April 17th, 2014
PETERSBURG – The first batch of books has been placed on the shelves of the new Petersburg Public Library in a move that started Monday.
The William R. McKenney Branch on South Sycamore Street closed Monday as contractors moved materials to the new $12.7 million library at 201 W. Washington St. The new library will open April 26, leaving Petersburg residents without a library for nearly two weeks.
Wayne Crocker, director of the Petersburg Public Library, said city residents will be happy with the services offered by the new library.
The new 45,000-square-foot library will feature about 3,000 square feet for children’s programming, 60 computers for public use, a café and a gift shop.
Space will also be provided for community outreach programs, such as the Healthy Living and Learning Center and the READ Center for adult literacy.
While the move takes place, patrons can return materials in the drop box located on the outside of the library. The library is waiving fines of overdue materials this month.
Crocker said about 80,000 materials will be moved. Catalogued materials will be moved by Kloke, a company that specializes in office and library relocation.
The movers are working to take books off of the shelves in the correct order so they can be placed correctly on the new library shelves.
Crocker said the move itself would take four to five days and it would take another few days for library staff to organize the shelves.
The technology needed to run a state of the art library is currently being installed.
The main upgrades include new servers, a phone system and Radio Frequency ID.
RFID is an electronic alarm system that will be installed in all of the books and at the front door of the library. The system will keep books that have not yet been checked out from leaving the building.
Crocker said RFID would be an important part of the new library’s self check-out system.
“We think it will be very efficient for staff and patrons as well,” Crocker said.
Patrons of the new library will see library events and news displayed on large monitors in the building. More computer work stations will be available and there will be an electronic computer reservation system.
The April 26 grand opening has been in the making for 10 years.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10 a.m. will include remarks from city and state officials. Tours of the building will be given, and there will be activities for children and free samples from the library café.
The Petersburg Public Library System has been headquartered at the William R. McKenney Branch at 137 S. Sycamore St. since 1924.
Crocker called the move bittersweet.
“I sort of have mixed emotions. I have been involved with this building for a long time,” he said. “People who grew up in Petersburg grew up coming to this library.”
BY LEAH SMALL (STAFF WRITER)
Published: April 15, 2014