Chapter 12, 1980s

CM StoryThe 1980s brought a series of rapid changes. Arial Stephens resigned in November of 1982 and was followed by Ron Kozlowski (1983 - 1985) and Robert Cannon (1986 - ) with Judith K. Sutton serving as acting director in the transitional periods.
Out of the upheaval, the library board began to play a more active role in the developing community support and improving the library's image. Under the leadership of board chairman Carla DuPuy, and with the support of the newly formed Friends of the Public Library, the first library bond package in 30 years was approved by Mecklenburg County voters in November 1983.

The $9.3 million package included funding for a major expansion of the main library, expansion of the Matthews Branch and a new branch for the Hickory Grove area. In the following year, funding was made available from the operating budget for additional branch construction projects. Three new branches were opened in one year - 1985: Scaleybark Branch, West Boulevard Branch and Carmel Branch. The Carmel Branch incorporated the collections, equipment and staff of the Pineville Branch which was subsequently closed. The newest branch, Hickory Grove, opened in 1986 with a difference. For the first time, patrons had use of an on-line public access catalog and could see the book holdings of the entire library system.
 

Hickory Grove Branch, 1986
The plans for the new main library called for a three-story addition to the completely remodeled 1956 building. By July 1987 construction was under way and soon after, the main library staff had set up operations in temporary headquarters at 425 South Tryon St. The storefront library included the reference collection, Carolina Room materials and a small group of circulating books.
 

Temporary Main Library