Richmond libraries closing for major renovations

By Gene Petriello - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Major renovations are set to begin at two of the city's libraries, closing them for six months. Millions of dollars are being invested into the improvements of the buildings.

The shelves at the North Avenue Library are quickly going bare and the books are going away. This, as this library and another close for some major renovations this week.

From the top to the bottom, from the furniture to the shelves, the city is shelling out more than $9 million to fix all of the city's libraries.

The first two to see the work are at the North Avenue Library, closing Thursday night for six months and the second at Westover Hills closing Saturday. That's exactly where Ronald Griffin is a regular.

"It's something I look forward to. The night before, I say I need to go to the library to check this and this and this and this," says Griffin.

He walks to the library four times a week, to check out the web, and check out some books. Now he's facing a major change: driving to another location. "I don't see me going to the library as normally as I do because of the logistics of it."

Library leaders are urging people at Westover Hills to go to the Belmont location.

A major draw at all library locations is the computers. With 50 percent of visitors using them to look for jobs, workers are worried about a log jam.

"Plus, you got the regulars who know when to go then you got us semi-novices because of something like this. But it'll work out," adds Ronald.

Library Director Harriet Henderson Coalter thinks so too. While the computers here at Westover hills will go into storage, the North Ave. location will relocate to Norrell Elementary School, and all of the computers will move as well.

"And, when we reopen, we'll have better high speed lines and a few more computers as well," says Coalter.

That will happen at all the city locations, this as Ronald will soon see their library transform, of course though, after making a few changes for a little while.

"It'll be great. It'll be fantastic. Really, fantastic. If you had a lamp and rub it couldn't be too much better," Ronald said.

Both libraries are set to open back up in November and it's sure to be a new experience.

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