By Aaliyah Outler, South Florence HS (Florence, South Carolina)
In a blink of an eye, life changes. Buildings crumble, and new ones replace them, social norms buried in the sawdust of what was once the past. What was once outdated becomes outplayed, and history alters in the hands of new generations. Richland Library embraced this change, welcoming the idea of new youth, new programs, new foundations to put in place. There’s a negativity that surrounds change, appeasing millennials, or falling away from tradition. Today, libraries have become more open to younger generations than they have ever been before.
Newcomers are welcomed with various pieces of local art as soon as they enter the library. Just from a first impression, one can tell this will not be an average library visit. The idea of the place being for the people is something that the residents of Columbia took to heart. “If a library is for the community, can it not also be by the community?” said Matthew Gunby. 
Trees became a prominent idol of the decor, from the ones shading the building, to the green giant right in the lobby. Just the decorations radiated a stronger feeling of growth and renewal.
The building was created in an up-to-date style with, at first glance, a simple appearance. But the little details inside is truly what makes the modernistic place stand out. There are rooms dedicated to assisting anyone’s type of hobbies. The purpose of the reconstruction wasn’t to upset or little-mind the community.
“You have to make a decision as a leader whether to have confidence in the vision, and confidence in the community,” Richland Director Melanie Huggins said.
Art and culture had been a prominent part of Columbia’s rich personality, and the team behind the library were prepared to execute that. From social media to the newest trends, it’s not always easy to capture a teenager’s eye. Summer programs like drop-ins and celebrity visits were engaging to the youth and left a sense of comfort.
Teens were not the only focus of this redesign. The library hosted classes for the young kids and their adult counterparts. The library is active in assisting expecting mothers or guardians in parenting classes. Activities like Storytime, puppet shows, and vocabulary classes were highlighted.
The children’s librarian, Taylor Caughman, gave a few words on his experiences.
“Just looking at the main library right now, and how many spaces there are to gather, the context of what ‘a library is’ is changing,” he commented. Parenting tips were also offered in addition to these classes.
The most inviting feature of Richland was not the furniture, or hanging lights, but how unique the experience was. Walking through the glass doors, it is truly an unworldly feeling full of genuine surprises and emotions. It’s nearly impossible not to smile from the beauty, art, and expression that is displayed within each wall of the Richland Library. Since the beginning of time, change has always been an unavoidable force and the Richland County Library has mastered it in a way that can never be forgotten.
[Check out posts on the CJI Library group’s Instagram account.]
Gunby, Matthew. “The Evolution of Library Collections.” Public Libraries Online The Evolution of Library Collections Comments. Public Library Association, n.d. Web. 17 June 2017.
“Library Technology.” Sensource. Sensource Inc., 12 Dec. 2014. Web. 17 June 2017.
R., Morgan. “Summer 2017 Storytimes and Programs for Children and Families at Main.” Richland Library. N.p., 16 June 2017. Web. 17 June 2017.