Fontana Regional Library serving Jackson, Macon and Swain counties with six public libraries in Western North Carolina

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Jackson County
Public Library

310 Keener Street
Sylva, NC 28779

Fax: 828-586-3423

Librarian: Tracy Fitzmaurice

Smoky Mountains Sylva NC Library
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About the New Library Building Project


Saturday, June 11, 2011, the date of the Grand Opening Ceremony for the Jackson County Public Library Complex, will long be remembered. Throughout the day, the air was filled with excitement, anticipation and unbelievable joy!


Just two short years after the May 2009 Groundbreaking Celebration, the new Library Complex was ready for the Grand Opening. Volunteers prepared the site for the big day and people gathered to be a part of the celebration. During the official ceremony, speakers and special invited guests from near and far praised the facility, the picturesque setting and the positive effect the library complex will have on the people of Jackson County, now and in the future.


Throughout the day and the following week, people came to explore and experience the new complex. Judging from the exuberance on the faces of the people, this was an incredible experience for all! View a collection of photos from Grand Opening Day for the Library Complex. All photos of the celebration (including the above photo) were taken by Elizabeth and David Luttrell, David Luttrell Photography, Apex, NC.


This project combines a building of historic significance with new construction. Many of the architectural elements of the older building were replicated in the addition. Great care was taken in the design of this complex so that visitors can appreciate the historical aspects while enjoying a state of the art library.


Photos from the newly completed library complex can be viewed by clicking here. All photos were made by Nick Breedlove of The Sylva Herald.


If you would like to view the photos of the construction please click here.



FAQ For the Library Complex


Q: Where is the new library located?
The new Jackson County Public Library Complex is located at 310 Keener Street in the renovated and expanded historic courthouse at the west end of Main Street in downtown Sylva.


Q: Why was the historic courthouse site chosen?
There was strong public sentiment to keep the library in downtown Sylva. The historic courthouse was an unused building in downtown. It was decided that the best alternative for saving the courthouse was to incorporate it into the new JCPL Complex. This allows us to honor one of the most recognized symbols of Jackson County by making it part of one of the most important institutions – the public library.

Q: Who had the vision to save the historic courthouse?
Members of the community initially suggested the idea of incorporating a new library into the historic courthouse. In October, 2007, the Jackson County Commissioners voted to incorporate a new expanded library into the 1914 historic building and the surrounding grounds.

Q: What is in the historic courthouse?
The ground floor houses the Genealogical Society, the Historical Association's museum, a Conference Room, a vending area and built-in display cabinets. The second floor features the former courtroom as a multi-purpose Community Room with seating for over 150, the Arts Council's office and a catering area.

Q: How long did it take to renovate the courthouse and to build the new addition?
Work began on the renovation and the construction in May 2009 and took two years.

Q: How much did the new library and courthouse renovation cost the county and how will it be paid for?
The budget for the new complex is approximately $8.6 million. The County Commissioners asked the community to raise $1.5 million of this budgeted amount. The remaining $7.1 million is being paid by the county.

Q: How much money was raised by the community?
As of the end of February, 2011 the community has raised over $1.8 million. This includes $100,000 pledged to cover all the costs associated with the fundraising efforts.

Q: Who owns the Jackson County Public Library Complex and who owns the contents within the building?
The building and grounds belong to Jackson County. The furniture, fixtures, equipment and media materials belong to the Fontana Regional Library.

Q: What will happen to the building where the library was housed?
The building belongs to Jackson County. The county officials will determine its future use.

Q: Is there more parking at the new complex?
There is a significant increase from the 16 spaces at the current library. There are additional parking spaces in the immediate vicinity along Keener Street adjacent to Bicentennial Park. It is expected to be included on the regular route of Jackson County Transit.

Q: How many items are in the new complex collection?
: The library staff moved over 40,000 items to the new facility. Approximately 24,000 new media items - books, DVDs, books on CD, and Playaways have been added - including 18,000 items for adults and 6,000 items for our young people.

A: How many computers are in the new library?
There are 16 in the computer lab, four in teen area, both upstairs, and eight in the children's area, downstairs. These are public access computers. There are also several laptops and netbooks available for checkout for use in the library.

Q: How will the new library complex serve the needs of our community?
The library will create a lifelong learning experience with its expanded collection, increased number of computers, and broader offering of programs. Customers will have the resources they need to explore topics of personal interest, access databases for reliable information, use computers to – check e-mails, find and fill out a government form, write resumes, compile a business plan for a new business, complete a homework assignment or compose a poem. Individuals can sit and enjoy the company of others or find a quiet spot to read and reflect. There will be something for everyone.

Q: What is available for children and teens?
The Children's Area, across from the main circulation desk, is alive with materials, colors, displays, and programs focusing on early learning skills. There is also a spacious storytime room with a big screen TV and a colorful floor. It will be the largest public space on the first floor of the new building.

