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Waccamaw libary: New branch passes first goal in fund drive

By Jackie R. Broach
Coastal Observer

A group raising money for a new Waccamaw Library reached a milestone this week when it hit the $100,000 mark, but their work is far from over and their deadline is approaching faster than James Patterson can churn out a bestseller.

The group needs commitments for another $900,000 by the end of the year if it’s going to meet its goal and build the kind of library area bibliophiles have been dreaming of.

“I’m optimistic,” said Dwight McInvaill, Georgetown County library director. “I think the community will come through. County Council has been so very generous to fund this at a good level of support so we can have a 17,000-square-foot library.”

That’s just a little smaller than the current Georgetown library, he adds, and he believes Waccamaw Neck residents want something more — “a library equal to the size of their population, with an auditorium, a beautiful heritage room to underscore the important history of the Waccamaw Neck,” and, of course, an adequate number of books and computers.

Hopes are that $250,000 will come from a National Endowment for the Humanities grant the library has applied for. They won’t find out if they received the grant until this winter, but to receive the full amount they would have to be able to match it with $750,000.

The fundraising committee is making contact with other potential major donors now, McInvaill said. Donors can spread their contributions over three years.

With $3.2 million in county funds committed for the library, the facility is scheduled to open in 2014. The $1 million that fundraisers hope to scrape together would allow for the addition of more than 4,200 square feet for an auditorium and catering kitchen; a Heritage Center and Gallery for local archives, cultural activities and exhibits; computers and supplementary technology; and double the number of books in children’s, young adult and adult collections, said Kim Fox, campaign coordinator.

Of the $108,000 already raised, $37,500 is from anonymous local donors, including one contribution of $25,000.

The Friends of the Waccamaw Library contributed $20,000. In thanks for their support, the volunteer center will be named in the group’s honor. It will serve as a place for the group to make contact with community members as they enter the library, to recruit volunteers and have its year-round book sale, Fox said.

Donations were also made by every member of the Challenge to Build campaign’s leadership.

The county plans to solicit bids for a general contractor for the library project in June, with an award taking place in July, according to McInvaill. Construction should start soon after with a grand opening taking place in December 2014.

“To adhere to this tight schedule in the best possible manner, it is so very important that potential major donors respond now to the fundraising committee’s appeal for pledges,” McInvaill said.

More information about the library project, including an artist’s rendering of the planned facility, are available online.

To make a donation, contact Fox at (843) 979-0561 or TLCWaccamaw@gmail.com.

Checks made payable to the Friends of the Waccamaw Library, designated for the new library, can also be mailed to PO Box 4087, Pawleys Island, SC 29585.

Donations are tax deductible.

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