the next few weeks the community will be given an opportunity to consider if the pros outweigh the cons, and when the options are reviewed the community may determine that it is indeed time for Latta to build a new modern library.
PROS for keeping the library where it is!
1. Latta Library is the oldest library in Dillon County.
2. Latta Library is a part of the history of Dillon County. Its current location is in the heart of Historic Latta.
3. Latta Library is listed on the State’s historic register.
4. Mr. Frank McMillan left money in a trust for Latta Library. His money is to be used to add a reading room onto the existing library or to build a new library.
5. Unless the county or the town develop a plan to use the building for another function, the historic Latta Library would become one more abandon building in the town.
6. The traffic on this end of town would disappear.
7. Three home/landowners around the existing library have agreed their land can be purchased for a reasonable price, No amounts were discussed.
8. It will break our hearts if the Latta Library is not kept up and used by the town in a public way.
PROS for moving and building a new library
1. Flooding: The Latta Library is located in the flood zone of the Town. Most storms result in some type of flooding inside this library. Even if the current library is renovated and expanded the flooding will continue. The only real solution to flooding is the move out of the flooding area.
2. Enough land for a building and parking lot can be purchased/donated from one owner instead of three. There are only three spaces for parking alongside the current building.
3. A Latta native has granted to Latta Library the money needed to build a new library.
4. No space for public meetings. No reading or study rooms.
5. Limited seating, no work tables, limited space for the book collection.
6. The different levels make the building impossible to monitor, leaving no supervision for the children’s area.
7.The stairs make Latta Library very dangerous for both older adults and preschool users.
8. The elevators are a constant problem making most of the library not accessible to physically challenged users. Accidents involving the stairs happen once or twice a week.
9. A safety issue is that the glass front doors offer no barrier. Dillon and Lake View both have vestibules. There is a gap in the front doors that let in air increases the heating and cooling bills.
10. The number of adult computers is limited because of space. Latta is limited to 8 adult computers, where Dillon has 20.