Central Library, Downtown Winston-Salem, Closing For (At Least) Two Years

Jul 28, 2014

The Forsyth County Public Library will close for at least two years, beginning October 1st, as it undergoes major renovations.
Credit Jeff Tiberii

Plans for a new central library in Forsyth County have died. Residents will instead have to deal with a two-year closure of their biggest and busiest branch.

The central branch in downtown Winston-Salem is closing October 1st, for at least two years. The aging facility will receive a make-over with $28 million in voter approved bonds.

"It's a renovation. We're calling it a repositioning of the building. We are going from a (19) '50s, '80s building to a 21st-century library," said Library Director Sylvia Sprinkle-Hamlin. She spoke publicly for the first time on Monday about the two-year closure.

Back in 2010 voters approved a bond referendum for library construction. The expectation and hope then was that the money would be used for a new facility. But there was never a detailed plan in place and those proposals ultimately didn't come together. And now on October 1st the central library will close for at least two years as it goes through major renovations.

In the meantime, the 30,000 people who use the library each month will have to utilize one of the county's other nine branches or its on-line services.  A small auxiliary location will open downtown to house some of the genealogy and historical volumes. The majority of books, computers and materials will be put in storage. Blue prints for the renovations are not complete. Sprinkle-Hamlin expects work to begin this winter.