Significant support for the proposed 16 percent increase in sales tax has come from supporters of a bigger library for Waccamaw Neck than the 17,700 square foot/$3.5 million one already on the way; that new library will be about five times the size of the current Waccamaw Library.
Georgetown County currently has four libraries: Georgetown (main library), Andrews (new $1.5 million-plus), Carvers Bay (new $1.5 million-plus), and Waccamaw; the new Waccamaw Library ($3.5 million) plus the other three have/will have a value of at least $10 million. The question then becomes: How much should we invest in libraries? The sales tax commission says that we need to spend $11.31 million on new libraries to add to those above; that would bring the total library investment to over $21 million.
One Upstate county with a population of over 68,000 (8,000 larger than Georgetown) completed a new 43,900 square foot library in 2010 for $10 million. The library system there has two small satellite libraries, one of which is owned by a town and not the county, with the total investment or the system being just over $10 million. The main library serves the entire county and provides superior services.
I’m glad we have good libraries, and the desire to improve them. Since Ben Franklin started public libraries over 200 years ago, we’ve come a long way. But based on the facts that I have seen and heard, my opinion is that $11.31 million more for new libraries in Georgetown now is way too much.
The writer lives in Pawleys Island.