Friday, May 20, 2016

Craig County: Desperate for a New Library

Margie shot this of me in front of the 750-square foot Craig County Library yesterday.
The Craig County Library, which is one of the smallest public libraries in the state at about the size of a big living room, is undergoing expansion pains.

The "pain" in this expansion is concern about whether it will take place. Craig rarely gets state help with much of what it does and the library board needs close to half a million dollars to do the expansion right.

The short-term goal is to raise enough money to purchase the adjacent TDS lot where the new library would be situated. Most of that relatively small amount has been raised, but a deadline looms in a few weeks. It's raising the rest of the necessary money to expand to 5,000 square feet that is causing sleepless nights for many on the board.

Talking to the board members.
Margie and I drove over to New Castle last evening and I spoke to that board--about 15 of them--at the old hotel downtown, which now serves as the county's historical society. The occasion was the library's annual membership meeting and I learned a good bit more than I taught during the hour or so we met.

Craig is one of the smallest counties in Virginia, from a population standpoint (5,200), and that isn't because it doesn't have enough overall room for people. It's because more than half of the county is Jefferson National Forest (112.000 acres) and that land is not taxable and it can't be developed. Thus, Craig struggles even to provide school books for its students (as I learned from one of the bright ones last night, a girl who uses the same book her mother used in English).

The 12-year-old library is the only computer access for many people in Craig County and one of the goals for the near future is to become a Virginia Workforce Development center.

These are intelligent, ambitious, kind and proud people living in a county that is often forgotten by the rest of us--unless we want to drive over and indulge its beauty. I think it would be lovely if we banded together--given that the state government is unlikely to help--and made a new library happen. If you want to help, call board president Linda Calderon at 540-864-8978.

(Photos: Margie Herring.)

Board members settle in for the annual meeting.

1 comment:

  1. Dan, Thanks for your very accurate assessment of the situation. I do hope all the library lovers out there will help us outwith a small donation.We really enjoyed getting to know you and I feel we will stay connected through our love of reading!