The Student Voice of Coastal Carolina University



Thompson Library fosters academic success

Addition to campus provides more than Kimbel

Since the groundbreaking ceremony for the Thompson Library Learning Complex in May 2022, Coastal Carolina University officials have released more information about how it will benefit students in terms of amenities and new technologies. 


As of right now, the library has a tentative opening date of spring 2024. Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Sara Hottinger oversees all academic programs on campus and ensures students can benefit from the new library when utilizing its luxuries properly.  


“If you’re doing research, if you want to use the makerspace, there’ll be some recording studios, just lots of kinds of resources for students,” Hottinger said, “lots and lots of study space, hangout space, places for students to come together in a group and do group projects.”  


The Thompson Library is intended to be a student success center, rather than an ordinary library. Kimbel Library currently provides quiet and group study space, research assistance, access to technology and the makerspace. Student success centers such as academic coaching and tutoring will have a space in the new library, which Kimbel didn’t prioritize. 


Initially, student opinions on the new library varied due to lack of information, but after learning more, some students began to see the new building’s purpose in a new light.  


“I think that would be helpful, having the space to go in and study myself but then also get help right there if I needed it,” freshman Joanna Greary said. 


While some students are excited to use the new library, others said the funds could have been allocated differently. Sophomores Sam Somerday, Isábella Lynch and Erin Poinsette said they have heard mostly negative comments and would have rather seen Kimbel expanded instead. 


“Maybe the money should have been used to open up more dorms or something because we have so many people,” they said.  


Lynch said a new library would be a good addition to the campus but questions the timing of the new building construction.  

“I understand it’s to benefit the upcoming classes and the classes that are still present. But there’s bigger issues on campus that could have been addressed, and then a library could have been built later on,” Lynch said. 


According to University Librarian Melvin Davis, the Thompson Library will feature a writing center, student success initiatives, athletic tutoring, teaching classrooms and student computing services. The new makerspace will include innovative technology that allows students to test the limits of their imagination. Additionally, there will be a virtual reality lab and studios for podcasting and video production.  


“We’re looking at this sort of co-location. The synergy that we’re going to build between all of these different departments to better serve students, it’s going to be fantastic,” Davis said. 


The late John and Barbara Thompson donated $4.425 million and the library was named in their honor, according to Coastal’s website. Hottinger said the money was donated to support the development and activities of the library. Davis said the donation came from a trust when John passed away, which was split between Coastal and Horry County library funds.  


The remaining funds for the library came from the Penny Sales Tax, which provides funding for public education development in Horry County. Coastal receives 13.3% of the proceeds, according to an article from The Chanticleer from January of this year, while Horry County Public Schools receive 80% and HGTC receives the remaining 6.7%.  


Plans for the Thompson Library has been in the works for several years now, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. The original estimated cost was $24 million, but has since increased to about $29.8 million. Hottinger and Davis said the cost most likely went up because of the increase in cost of various building materials as a result of the pandemic.  


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