When the library bond bill was readied for Charleston County voters last November, the site for a new library on James Island was yet to be determined. Based on the most recent discussions, the location still needs more work.
At present, county officials are considering two sites: a former school property on Grimball Road and a shopping center off Folly Road.
But there appears to be more sentiment to keep the library at its present location on Camp Road, near James Island Town Hall. The existing site certainly deserves consideration, particularly since James Island Town Council endorsed keeping it there last year.
But there may be other possibilities as well. When it meets today, Charleston County Council should support Councilman Joe Qualey’s recommendation to open up the process to the public before making a decision. Mr. Qualey would have the county hold forums on James Island to discuss the issue.
Residents in neighborhoods by the proposed Grimball Road site have complained about building a new library there.
There is no question that the current library isn’t adequate to the needs of James Island. But library officials and County Council should consider whether it can be enlarged and renovated, assuming that town council’s vote reflects the broader viewpoint of island residents.
James Island missed out on a new library in the previous round of major library improvements, and the need for a library that fully serves residents is apparent. The island should have a library at a central location – and at a site that has the support of residents. Mr. Qualey’s plan should give library officials a better idea where to proceed.