News & Events

Community gathers for grand opening of Petersburg library

City residents take their first step through the doors of the new Petersburg Public Library located at 201 W. Washington St. Patrons entering the library stand over a mosaic that represents the city.

City residents take their first step through the doors of the new Petersburg Public Library located at 201 W. Washington St. Patrons entering the library stand over a mosaic that represents the city.

PETERSBURG – A dream owned by the community that began 10 years ago is now a reality in Petersburg. City residents, as well as state and local officials, gathered for the grand opening Saturday of the Petersburg Public Library. After the opening ceremony, hundreds of city residents entered the glass doors of the state-of-the-art $12.7 million library.

Much of the funding for the 45,000-square-foot building located at 201 W. Washington St. was made possible by The Capital Campaign of the Petersburg Library Foundation. Contributions from city residents were large and small, some spared the change in the their pockets for funding drives, others contributed thousands.

Delegate Rosalyn Dance, D-Petersburg, said that the new library was made possible by these community efforts.

“Everyone can say this is our library, it belongs to all of us,” Dance said.

Wayne Crocker, director of the Petersburg Public Library System, said that helping to bring the community’s dream to life was worthwhile but hard.

“If I can help some child read on grade level or any adult read on any level … then any contribution I had to making this library happen will not be in vain,” Crocker said.

Robert “Bob” Walker, head of the Petersburg Library Foundation, said that the library would offer many services, including children and adult literacy initiatives.

“In truth, this is an opportunity builder,” he said. “We have so many things for the community to use,” he said.

Mayor Brian Moore said building the library is just the first step toward doing more for the community.

“As they say in Petersburg, the siege is over; the offensive has begun,” he said.

City residents made use of the library’s computers, children’s activities, cafe and of course, the books during the library’s grand opening. Multiple residents at a time made their way to the circulation desk to sign up for library cards.

Danielle Johnson, a regular patron of the previous William R. McKenney Branch library, brought her son Denzel Johnson, 6.

“We always go to the library,” she said. “We have been looking forward to it.”

Pam Hairston brought her 5-year-old granddaughter Iyahe Hairston who said that she loves to read.

“It’s beautiful and it’s larger,” Pam Hairston said. “It has a lot to offer everyone of all ages.”

– Leah Small may be reached at 722-5172 or lsmall@progress-index.com.

Move to the new library begins

The Petersburg Public Library on South Sycamore Street closed Monday so staff and contractors can complete the move to the new library on West Washington Street.

The Petersburg Public Library on South Sycamore Street closed Monday so staff and contractors can complete the move to the new library on West Washington Street.

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.”

Progress-Index
BY LEAH SMALL (STAFF WRITER)
Published: April 15, 2014

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