January 24, 2021

Eneref Institute examines the window specification decisions for the oldest US public library.

“We protected the library for another hundred, two hundred years.” 

Climate Change Drives New Window Specs for Charleston Library

The city of Charleston successfully balances historical community preservation with building codes and safety. Recently, however, globally intensifying weather events encouraged the Board of Architectural Review to tilt the scales towards safety for the renovation of the city’s renowned library.

“The Charleston Library Society is the second-oldest circulating library in America, established in 1748, when we were still a colony of King George,” explained Anne Cleveland, Executive Director of the Charleston Library Society. The Society’s valuable documents include personal letters from George Washington, as well as John Paul Jones’ plans for the first US Navy. Most prized is a rare 1669 handwritten South Carolina constitution by John Locke — “a template for what became the American Constitution,” noted Cleveland, who is also a historian.

A cheerful mature female librarian stands in her library and smiles for the camera.  She holds a stack of books as she laughs.

Today, the library is well prepared to safeguard its irreplaceable texts from a future of extreme weather events, and the city of Charleston benefits from the library’s unique character.

Advocacy Report, Code for Climate, Right to Daylight