CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A Charleston couple says they know the important role libraries play in communities, which is why they wanted to give back to the Kanawha County Public Library.

Nancy and Bob Douglas on Thursday donated $1.1 million to the downtown Charleston library renovation and expansion project.

Library officials announced last month they plan to expand the current facility on Capitol Street by about 20,000 square feet and remodel the interior.

“We’re very excited about what’s happening here and we hope that the community will join us in developing this project,” Nancy Douglas told reporters following a Thursday check presentation at the library.

The “Reimagine Your Library” project depends on donors, said Kanawha County Library Foundation chairman Tom Heywood.

“We’re trying to cap the campaign off with an additional $8 million. This moves us one big giant step toward that. It will encourage other donors to make gifts,” he said.

The entire project is expected to cost around $27 million. About 80 percent of the funding, which is about $21 million, will come from private donors — making it one of the largest privately-funded public library projects in Kanawha County.

Heywood said people like that the library is staying in the same location. The building is nearly 100 years old. The library has operated there for the past 50 years.

“A lot of the feedback we’ve gotten since the announcement of the new project is how much people love the fact that we’re preserving this beautiful building and we’re keeping it in downtown Charleston,” he said.

The $1.1 million gift was given in honor of Nancy’s Douglas’ mother Lucile McNary, of Sutton, who was a librarian.

“She deserved to be honored for what she did. Librarians don’t always receive a lot of acclaim for their work,” she said.

Construction for the project is scheduled to start in Fall 2018 and will take about two years to complete.

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