Sandston was the first public library in Henrico. It was started in 1923 and was run by the Sandston Women’s Club. There are now 9 library locations located throughout the county. These are the types of facilities you think of when you hear the word “library”. They range in size from 5,600 square feet to 53,000 square feet and house hundreds of thousands of materials for you to check out and use. We have hundreds of computers at these locations. They are available to anyone with a library card. Many families visit our libraries for the great storytimes we offer. They offer much more but I’m trying to keep this to under 500 words. If you’ve been to one of our libraries you’ve probably been to one of these 9.
In addition to our traditional libraries we have a Bookmobile and a Municipal Library. These two libraries are unique and fill two specific needs for the people of Henrico County. The Bookmobile travels the county serving the citizens of Henrico who have a hard time making it to our regular branches. The Municipal Library was started to serve the needs of Henrico County Government and is located in the Henrico County Courthouse. You may have seen the Bookmobile on the road but odds are you didn’t know we had a Municipal Library.
One of the unique things about your library is that we have no “Main” branch. The geography of Henrico County doesn’t really lend itself to having a large, central library. We have divided the library system into 4 “Areas”. The East end consists of the Fairfield Area Library and the Sandston and Varina Branch Libraries. The North Side is made up of the Dumbarton Area Library and North Park Branch Library. The Tuckahoe Area Library and Gayton Branch Libray make up the West End. The Twin Hickory Area Library and Glen Allen Branch Library represent the Far West End.
Last but not least is HQ. It’s located behind the Fairfield Area Library. This is where materials are ordered, purchased, processed, cataloged and generally prepared to be sent to the libraries. It is also where library administration, information technology, public relations, the business office and I work. We try to support everyone working in the libraries that you see every day.
So I hope you’ve got a little clearer picture of what makes up your library system. But wait! I was forgetting the most important part. The facilities are just buildings with stuff in them. The real value comes from the people who work in our libraries. They bring a variety of backgrounds, experiences and talent to work every day and help make each library unique. The people you see when you walk into one of the libraries are the ones who make the library work. They are the ones answering your questions, helping you find stuff and assisting you on the computer. Without the people, the library is really just a building.