Bees Ferry West Ashley Library
By Debbie Lagestee • Photos by Charleston County Public Library
The new Bees Ferry West Ashley Library is perfectly nestled between West Ashley High School and CE Williams Middle School on Sanders Road. The 20,000 square foot library officially opened its doors on November 2, 2020, employing 25 people. This long-awaited new Charleston County Public Library branch took approximately 2 years to build. This location was chosen after a $108.5 million referendum was passed in 2014. This is the 4th out of 5 new libraries to open. It was well worth the wait. Upon entering the building, floor to ceiling windows are on full display and create an openness and natural light abundance. The wooded backdrop adds to the serenity and beauty of the fenced outdoor reading patios.
This state of the art facility has plenty to offer. The entire collection of books, audiobooks, DVDs, Blu-Rays, and musical CDs is brand new. The library is equipped with 24 public computers with printing capabilities. The Learning Lab provides 10 computer stations and a big screen for instruction. The Makerspace is the perfect place to get creative. It is furnished with sewing machines, a Cricut Maker, a 3D printer, and art supplies. Patrons will have the opportunity to use all devices after attending an instructional class for the tools. A librarian will be on hand to offer assistance when needed. Video editing equipment will be available in the Creations Studio. There is a small meeting room and 2 study rooms with TVs for collaborative work. The library features an auditorium that can be used as a meeting or movie room, seating up to 100 people.
The dedicated teen area is designed to create a safe space for teens to hang out. It is outfitted with a new collection of books for teens, study rooms, plenty of seating, and video games. The proximity to the middle school and the high school will undoubtedly draw teens to this remarkable space.
The Children’s area is sure to delight kids of all ages. There is a vast collection of books for every age group beginning with board books, and picture books, leading to nonfiction books and chapter books. The area is spacious and colorful, with many places to sit and read or page through books. Reading is not the only thing to do. There are AWE Early Literacy computers. These are preloaded with educational games for safe and secure playing and learning. A full collection of children and family-friendly DVDs and Blu-Rays are available as well. This area also has a storytime room and a family restroom, and a nursing room.
The outdoor reading patios offer the perfect spot to enjoy a good book and fresh air. The space is divided into two sections. One section is for adults and teens, complete with various seating options and a grassy area. The other section is designated for children and families outfitted with kid-size and full-size chairs. This area has added fencing to ensure a safe outdoor experience.
Charleston County Public Library is dedicated to promoting literacy, deepening reading skills, and developing a great appreciation for reading. The knowledgeable and friendly staff and librarians are vital in providing tools to uphold this commitment. Due to the pandemic, the library is not offering in-person programs at this time. They worked diligently to continue to provide as many services to their patrons as possible, with the public’s safety at the forefront of their decisions. The library remains open to browse the collections, use computers, check out materials and interact with staff members. Chromebooks and mobile WIFI hotspots are also available for checkout by adult cardholders. Occupancy is currently limited to 40 people, and masks must be worn at all times. Hand sanitizer and wipes are available throughout the branch. Computers and self-checkout kiosks are continually sanitized, and returned items are currently being quarantined for 5 days.
Take and Make Crafts are offered for free in the Children’s area to bring home. Also, Themed Concept Bags are available for checkout with 50 different topics to choose from. The bags include 5-10 books on the subject, rhyming games to develop literacy, and puppets. Dial-a-Story is another outstanding service to be enjoyed at home. Each Monday, the librarians record a story that lasts approximately 5-10 minutes. Dial 843-805-6806 and follow the prompts to choose a story on demand. Age ranges are birth-kindergarten, 1st-5th grade, and young adult to adult. An extensive list of virtual programming can be found on its Facebook page, Instagram, and YouTube channel. CCPL has many local non-profit partners providing the community with valuable resources such as tax prep help, food banks, job service resources, and summer reading and feeding programs. Notary services are available by appointment.
The Bees Ferry Library is a tremendous asset to the community. There is something for everyone to enjoy. The beautiful, well-appointed space, the comprehensive new collection of books and media, the large array of online programs and community resources benefit people of all ages. For branch hours and information on how to obtain a free library card, visit www.ccpl.org.