Jackson County’s new public library in Sylva kicked off in grand style, with dozens of people on hand to celebrate the grand opening on Saturday.
The library complex and the renovated courthouse cost $8 million, with the Friends of the Library raising another $1.8 million to outfit and furnish the new library.
The achievement, said Doug Cody, vice chairman of the Jackson County Board of Commissioners, stands as a visible symbol on the hill above Sylva as a “credit to the spirit of this community.”
Former Commissioner William Shelton, who played a critical role in helping keep the library in Sylva’s downtown area and in approving the needed funding, shied from taking much of the credit.
“It was a privilege to me to be at the right place at the right time,” Shelton said.
Shelton posited the courthouse and new library complex as a symbol of something wonderful, a place where “history, our culture and our quest for knowledge” merge.
The Jackson County courthouse is devoted to providing space for the community, The old courtroom was converted into an approximately 2,500-square-foot auditorium available for almost any type of function or meeting. Office space for the county’s arts council and genealogical society also are provided in the old building.
A giant addition built to the rear houses the new library. A glass atrium connects the two, serving as the entrance to the complex. The children’s section alone is larger than the entire old library it replaces.