Editor’s note: While lurking on one of the many listservs I subscribe to, I began to notice one poster’s funny, smart and insightful remarks and suggestions, and saw that many of her concerns focused on moving into a new building in an area of her community that currently is without a library. SLJTeen readers will appreciate learning about her experiences, I thought to myself, and poof! — a new column has been born! I’m going to let April Pavis introduce herself, below, and look for the first run of Fresh Paint: Notes from a Public Library in the September 19 issue.
I am fortunate to work for a county that sees libraries for what they are: critical to the growth and development of a community and the individuals that reside within it. Come Spring 2013 there will be an eighth library branch in Loudoun County, Virginia, the Gum Spring Library. Over 40,000 square feet of space will deliver materials, programs, education, and entertainment to an area of the county that has never had a library. In fact, that is the charm of building a library in that area; we will introduce thousands of residents to something that they have never had access to.
In this “new normal” where budgets are malleable and futures uncertain, it is exciting and hopeful to see a brand new library built, its walls painted, and shelves stocked. But it is only after the building is up that the excitement really begins; community outreach, programming, and building partnerships and relationships with area organizations, schools, and groups are what really give breath to a library. Finding what works for the new set of users is a fun challenge to meet head-on. Over the next few months I will give you an insider’s look at what goes in to opening a new library. I may not influence the collection (we have a strong Collection Development Division dedicated to that), or the furniture (I requested something comfy), but what I do participate in, you will read about. You can also track the physical construction of the building from the library’s Flickr account and Facebook account.
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