The library has been working with the county on a grant to enlarge the library to serve as a Community Center. This grant was awarded to the county, at no cost to the taxpayers, to identify needs in the community.
The County hired The Hill Studio from Roanoke to complete a report that will be presented to the County Board of Supervisors on Feb 1. The public is encouraged to come. The report will include a preliminary design and cost for a Community Center, including how the building will be funded for construction and operational costs. The goal is to bring in multiple financial resources to make this project sustainable.
So, how big is a Craig County Community Center? This is the task that the Grant Management Team has focused on in the past few months. The team has to balance building cost, the range of services, projected size, funding sources and cost of running a Center while anticipating potential future growth. Information gathered from surveys conducted in October has identified needs, potential revenue sources and opportunities this center can serve. The Virginia Tourism Commission has requirements to be met for a certified Visitor Center, and the Virginia Library Association sets building size standards as about 5,000 square feet. If the overall size of the Center is too small, we lose funding and potential revenue to run the center. If it is too big, our cost stretches limited financial and staffing resources.
The closest libraries to Craig County are much larger than those mentioned above 5,000 square feet. The Eagle Rock Library is 8,000 square feet while the Salem Library is an amazing 16,000 square feet.
So how big are buildings, and how does our plan compare to what we already have? Our library right now is housed in 846 square feet with additional space in the sheds out back. The Post Office next door is 5,000 square feet as is the funeral home across the street. Town Hall runs about 2,000 square feet, and the County Administration Office is 3,000 square feet, so both are smaller spaces. Family Dollar is 8,000 square feet, Old Brick Hotel is 9,500 square feet, and the largest building of all in New Castle is the Food Country at a whopping 31,000 square feet!
Our approach is to maximize multiple uses for all the spaces, with built-in flexibility for change over time. We have determined that the library’s existing location is the best site since it acts as a gateway to downtown. The front door is to face Main Street overlooking a green space, which serves as the front porch. Close to the front door, the meeting room will have the feel of a living room that is open to visitors when not in use. In addition to the library, community spaces being researched include a visitor center, teen center, community kitchen and smaller private meeting rooms. Together, these spaces will bridge the gap between needs and resources to meet the future with a gathering place we can be proud of.
– Jennifer Lovejoy, library volunteer
Stop in to purchase books and movies at the book barn any time the library is open. Library hours are 10-6 M-F and 10-4 on Saturday. Wishing you holiday cheer, a warm fire and a good book!