On the second floor of the new addition there is an area designed by and dedicated to serving teens. There are four computers, booths for use when working on group projects and WiFi throughout the complex. And, for the first time, there are programs geared to teens.

Q: What meeting, event and conference space is available within the library complex?
There are a number of spaces available for the community to reserve for use. The Conference Room seats 12 – 14, the Community Room, a multi-purpose room, seats between 100 – 150 people. The Atrium, and the outdoor terrace and courtyard can also be reserved for special events.

Smaller spaces, which will not require reservations, are available. There are three group study rooms which will seat eight people, two tutor rooms which are designed to accommodate two people, as well as comfortable seating, tables and chairs throughout the new addition.


Q: How do I reserve space within the library, what is the cost and can they be used after hours?
To reserve space at the complex call the library to make a reservation. To finalize your reservation you will need to come in and complete a "Meeting Space Contract". This document will outline the terms of the use agreement.

There is no cost to use space within the complex for library programs and community or non-profit groups. For-profit organizations and groups holding private functions, such as business meetings, luncheons, weddings and parties, will be required to pay a fee. The price structure is outlined in the "Meeting Space Contract".

If the meeting or event is scheduled after hours, a key will be issued to a registered library card holder.

Q: Is there a public address system for use in the Community Room and other spaces?
In the Community Room there is a state of the art sound system installed, along with high tech audio visual and computer equipment. The lectern has built-in computer outlets so that personal computers can be used from the lectern. A portable sound system is available for individuals and groups to use in other parts of the complex.


Q: What happens if I want to serve food at an event such as a party or reception?
The library complex has a catering area where food can be warmed or kept cold before it is served at events throughout the complex.

Q: Will there be tables available for use during events held in the complex?
There are tables in various sizes which can be configured in a number of different ways. Freestanding chairs are also be available for up to fifty. Tablecloths will not be available.

Q: May I serve alcohol at my special event?
The Jackson County policy is not to allow alcohol to be served or consumed in any county-owned building.

Q: How many new jobs will be created at the new library complex?
It is not possible to answer this question at this time. Jackson County, the primary provider of library funding, is in the process of reviewing budget requests. County officials are aware that there will be additional costs associated with operating a facility four times the size of the current library. The county decisions about funding are predicated, in part, on the county's funding from the state. Additional information will be forthcoming.

Two new positions have been approved and the positions filled – an assistant county librarian and an information technology assistant.

Q: Who will be responsible for maintaining the spaces within the complex?
Housekeeping and maintenance of the facility will be provided by Jackson County. Individuals or groups who use the spaces within the facility must follow the guidelines for room usage.

Q: What happens when we outgrow the 26,000 square foot library? Is there room to expand at the courthouse site?
The 2007 JCPL Service Priorities and Facilities Plan recommends building two branch libraries of 5,000 square feet each by 2015 to accommodate our growing population.

Q: How can I help?
Community volunteers will be needed to help with various tasks throughout the library complex. Volunteers will be key to the successful operation of the new library. A volunteer coordinator will match volunteers with opportunities. Those interested in volunteering should contact Jeni Silver at

Q: May I donate collectible books and other items to the new library?
Individuals wishing to make donations of materials to the library need to discuss this opportunity with the county librarian. Books which are considered highly collectible may be appropriate to place in the library's Genealogy Room. If the book donations cannot be used in the library, materials will be given to the Friends of the Library Used Book Store to be sold. All the profits from the bookstore benefit the library.

Q: Is the Friends of the Library Used Book Store going to close and move to the new library complex?
The Friends of the Library Used Book Store will remain at its current location on Main Street in Sylva. The Friends of the Library will maintain a small office in the library complex.

Q: Who can get a library card and how?
Residents of Jackson, Maconand Swain Counties, residents of the surrounding counties and full-time students may apply for a Fontana Regional Library card. All that is required is one ID with photograph, name and address or a combination of two pieces of identification with name and address. Part-time residents may obtain a temporary library card for a yearly price of $25. A child can get a card at birth.

Q: Will there be a coffee shop?
There are numerous cafes and restaurants within walking distance. Vending machines will be available on-site as well.

Q: Can food and drink be brought into the library?
Food and drink may be brought into the library and may be consumed anywhere except at the public access computers.

Q: Will there be WiFi and accessible outlets to use to plug in my laptop?
The entire complex is WiFi accessible. Many of the tables and lamps have plug in outlets in their base. There are outlets around the walls near the soft seating.




  Mon 10:30 am - 6 pm
  Tue 10:30 am - 8 pm
  Wed 10:30 am - 6 pm
  Thu 10:30 am - 8 pm
  Fri 10:30 am - 4 pm
  Sat 10:30 am - 4 pm
  Sun Closed



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