S.C. Library Responds to Vandalism with Cameras and Security Lighting

SUMMERVILLE - Library officials will ask Berkeley County Council to install surveillance cameras and more security lights at the new Sangaree branch that was trashed by vandals.

The damage, estimated to be at least $20,000, will delay Monday's scheduled opening of the library at the corner of the Sangaree Parkway and Longleaf Road. Thomas Ryan, chairman of the board of trustees of the Berkeley County libraries, said they hope to open in a month.

Smashed computers will have to be reordered. Installation of the computer system already had delayed the opening once. The building was otherwise ready in September. "That's what breaks your heart; they deliberately broke up the computers," Ryan said.

It was disappointing news, too, for Sangaree resident Bryan Merrill.

"My kids are waiting for it to open up. They're eager to come in here and play on the computers," Merrill said.

He's restoring a 1988 Mustang and he shops for parts and keeps up with car club meetings online.

Sheriff's Detective J.D. McElvogue was checking out leads Thursday, but no arrests had been made. Detectives suspect juveniles did the damage, which was discovered Tuesday. Nothing appeared to be missing, but books were dumped from shelves, graffiti was scrawled on the walls in black marker and windows were damaged.

The graffiti consisted of "a lot of misspelled words," Detective Mike Crumley said. "They don't even know how to spell Charleston."

Building amenities were limited by the budget set by County Council and there is no alarm system, Ryan said. "We haven't felt like we had a need for a security system," he said.

It is not the first time the library has been vandalized. It was under construction in May when vandals broke windows, overturned buckets of drywall and water and strung duct tape along the interior. That damage was estimated at $2,000.