Keith Summey North Charleston Library
NORTH CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA
The Keith Summey North Charleston Library was completed in early 2023. Funded by a county referendum in 2014, it is the newest library in Charleston County. Situated where the original Cooper River Memorial Library stood, the new library incorporates the original building’s footprint into the children’s wing. HWE worked with Charleston County Public Library and Charleston County to design an exhibit that tells the story of the original Cooper River Memorial Library built in 1949 through grassroots fundraising by local Junior Chamber of Commerce members to honor World War II veterans.
The HWE team researched and wrote content for the exhibit wall. We sought input from local community members including Liberty Hill, an African American settlement community dating to 1871. In collaboration with CCPL archives, we sourced original images and documents to incorporate into a unique photo timeline. Featured prominently is the adjacent Charleston Navy Base, the main employer of area residents when the library was built. We also brought attention to the role of African American soldiers from the area and highlighted their service during Jim Crow.
Our design harkens back to the days of the card catalog system with interactive drawers to engage library patrons. Original objects from the library were also used in the exhibit, including an original Art Deco letter from the building façade and a touchable brick interactive. We designed the frame and drawers to have a three-dimensional effect and used a color palette that complements the library interiors. We partnered with Smithworks Creative, who fabricated and installed the exhibit under our direction. The library now serves a diverse and growing community and has increased its size from the original 2,500 square feet to 25,000 square feet.