Heard it Here

Wake Forest Students Cover Downtown Winston-Salem

Central Library Closing Causes Problems for Patrons

On most days, one will find Cody Mcneill, 25, scouring through the movie section of the Central Library in Winston-Salem, N.C. On average, Mcneill spends between one and three hours a day there, but with the closing of the library approaching, he does not know what he will do.

On Oct. 15, the Central Library will close for two-and-a-half years in order to undergo renovations. The closing of this branch has caught many patrons by surprise and will cause disruption for those who visit the library frequently.

In 2010, taxpayers voted on a bond referendum for a new Central Library. While the initial $40 million referendum called for a new location of the library, the board decided to instead approve a $28 million project that will renovate the current one.

This library is the only branch that is centrally located downtown and when it closes, some people are worried about the amount of time it will take to get to another branch.

“I think [the closing] is horrible because … I depend on walking here and now I am having to walk a mile or more to the next closest one,” Mcneill said.

There are 10 libraries in Forsyth County including the Central Library. The next closest branch is the Malloy/Jordan East Winston Heritage Center, which is smaller and does not have as many collections.

“Their variety of novels and movies are really slim compared to this place,” Mcneill said.

Mcneill is not the only person frustrated with the closing of the library. The Central Library is used by a large majority of the homeless population and when it closes, some men and women do not know what they will do.

One homeless man, Bill Bloxham, has been coming to the Central Library for over two years now and spends between four and eight hours of his day there. Bloxham said he lives on the streets and walks roughly 10 minutes every day to get to the library.

Bill Bloxham

Bill Bloxham has been using the Central Library for over two years and might relocate where he lives because of the closing.

However, with the closing, Bloxham said he might have to relocate where he sleeps to be closer to another branch and stay warm in the coming months. The library provides Bloxham with basic amenities such as a bathroom and water fountain.

“Anyone in the county can come here, use the bathroom and get a drink of water,” Bloxham said. “When the weather is really cold, you can come here and warm up.”

The Central Library is equipped with over 40 computers as well as a children’s room. Most of the other branches do not have the same amount of resources as the Central Library, so the closing will create an inconvenience for people that use these resources.

Even though patrons are upset about the closing, librarians are optimistic about the new renovations. After the renovations are complete, the facility will meet 21st century standards.

“I am happy that we are going to have a newer facility and I think it will be all worth it in the end,” Zach Leonard, a librarian, said.

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