News & Events

Ettrick Neighborhood & Business Foundation Donates $10,000 to Library Capital Campaign

Ettrick Neighborhood & Business Foundation President Sterlin Hawkins and Vice-President Nancy Ross were on hand to view the final phases of construction on the new Petersburg library and present a check for $10,000 to the Petersburg Library Foundation (PLF). The Ettrick Neighborhood & Business Foundation’s mission is ‘dedicated in providing resources that will improve the overall quality of life to our Ettrick neighborhood.’

Pictured left to right: Bob Walker-PLF Chairman, Ann Taylor-PLF Vice-Chairwoman, Sterlin Hawkins, Nancy Ross & Wayne Crocker-PLF Secretary & Director of Library Services

Pictured left to right: Bob Walker-PLF Chairman, Ann Taylor-PLF Vice-Chairwoman, Sterlin Hawkins, Nancy Ross & Wayne Crocker-PLF Secretary & Director of Library Services

A final push for Petersburg’s new library

Progress-Index by Leah Small (Staff Writer)

imagePETERSBURG – The needle has moved to a little under $200,000 in the final push to raise money for the construction of the new Petersburg Public Library. So far, the Petersburg Library Foundation has raised about $12.5 million for the roughly $12.7 million project according to Bob Walker, president of the library’s foundation.

Walker said that he expects the library to open in April.

He added that once the library opens, the multifunctional gathering space will enrich the city.

“It’s about the community. It’s more than just a place to put books, it’s going to be a learning center,” Walker said.

As part of it’s community focus, the new library features about three times more space devoted to children’s programs on its lower level than the current 1,000 square feet in the William R. McKenney central branch. The current space in the central branch is also shared with other library group programs.

A cafe and gift shop will be located downstairs in the new library. Community outreach programs such as the READ Center will have dedicated classroom and study spaces upstairs. The nonprofit focuses on promoting adult literacy. There will be 60 computers designated for public use. The William R. McKenney branch only had 25, which forced many patrons to wait in line.

Walker also said that the library was built to last, with rooms that can be converted for different purposes.

“It’s a very flexible building, 30 years from now things will change, so it’s built to last 50 years,” Walker said.

But construction of the building has had its challenges.

In summer 2013, library officials said they expected the new building open in fall 2013. Wayne Crocker, the city’s library director, said that a high number of rainy days stalled construction. In December 2013, the Petersburg Library Foundation Fund Development Officer Cheryl Collins said the new facility was scheduled for a late February 2014 opening. Now, Walker said that the library is expected to open in April of this year.

Walker added that the opening has been moved because the difficulty of finding funds, and weather delays due to snow and ice.

He also said that coming across and removing older items – such as bottles and artifacts – from previous uses of the site have also slowed construction.

But Walker said that money was the biggest factor in the delays and that original plans for the building have been changed because of funding.

The new library will no longer feature an archive room in the basement, or a fountain. Plans for a 300-seat multipurpose room have also been put on hold, but Walker said that space is available for the multipurpose room if it’s needed after the library opens.

The project’s two largest donors have been the city, with a more than $5 million investment, and the Cameron Foundation with a $2.7 million donation.

But Walker said that fundraising has also been a grass roots effort.

“The community has really been a big supporter of this thing, from children raising pennies, to churches and sororities,” Walker said.

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