Friends of Chapel Hill Public Library Make Major Gift to Expand Parking


Town of Chapel Hill Press Release

On Wednesday, Chapel Hill Town Council accepted a gift of $185,000 from the Friends of Chapel Hill Public Library. The money will be used to expand access to the Library by adding sixteen additional spaces to the upper parking lot. The one-time gift is in addition to the $130,000 annual gift the Friends make to support the library.

Library Director Susan Brown says that parking constraints are a pain point for users and a barrier to access for many. “We welcome about 1,800 people every day. Too often, though, library users can’t find a parking space, which is frustrating and limits access to our collections, services, and spaces. The Friends’ gift improves access for current and future users and we are incredibly thankful to them for their generosity and this special gift to the community.”

Karen Curtin, President of Friends of Chapel Hill Public Library, says that members and volunteers of the non-profit are dedicated to supporting a great public library. “Donations – of time, talent and treasure – improve the Library experience and increase access for everyone. We hope that every Library user will consider becoming a member of the Friends. Membership is one of the lowest cost ways to have a big impact on both the Library and the community it serves.”

Staff have been analyzing the parking issues at the Library and developed a solution with two phases.  In late 2019, the Town funded the initial phase, which added eight new spaces to the upper lot.  The Friends’ gift makes it possible to complete the second phase that will bring the total number of parking spaces to 223. To mitigate stormwater impacts, the second phase also includes a bioretention pond near the upper lot. The pond will create a habitat for native species and generate additional educational opportunities for the library’s environmental education program, Explore More, supported by ongoing contributions from the Friends.

In addition to this gift, the Friends are providing support for the installation of the Library’s new lockers at University Place later this year, which will also address parking challenges at the Library by providing an alternative location for users to pick up their holds and return items.

For more information about the Friends of the Chapel Hill Public Library, including how to become a member, visit

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