Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Revised library plan will invest in neighborhood branches

Charlie Anderson and Sheila Umberger present new library master plan.

Say good-bye to the 30,000 square foot “super branch” and hello to your new and improved neighborhood library branch. The 11-acre parcel on Peters Creek Road near the Cove Road intersection was purchased by former city manager Darlene Burcham for $795,000 in October of 2009. It was to serve the northwest area as a “super branch” that Burcham said was in “just the right spot. It was to have a cafe, 100 computers and a drive-through window.

Most agreed it was a poor location. It has no cross over of the median to gain entrance and living near it didn’t help either. There was no safe access for pedestrians or bicycles. City manager, Chris Morrill said they’d probably sell it.

In its place they plan to build a 6500 square foot library at the city-owned former Countryside Golf Course property. It will fit in with the future Village Center that the Master Plan calls for in future development.

Director of Roanoke City Libraries, Sheila Umberger told city council at their briefing Monday morning that the $13.9 million figure in the Capital Improvement Project library plan would not change. The funds destined for the super library will be reallocate to additions and renovation of local library branches.

Umberger said the original 2004-2005 library master plan was done when circulation was shrinking and visits were declining. Visits to libraries have increased 33 percent since then she said.

Umberger said that circulation at the Main library had doubled in the last five years. Since it is now destined to be part of the redesign of Elmwood Park it made sense to “integrate the library and enhance and connect the family areas of the park.” Charlie Anderson the city’s project engineer said the Main library would include improvements to the children’s area, teen center and enhance adult services. It would have a more user-friendly entrance and a new rear terrace would be constructed along with upgrades to the existing patio

The Melrose library would add a teen center, tutoring rooms and the community room would be enlarged. Circulation has tripled there in the last five years.

Raleigh Court library’s circulation has increased 35% since Roanoke County closed the 419 library and moved it to their new south county super library. A 5000 square foot addition will be added making a larger children’s area, new teen center and community room. It needs a new roof and new HVAC system. The goal is to have it LEED certified.

In South Roanoke Umberger proposes an e-Branch in the village center and adding a book drop and lockers for pick-up.

For the Williamson Road library a 4000 square foot addition is planned with expanded children area, teen space and meeting rooms for tutors and students. A drive-through service is also on the table.

The success and usage of the improved southeast Jackson Park library and the new Gainsboro library have turned the focus back to neighborhood libraries.

Councilman Sherman Lea noted that libraries were a stimulus for area growth. Bill Bestpitch agreed saying that “it was a much better direction to go.”

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Community, Finance

Tags: , , , , ,

Comments (11)

Jack Mcguire

February 7th, 2012 at 5:42 PM    

Melrose has less circulation than any branch.. bullet holes in the windows. White workers called names.Gainsboro a close second. Lets close down these branches, they were only put in to appease blacks anyway. And use that money for the other branches. Then we could return the “lie” money to the taxpayers. Wasn’t the ‘superbranch” yet another reason to tear down Victory Stadium. Another lie like the yet to be built “ampitheater”..


February 7th, 2012 at 5:55 PM    

ha!! Jack, you are such a jerk!


February 7th, 2012 at 6:31 PM    

Jack that is a terrible thing to say. I’ve been to both locations. Gainsboro is a great library. The outside art in the reading garden is really cool: http://www.roanokefreepress.com/?p=2807

What a racist you are and what does Victory Stadium have to do with it? Get back on your meds Jack!

Tom Jefferson

February 7th, 2012 at 7:50 PM    

I’m tired of people thinking government projects will stimulate area growth. Libraries don’t stimulate the economy. I agree that libraries are needed and serve a valuable purpose, but don’t lie to the people about stimulus as a way to convince people they need to be built.

Stimulus comes from sensible tax rates and regulations. Lower, flatter, fairer rates in taxes and a reduction in excessive regulations and restrictions upon how people can use their property etc are a draw to businesses. Businesses being in the area provides actual economic stimulus. Businesses being in the area means jobs, purchase of homes and renting of apartments etc, and–though it may be counterintuitive to the big-government supporters–it also brings INCREASED tax revenues that can then go to building things like, you guessed it, libraries.

So, there are plenty of truthful and sensible arguments that can be made for why expanding the library system is a good thing. Libraries being a “stimulus for area growth” just isn’t one of them.

Jack Mcguire

February 8th, 2012 at 2:42 PM    

Check the figures Val. your a PC er I live in the real world. You need the meds because you live in a netherworld. I had a girlfriend that worked at Melrose..she was called a white bitch on a daily basis. This is REALITY. Why in the world would you build a library across from projects. A library that only gets 75 people a day? Already told you why.And the biggest racists on earth are black. Get out of white ville for a few minutes and see. The excuse for tearing down the Stadium was that money would be appropriated for ampi theater and Super branch. Basically trading the stadium for these lies. Guess you were preoccupied with Countryside.


February 8th, 2012 at 5:14 PM    


If you knew something about Roanoke you would know that I live in the most diverse area of the city and we get along great in our neighborhood group.

We are also keenly aware that we lost a 30,000 sq. ft. super branch and “might” get a 6500 sq. ft. library “someday.”

That still leaves the area a library desert while the rest of the city gets additions. The smallest existing library is abouth the same size as the one proposed here. We still get the short stick if we get any stick at all.

And yes I know very well all about Victory Stadium.

Jack Mcguire

February 8th, 2012 at 6:22 PM    

Well I tell ya my people have been in Roanoke since the 1750s.. I wager I know a helluva lot more about it then u do. Yea ” Hey a black guy lives down the street, I even know one. Yep ur diverse!!”


February 8th, 2012 at 10:51 PM    

You just proved you don’t know our community. So you’ve been here since the 1750s and haven’t learned a thing.

Jack Mcguire

February 9th, 2012 at 8:03 PM    

Who cares about Countryside but u. I mean if its more diverse than I thought OK. Doesnt change a thing about every other statement I have made. There is a lot more to Roanke than YOUR neighborhood you have been obsessed with it for years. But I have backed YOU on the way you were treated. BTW..did you you sit with your Grandma at the market in the 50s and sell produce for the only money they had. Are you even FROM here? How many of YOUR relatives died for VA? Are you another not from here interloper? Tell me!


February 10th, 2012 at 1:06 AM    

Our community is not just Countryside. My grandparents died before I was born. My great grandparents immigrated from Poland. So now you can rant about immigrants. Being a diverse neighborhood/community has nothing to do with the golf course.

Me thinks you stretch too far when backed into a corner. Now we have Grandma in the 50s selling produce.

I am an American – you must have seceded from the union and forgot you lost.

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