The new library on Rivers Avenue in North Charleston is slated to be completed in late 2022 | Image courtesy Charleston County Public Library

North Charleston residents will get their new-and-improved library by the end of 2022, according to plans unveiled by Charleston County Public Library officials last week.

New plans and renderings of the new library branch were discussed during an online public meeting March 17. 

The historic Cooper River branch at 3503 Rivers Ave. is the last in line for improvements set out in a 2014 countywide referendum. New branches have already been constructed in Mount Pleasant, James Island, Hollywood and West Ashley.

The current Cooper River Branch, in foreground, will be incorporated into the new North Charleston branch. (View on Rivers Avenue looking north.) | Image courtesy CCPL
The new branch will sit next to a new county services hub (in background) | Image courtesy CCPL

The new branch will be dramatically larger than the current Cooper River library, totaling 20,000 square feet and incorporating the current 5,000-square-foot branch originally opened in 1948.

The size is similar to the billed square-footage of the new James Island and Bees Ferry libraries, and about half the size of the new Wando Mount Pleasant branch.

New additions will include community meeting rooms, classrooms and a story-time area. Separate adult, young adult and children’s reading rooms will flank both sides of the building.

During construction of the new branch, the library will relocate into temporary space near the current Department of Social Services offices at the corner of Rivers Avenue and Cherokee Street. The branch is expected to move into that space by early May ahead of construction.

The library is one of three in North Charleston, though the Otranto Road branch is currently closed for renovations.

Image courtesy CCPL

Originally slated as the final library project from the 2014 referendum, the new North Charleston branch was delayed further after the county’s bungled exit from the old naval hospital across the street was lumped in with planned county development nearby. Steel beam construction is already underway on that project, slated to be a new county services and transit hub.

County council voted in 2017 to rename the library for North Charleston’s long-serving mayor. The new Keith Summey branch is slated to open in “late 2022,” officials say — a full eight years after voters originally committed the public funds for construction.