News & Events

Thousands check out new library

Progress-Index: Staff Reports – Published September 7, 2014

PETERSBURG – Community excitement is building around the new 45,000-square-foot Petersburg Public library, with thousands more library cards issued since its opening in April. Petersburg residents are taking advantage of new or expanded resources offered by the library, according to officials.

Wayne Crocker, director of the Petersburg Public Library System, said that on opening week, residents were issued temporary cards because of unanticipated demand.

“We actually went from 1,800 cards to over 7,000 out in the first week,” he said.”We had such response to the opening of the library, more than anticipated.”

Crocker said community use of computers has doubled. Patrons at the former William R. McKenney Branch Library often stood in line to use one of the branch’s 14 computer workstations. The new Petersburg library houses 60 computers to ease the impact of current demand.

He also said patrons are not just using technology services, but are checking out more books, CDs, e-readers and DVDs. Services added for convenience are being widely used, including a self checkout, as well as a book drop that can be accessed from outside the library.

Health and fitness classes are also widely used. The library has added a second yoga class to keep pace with demand.

The library’s three group study rooms and 60-person multipurpose room are constantly booked by students and community groups.

Services that generate money, such as the coffee and gift shop, also see heavy traffic.

To gauge demand, library officials gave a public survey to see what programs interested patrons.

The results were used to implement financial literacy programs, an additional computer literacy class, fitness for senior citizens, and science, technology and math initiatives for children.

But expanded programs require more funding and remaining construction debts must be paid on the $12.7 million building.

Crocker said fundraising efforts of the Capital Campaign of the Petersburg Library Foundation, are still $200,000 short and he encourages the public to continue to give.

“We would like to make that final push to close out by the end of the year,” he said.

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