Purcellville Library Not Scheduled for Relocation

Rumors about a relocation of the Purcellville Library are unfounded at this point.

Talk of a relocation hit the community on Tuesday night when Randy Baer, the vice president of the Purcellville Library Advisory Board, informed the Purcellville Town Council that the Loudoun County Public Library Board of Trustees had been discussing plans to relocate the 81-year-old library. Board Member Denis Cotter backed that information up, but pointed out that the board had “no plans” and “no decisions” to relocate the library as of yet.

Peter O’Brien, the communications division manager for the library system, said this week that there is “no news to report on the Purcellville Library.” He said that the board is simply in the early stages of putting together its long-term strategic plan, which will review the needs of Loudoun’s 10 library branches. He said that rumors of a relocation probably formed when people heard about the initiation of the strategic plan. “We have had none of those discussions that came up [at the Purcellville Town Council meeting],” he said.

While Baer said that the library had become too popular and had created a shortage of parking, O’Brien clarified that those sorts of issues tend to happen on occasion at all of the county’s libraries, since some programs coincide with peak times in the day. “That’s not unusual,” he said.

O’Brien noted that the county’s library system is flourishing and that library visits have skyrocketed in recent years and that programming at all libraries has increased even more.

O’Brien attributes that success to the library system’s ability to keep up with the times, as it now offers residents all types of online resources, 50,000 downloadable eBooks, free notary services and, at some locations, MacBooks for library-goers to borrow while working in the library.

He said that the 40,000-square-foot Brambleton Library, which opened in November, also features a recording studio. “There’s all kinds of things,” he said.

If the Purcellville Library does relocate in the coming years, it will be an historic event. It was Loudoun’s first public library—built in 1935 and dedicated on Labor Day in 1938. In April 1957, the Board of Supervisors voted to open the library to residents of all colors, which made it the first integrated public library in Virginia. That vote followed an incident four months earlier when the staff refused an African-American upholsterer permission to check out a book that he needed for a project.

The library has also seen major renovations, with a 10,000-square-foot addition added on in 1993 and a 2018 project that saw the addition of more open space, replaced shelving, an updated HVAC system and new service desks. O’Brien said those renovations cost the county more than $250,000.

Compared with other county public libraries, the Purcellville Library is the sixth largest, at 15,500-square-feet. The 42,000-square-foot Rust Library in Leesburg is the largest and the 4,000-square-foot Law Library, located in the Loudoun County Courthouse in Leesburg, is the smallest.

 

pszabo@loudounnow.com

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