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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.

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