Library to create facilities master plan

The Shenandoah Valley-Herald

EDINBURG — The Shenandoah County Library System’s Board of Trustees is creating a master plan that focuses on improving library facilities.

During its quarterly meeting on Aug. 8, the 13-member board approved the creation of a master plan to incorporate into the current five-year plan, which outlines the system’s intentions for employment, technology and services.

The board approved a new five-year plan in July 2016, Sandy Whitesides, the library system’s director, said on Aug. 25. The board is required by the Library of Virginia to form such a plan, he said.

The master plan will outline what trustees hope to do to improve the interior and exterior of the system’s main branch in Edinburg during the next 20 years.

“Everyone wants to know where their facilities are going to be five, 10, 20 years down the line,” Whitesides said.

During its meeting, the 13-member Board of Trustees approved the hiring of Ritter Norton Architects of Alexandria to study the Edinburg branch’s space needs and make a list of suggestions for how to improve them.

The study will take about a year and cost up to $15,000, Whitesides said.

Besides its Edinburg location, the library system has branches in New Market, Mount Jackson, Basye, Woodstock, Strasburg and Fort Valley.

While Whitesides hopes the master plan inspires the other branches to study their space needs, the plan will not apply to them, he said.

“They are responsible for their own needs, though we help as much as we can,” he said.

Based on early feedback from patrons, Whitesides said, priorities with Edinburg facility improvements should include creating more space in the children’s section and more areas for group activities and private reading.

“People want to use quiet study areas, which we don’t have,” he said. “They want to use activity spaces, which we only have one of. Our children’s area is full of books, but we want to have more space, more technology and more areas for them to sit and look at a book.”

The move to create a master plan mirrors a 2015 decision by the Shenandoah County School Board to study current and future space needs for the county’s 10 public school buildings.

Representatives of Ohio education consultant firm DeJong-Richter and Virginia Beach-based HBA Architecture completed a 25-year master plan in June 2016.

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