The main branch of the Richland County library located downtown has closed their children’s area from March 1 until the fall for renovations. But, the new state-of-the-art Sandhills branch opened on Sunday, February 19. So there is a whole new library just waiting to be explored!
The new library is located in the R2i2 building inside the Village at Sandhills (on Fashion Drive just past The Plex). It is a 30,000 square foot facility that offers library goers improved access to new releases, triple the amount of computers, and the addition of Sunday hours. There are also enhanced features throughout the space. Since the library is in the same building as the Richland School District Two offices, there is a large common area with WiFi that library customers may access.
Let’s take a look around the library and check it out!
First Floor Entry
When you first enter the library you are immediately greeted by a welcoming area with books to browse through and a comfy seating area. Off to the left are computers for patron use and more books and materials. In this area you will also find a Maker Space where there will be art, cooking, and technology based programs for adults and teens.
The Children’s Area
The children’s area is a beautiful 5500 square foot space built to foster a child’s love of reading and inspire their creative side. There are comfy chairs to relax in, tables with large legos (think Duplo blocks), Picasso Tiles, puzzles, and more. In this area you will also find the STEAM Corner. This is a space filled with puzzles, blocks and games for families to play and enjoy while visiting the library.
There are also large tables where children can sit and read or work on a project. Remember how old library tables had white paper taped to them and a bunch of crayons so children could draw on them? Well, step into the future at Sandhills! The long white tables in the children’s area (pictured below) are dry erase! Children can write directly on the table with dry erase marker. So fun! We just have to make sure our kids know our tables at home aren’t dry erase … ha!
Another great feature of the children’s area is the Maker Space (pictured below with the colorful cabinets). This is an area where kids can play, create, and experiment with a variety of tools and materials in both guided and open lab sessions. The children’s area is also home to an art studio where children and adults can draw, paint, sculpt and more in guided art studio instruction and open lab sessions.
If you’re a fan of story time, you’re going to love the dedicated space. It is a beautiful open area with plenty of room for parents and kids. Several of the other libraries have story time in a small room that can get crowded fast. But this open area will leave you feeling less claustrophobic and allow you and your child to enjoy story time much more. And, at the end of story time, the librarian hands out paper bags you can use to put books in as you walk through the children’s area to “shop” for books.
Now, there’s one more area I know you mama’s of littles are going to love. A nursing room! And it’s not just a cold closet type space either. It’s a large comfortable area that includes a table so your older child can sit and read or do a puzzle while you nurse your baby.
As if all that fabulousness wasn’t enough, there is also a lovely courtyard attached to the children’s area. I can’t wait to sit out there with my boys to read and play!
I don’t know about you, but I’ve had those days where I have a book on hold at the library and want to grab it fast but I have my kids in the car. So, that means either leaving them in the car while I run in to grab my books or bringing them in with me. Bringing them in of course turns into a chorus of “I want to play, mommy” and whining when mommy says no. Don’t you wish you could just pick up your books without the hassle? Well, now you can! Sandhills has a pick-up window for holds. When you put a book on hold, simply indicate you want to pick up your hold in the Sandhills Drive Thru. Then, you just drive up and they’ll grab the book for you. No getting out of the car. Super easy!
The Second Floor
While the downstairs area is home to the children’s area, the upstairs was created for adults. Besides all of the materials available for check-out, there is also plenty of table work space and a long row of computers. This floor also boasts a dedicated Reading Room where you can sit in peace and quiet and curl up with a good book. On top of that, there are also rooms set aside as meeting spaces, which you can reserve.
The third floor houses a beautiful 250 seat auditorium. This space is perfect for a variety of community programs. No more being crammed into a tiny room for those special library events. Now you can sit comfortably and enjoy the program in a well lit auditorium. This wonderful space will be home to upcoming events and programs such as children’s author visits, programs by the Columbia City Ballet, and music in March and April. Be sure to check the library website for the calendar and upcoming events!
A Green Library
Another fantastic feature about this new library is that it’s a “Green” library. This space is Solar Thermal, which means it saves on heating water for the kitchen area. It also boasts a Solar Tree that generates energy and Solar Panels on the roof to save on energy costs. There is even an underground cistern that collects rain water for landscape irrigation. On top of that, there is an electric car charger and a windmill with a weather station.
Overall, the new Sandhills library is a beautiful space that was well worth the wait!