Dare Board hears pitch for northern library branch

By on February 21, 2020

TowneBank will lease this site to the library for $1 a year.

A library branch that would serve residents on the northern end of Dare County may be on the horizon if the Dare Board of Commissioners approves a proposal for such an expansion of the county’s library system in its upcoming 2020-2021 budget.

Lilias Morrison, a member of the Southern Shores committee formed last year to explore the feasibility of northern library branch, made the pitch for a new branch to commissioners during their Feb. 18 meeting. She noted that TowneBank has offered to lease a 2,570-square-foot space in a building at 6 Juniper Trail to the county for $1 per year for 10 years.

“That represents a tremendous savings,” Morrison said during the meeting, noting that the committee had estimated that to lease space in any of the larger shopping centers around Southern Shores and Kitty Hawk could cost between $18 and $20 per square foot annually.

She told commissioners the committee estimates the branch would require an estimated annual operating budget of $150,000, with one-time modifications to the building amounting to between $150,000 to $175,000. The library would be comparable in size to the Hatteras Island Branch, according to Morrison.

“Dare County’s population is growing, particularly in the northern end of the county,” she said. “There is tremendous traffic, both from locals and from many visitors who are on our roads. Nowadays, the Kill Devil Hills branch of the library…is a big trip from northern Dare, especially in congested traffic from May to October.”

Morrison said there was strong community interest in such a project, citing the results of a survey on the subject that drew responses from 400 residents of Sothern Shores, Duck and Kitty Hawk. It found that 80 percent of respondents were in favor of such a branch,15 percent were against the idea and 3 percent were undecided.

According to the survey results, 75 percent of the respondents said they would use the library more if a branch were located in northern Dare county, and adult and children’s programs were specifically requested if the branch was established.

“All of these are enjoyed in the other three [Dare County Library] branches,” said Morrison. “These would be welcomed and used on the north beaches.”

East Albemarle Regional Library Director Jonathan Wark told the commissioners that 30 percent of Kill Devil Hills Library active users are from Southern Shores, Kitty Hawk and Duck. That represents roughly 1,800 people, he noted.

At the conclusion of Morrison’s presentation, Board Chairman Bob Woodard told Morrison and library committee members that commissioners would consider the proposal as it developed the budget for the coming fiscal year.

“It is obvious you folks have done your homework, you’ve done a great job and really found a tremendous location,” Woodard asserted. “We have budget talks in next sixty days and will put on our agenda for our board to discuss.


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  • surf123

    We do not need a library in Southern Shores. Get in your car and drive to KDH. It is not that far and is a whole lot closer than it is for those of us in RWS and Avon. If you were to ask these same 400 people if they were willing to have their taxes increase to accommodate this library the answers would flip the other way. No matter how small or even if money is shifted from another program it is still money that is not the county’s to spend. The idea that it is only a little bit more is the logic that results in bleeding to death from 1000 cuts. 1/3 cent here, 1/5 cent there and 1/2 cent over there and we are talking about real money.

    I can say without a doubt the operating budget for this library will far exceed $150,000/year. Those making their estimates only factor in the obvious stuff. Ask the tourism board to pay for it.

    Wednesday, Feb 19 @ 7:58 pm
  • OBX Resident

    FYI…The ‘tremendous location’ Chairman Woodard describes is owned by his employer, Townebank. A little transparency in the article regarding this matter would be great.

    Thursday, Feb 20 @ 9:31 pm
  • Resident

    Why don’t we spend our money on making the county safer for pedestrians. Sidewalks so we don’t get run over on the beach road, cross overs at each town over the “Interstate” we call the ”bypass” would sure be a great start !!!

    Saturday, Feb 22 @ 8:00 am
  • Pedestrian

    Why don’t we spend our money on making the county safer for pedestrians. Sidewalks so we don’t get run over on the beach road, cross overs at each town over the “Interstate” we call the ”bypass” would sure be a great start !!!

    Saturday, Feb 22 @ 8:01 am
  • ZOBX

    What a waste of money, there’s no need for a branch in Southern Shores, it’s only 6 miles to KDH, come on people. Not to mention there’s return book shoot at the police department .

    Sunday, Feb 23 @ 8:28 am