Tuesday, August 9, 2022

$5 million expansion gives the Yorktown Library new life

A rendering of the Yorktown Library after the expansion and renovation project. (WYDaily/Courtesy Kevin Smith)
A rendering of the Yorktown Library after the expansion and renovation project. (WYDaily/Courtesy Kevin Smith)

York County residents can look forward to a new and improved Yorktown Library, with the latest technology and resources.

But probably not until the summer of 2020.

The Yorktown Library will be expanding by 10,000 square feet and renovating the 8,905 square feet of the existing library. This is the first renovation done since 1984 besides a rewiring of the building for internet use in 1999, said Kevin Smith, Yorktown Library director.

Smith said the expansion — which will cost approximately $5 million, according to York County documents — is much needed in the community because of the high traffic volume of the library. Between the Tabb Library and Yorktown Library, the buildings see about 500,000 visitors a year for the past decade, Smith said.

“I’m asked the question, ‘Do people still use the library?’ everyday,” he said. “The answer is, yes. The libraries are still an essential part of a community and we just continue to adapt to the needs of the people that need us.”

The expansion and renovations will give the library 11 different study rooms, a section specifically for teenagers, a new computer location and an auditorium that can seat 100 people. Smith said the idea is to make the library both a space better equipped for collaborative needs as well as for individual necessities.

“We have WiFi capabilities and all sorts of resources,” Smith said. “People say that you can go to Starbucks and use your laptop, but Starbucks will want you to buy something. You can come to the library for free.”

Originally, the project was set to begin in the fall of 2018 but has been pushed back to the summer of 2020 because of other projects the county is working on, Smith said.

However, HBM Architects have already finished the floor plan and a rendering of what the building will look like, Smith said. The new extra time before construction begins will give Smith more time to plan where the staff, books and resources will go during the project.

Smith said the project will hopefully only take two years to complete, but during that time the building will be closed and all of the materials will have to be removed.

That will negatively impact a lot of members of the community who regularly use the library, he said, and so he wants to minimize that as much as possible.

To do that, Smith plans to move part of the library’s materials to possibly an open storefront in town and have a boutique setting where people can still come in and use the resources in a smaller setting.

What doesn’t go to that satellite location will be stored elsewhere so that during the two years if a resident requests an item that isn’t immediately available, then librarians will be able to go into the stored stacks to find the item.

Smith does not have a set location for either the boutique or storage, but he is looking into different possibilities.

In addition, he does not plan to lay off any of the workers at the library. The librarians at the Yorktown Library will either be moved to the Tabb Library or they will work at the satellite location.

When the project is finally completed, Smith expects it to be a point of pride for the county where people can connect and seek the resources they need.

“It’s that third space between work and home and a place that you can access the info resources you need,” he said. “We are essentially getting a brand new library.”

Alexa Doironhttp://wydaily.com
Alexa Doiron is a multimedia reporter for WYDaily. She graduated from Roanoke College and is currently working on a master’s degree in English at Virginia Commonwealth University. Alexa was born and raised in Williamsburg and enjoys writing stories about local flair. She began her career in journalism at the Warhill High School newspaper and, eight years later, still loves it. After working as a news editor in Blacksburg, Va., Alexa missed Williamsburg and decided to come back home. In her free time, she enjoys reading Jane Austen and playing with her puppy, Poe. Alexa can be reached at alexa@localvoicemedia.com.

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