WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Hundreds of Winston-Salemites gathered outside the new Forsyth County Central Library waiting for its much anticipated re-opening.
The former 90,000 square feet Central Library had been closed since October 2014, after a 2010 bond referendum to vote on the renovation project.
“Out of a $40 million bond issue, $28 million was designated for the Central Library project,” said Deputy County Manager, Damon Sanders-Pratt.
The ribbon cutting ceremony by Forsyth County Commissioners included the unveiling of a sculpture of an open book with the word 'library' in different languages entitled “Timeless Purpose,” by artist Deedee Morrison, which stands outside the library.
The new library has over 106,000 square feet of space available to patrons with over 250,000 books, magazines, movies, and other media.
“When you come inside, you actually don’t recognize this building from the former building,” Sanders-Pratts notes. “This is totally differently configured.”
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According to Sanders-Pratt, the Central Library is a state repository and features a North Carolina room collection of documents and information about the state.
90 public Internet computers are available to patrons through a sign-up system to allow turns for users. Another 20 computers are part of the computer training lab.
A new, larger 289 seat auditorium features an adjacent server to allow for cooking demonstrations. Both the auditorium and server will be available for use after regular library hours.
Another of the new features in the library includes a café.
“We worked with a local vendor and he’s arranged an espresso machine and other products,” Sanders-Pratt said of the on-site café.
Among other features, a makerspace with a 3D printer and a sewing machine; an audio production room; a videogame lounge designated for teens; meeting rooms; and an open roof terrace facing Fifth Street located on the third floor.
“We really tried to be responsive to what people said that they wanted,” Sanders-Pratt says.
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