Thanks To Farmville And Prince Edward, Library Extends Hours

Published 4:30 pm Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Prince Edward County Board of Supervisors and Farmville's Town Council?

Book 'em.

Because the Farmville-Prince Edward Community Library certainly brings out the best in both governing bodies when it comes to cooperative spirit.

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So, yes, book 'em.

No, don't throw them in jail, Dan-O.

Keep taking them out to the library to meet together. When they go to the library, cooperation doesn't check out, the work-together spirit checks in.

The books, on the other hand, are being checked out in record numbers for this community and the volume of circulation is only going to increase. At their most recent joint meeting-held at the library the two governing bodies built together-supervisors and council members decided to provide funding to expand the popular library's hours.

The cost will be shared by the County and the Town, two-thirds and one-third, respectively, keeping the same funding formula which built a library that you can judge by its cover, though the interior is even more spectacular than the building's binding.

Extending the hours will meet popular demand to do just that at what is a best-seller of a library. The cost to make the library even more accessible is expected to be paid for from unexpended funds set aside by the two governing bodies for construction. Doing so will also meet the challenge set by Town Manager Gerald Spates last April when he spoke during the library's ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Spates said then that he could find just one problem with the new 19,000 square-foot Farmville-Prince Edward Community Library. The library needs to extend its hours of operation to meet the public's exuberant demand for the new building, which was built with space to accommodate 20,000 more items-books, magazines, videos-than its previous location.

“So I challenge the Town Council and the Board of Supervisors,” Spates said during the spring grand opening celebration, “and we need to try work out something to get more funding for the library so they can stay open. How many people did you have the first couple of days? 1,500 people, and I tell you the people are asking me, 'Are you going to keep it open longer? Are you going to have it open on Sundays?'

“So we're going to have to figure out some way to come up with some funding so they can. Because this is really an asset to our community,” Spates said.

Seven months later that good intention has been given follow-through. Or, more aptly, the page has been turned on that intention and the page that follows finds both governing bodies speaking action verbs.


The extended hours began this week.

The Farmville-Prince Edward Community Library is now open Monday-Thursday until 9 p.m.

“We're just thrilled,” the library's director, Peggy Epperson, said last week. “The whole purpose of the library is to serve the public and this will allow us to give better service.

“And I particularly want to thank Mr. Spates for his leadership on this,” Ms. Epperson said.

The new hours will certainly be used by the public. Circulation skyrocketed when the new library opened at Wilck's Lake and Ms. Epperson said it has been “holding steady. It's roughly twice what it was last year. And we're adding new books to the shelves.” A new children's program was begun a month ago and planning is already underway for children's programming for next summer.

Ultimately, Sunday hours may be published by the library, but the evening hours now on Monday through Thursday nights are totally justified and two typing thumbs up to the Prince Edward County Board of Supervisors and Farmville's Town Council for making it happen, and a nod, too, to Mr. Spates for getting this new chapter started in the library's life.

And in the lives of those thousands of community members for whom the library is an essential part of their life together here.

The library's binding extends to more than covers of books.