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New branch library has 'stunning' debut

October 5, 2010 12:35 am


John Daniels (left) leads a group of Colonial Forge High students in a game of Twister in the teen area at the library. lo1005libraryram1.jpg

The England Run Library is now open. It's been almost two decades since a new library was built in Stafford. lo1005libraryram2.jpg

The England Run Library, which opened yesterday, was designed by architect George Lukmire, who designed the only other library in Stafford County. lo10052010libraryram4.jpg

The England Run Library designed the 'stacks' in a style similar to a modern bookstore to encourage browsing.


Jamie Wells and her 2- year-old-son, Alex, were among the first to check out southern Stafford's new visionary England Run Library.

"It's stunning," Wells said while looking through children's Halloween books for Alex. "The children's section is engaging and colorful even for me as the adult. It is more than I was expecting from a library."

Wells was one of the many nearby residents eagerly awaiting yesterday's grand opening.

During the grand opening, the library offered a variety of activities geared toward children such as story time, a magic show and a puppet show.

According to Branch Manager Nancy Buck, this library has been in the works for 15 years.

"People have asked for another library," Buck said. "And with the growth in the county another library is justified."

The 30,000-square-foot building was designed by architect George Lukmire, who designed Stafford's only other library, Porter Library in North Stafford.

The new facility houses 90,000 volumes and 65,000 media titles, with room to grow, in a space that is as friendly to the environment as it is to the eye.

The builders incorporated sun shades on both sides of the windows, a reflective roof, energy-efficient glass and lighting, recycled materials in carpet and countertops, and paint and adhesive in low volatile organic compounds.

At a cost of $6.8 million, the library actually finished ahead of schedule and $2 million under budget.

The design itself was modeled after that of bookstores, which allow for more display space and storage space.

"It's approachable and popular," Buck said. "We want this to be a destination, community spot and a meeting place."

Claire Clauss was eager to have a library she could walk to. Before, she drove to the headquarters library on Caroline street.

"This is much more convenient," Clauss said. "I should never have an overdue book again."

Dawn Rossiter also lives within walking distance of the new library.

"I just love it," Rossiter said. "It's beautiful. I love the green technology, the beautiful view and the brand spankin' new books."

She, along with family members Kristin Rossiter and Denise Hamm, expressed amazement that the library had everything they were looking for.

This was made possible by Janice Black, collection development coordinator.

Black has been ordering books for England Run Library for over a year.

She is aware of trends in the area, such as cookbooks and beauty books, and orders accordingly.

One surprising trend has been self-sufficiency, particularly on raising chickens.

"We have 10 new titles on raising chickens," said Buck.

This branch of the Central Rappahannock Regional Library system is also focusing on expanding its foreign language collection.

New to any library in the area is a drive-through book drop and pickup.

Employee Evan Lawson says that this will "stop people from sending their 7-year-old in to pick up the stacks of romance novels they've put on hold," as well as being convenient.

The library has a conference room and six smaller meeting rooms for public use.

They will be adding a cafe and a FRED bus stop in the near future.

Also planned for the future are activities for adults.

A book club will convene on the fourth Tuesday of every month, with the first meeting this month.

They will also offer classic films every second Thursday of the month, the first on Oct. 14, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., showing "North by Northwest."

Nearby resident Dina Krowell was also among those enjoying the opening-day activities.

After attending the puppet show with her 3-year-old, she said, "Even my older kids think it's awesome. It won't be a punishment to come to the library anymore."

Lindley Estes: 540/374-5000, ext. 5779

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